Federal Grants Help Libraries Serve Community


July 11, 2019
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded $318,224 in 29 grants to public and school libraries across the Commonwealth through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at their July 11, 2019 board meeting. LSTA grants are funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“We are proud to deliver grant funding to libraries for projects that fill unique needs of libraries across Massachusetts.” said Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC. “Libraries continue to be a vital resource to the communities they serve. Programs funded through LSTA grants illustrate the diverse range of topics and audiences served by Massachusetts libraries.”

The MBLC developed the grant program using federal funding to help libraries meet local community needs including programs that help New Americans learn English and become citizens, STEM and STEAM projects, programs that serve teen needs, and projects that preserve valuable historical documents. The MBLC also offers grants to increase access to library services for people with disabilities. 

The complete list of grant recipients is below along with highlights from some of this year’s projects.

Municipality Institution Grant Category Award Amount
Abington Abington Public Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Athol Athol Public Library Manuscripts Arrangement and Description $10,000
Beverly Beverly Public Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Blackstone Blackstone Public Library Financial Literacy for All $7,500
Boston Massachusetts Eye and Ear - Howe Library Preservation Assessment $4,200
Brookline Brookline Public Library IdeaLab $15,000
Dartmouth Bishop Stang High School Library Innovative $12,000
Falmouth Falmouth Public Library Go Local $15,000
Gloucester Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library Civic Hub $7,500
Great Barrington Great Barrington Libraries/Ramsdell Library IdeaLab $9,624
Ipswich Ipswich Public Library Conserving and Digitizing Library and Archival Material $30,000
Kingston Kingston Public Library Financial Literacy for All Ages $5,500
Lawrence Lawrence Public Library Citizenship Corners $15,000
Lenox Lenox Library Serving Teens and Tweens $15,000
Leverett Leverett Library Go Local $6,000
Millis Millis Public Library Health and Wellness $7,500
Nahant Nahant Public Library Go Local $15,000
Natick Morse Institute Library Mind in the Making $10,000
New Bedford New Bedford Public Library IdeaLab $15,000
Norwood Morrill Memorial Library Mind in the Making $10,000
Peru Peru Library Preservation Assessment/td> $4,200
Shutesbury M.N. Spear Memorial Library Innovative $15,000
Southborough Southborough Library IdeaLab $15,000
Stoneham Stoneham Public Library IdeaLab $15,000
Sunderland Sunderland Public Library Access for All $7,500
Sutton Sutton Free Public Library Anytime STEM Learning $7,500
Wareham Wareham High School Library IdeaLab $15,000
West Tisbury West Tisbury Free Public Library Civic Hub $7,500
Wilmington Wilmington Memorial Library Health and Wellness $7,500
Total     $318,224


People, Places, and Things celebrates the increasingly diverse student population at Bishop Stang High School. With a student population that is 76.59% white, the growing Hispanic/Latino, black/African American, and Asian student populations need to be represented in the Library’s collections and programming. Supported by materials that reflect the diverse ethnicities and races, this project will include three programs throughout each academic year. With the theme of diversity, the programs will include: an Open Mic with diverse music/spoken word/art, a Book Tasting of fiction with diverse characters, and a Human Library that features diverse humans to check out and experience. To ensure cultural competency, the school library media specialist/project director will collaborate with two community organizations, the Immigrants’ Assistance Center, and the New Bedford Historical Society.

Many newcomers in Lawrence find their way to the public library in search of information and resources that will assist them in improving their language skills and obtaining citizenship. Lawrence’s large immigrant population needs more opportunities and resources to meet this demand. The Citizenship Corners and Expanded Language Services grant will complement and supplement existing English Language Service (ELS) and citizenship programs currently offered in the City of Lawrence by creating of an informal drop-in Citizenship Corner and providing free ESOL classes.

Toward a Community Culture of Fitness is a two year initiative by the Shutesbury and Wendell libraries to provide fitness opportunities for adults, with a focus on seniors and those getting back into fitness. The proposal is designed to offer entry level exercise classes and walks at the libraries and town halls, where citizens feel comfortable and at home. Working with the towns’ councils on aging, Friends of libraries, and other local groups, the goal is to weave fitness into community life by encouraging participants to find appropriate entry points, set personal goals, learn exercise routines and make companions to share fitness activities with into the future.

In addition to the direct library grant program, the MBLC uses LSTA funds to support statewide programs and services including summer reading programs, research databases, the statewide eBook program, the Commonwealth Catalog and which has information and resources for residents.  LSTA is administered on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in the Commonwealth by the MBLC. More information about LSTA can be found on Board's website at

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter  and Instagram.


About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.