MBLC Funds Summer Learning


January 09, 2020
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its January Board Meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved $20,000 for Summer Learning Grants.  The Summer Learning Grant program, which is in its second year, aims to provide support to libraries during the busy summer months. “These grants allow libraries to take advantage of creative opportunities and in its pilot season we saw so many unique projects that kept school aged kids engaged during the summer,” said Lyndsay Forbes, Project Manager at the MBLC. Participation in summer library programs helps kids avoid summer learning loss and prepares them for the upcoming school year.

The summer 2020 projects boast many great opportunities for summer learning. Lawrence Public Library will partner with local nonprofit Tech4Hood to offer a biweekly tech camp for teens. Cambridge Public Library will expand the library garden which will be maintained by teens employed in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Additions to the garden include a compost feature, mason bee house, beneficial plantings for pollinators, and a way to reclaim rainwater. Inspired by the summer reading theme “Imagine your Story”, Forbes Library in Northampton will offer World Voices, a series of performances that will highlight the stories, cultures, and languages of people from around the world. The series will showcase diverse formats for telling a story, such as through movement, song, and oral history.  Thirteen libraries were awarded Summer Learning Grants.

The Summer Learning Grants were also created because the MBLC’s regular grant cycle runs October through September, meaning libraries who want a grant need to apply more than a year ahead of time. The regular grant cycle is also typically for long term projects. “We recognized that sometimes it’s simply not possible to plan that far in advance,” said Ms. Forbes. “The Summer Learning Grants fit the need for flexible more immediate projects that have an impact beyond the summer but don’t last more than a few months.”

The MBLC also funds grants for summer software which allows patrons to participate in the summer library program remotely, track their progress, write reviews and make recommendations and take part in summer reading challenges. Massachusetts has offered statewide online summer reading programs since 2007 and was the first state in the country to offer such a program. For summer 2020, 41 libraries will receive software grants

Summer Learning Grants and Summer Software Grants are made possible with Library Services and Technology Act funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). On average, 350 libraries offer statewide summer reading each year with over 400,000 children, teens, and adults participating. The Summer Library Program is made free to all public libraries and residents in the Commonwealth thanks to support from the IMLS, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System, and the Boston Bruins.

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.