MBLC Awards Grants to Help Libraries Address Opioid Crisis


March 05, 2020
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

Last fall, the Massachusetts library community came together at Communities in Crisis: Libraries Respond to the Opioid Epidemic, to learn from experts and from each other. “As a welcoming, safe place for all, and trusted community partner, libraries are often at the center of community issues and can be an important part of the solution,” said Michelle Eberle, Consultant at the Massachusetts Library System (MLS).

The fall symposium, which was sponsored by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and MLS, raised awareness and was the start of the conversation about libraries’ role in this epidemic. The MBLC followed it up with mini-grants to assist libraries in implementing a program, service, or staff training. “It was important to us that libraries have the opportunity to take the next step and turn their ideas and plans into actions,” said Shelley Quezada, Consultant to the Unserved at the MBLC.

Recently, libraries in fourteen communities were awarded Social Infrastructure Mini-grants from the MBLC. In Greenfield, the grant will support promotion of a symposium, book discussions and conversations centering on the award winning  graphic novel  Hey Kiddo based on Massachusetts’ artist Jared Krosoczka’s personal memoir about his family’s issues with opioid addiction. In Lowell, the Middlesex Community College Library will work with staff of the Pollard Memorial Library to offer a joint training session for Mental Health First Aid. The Milton Public Library will partner with the Milton Substance Abuse Coalition to bring an evidence-based prevention and education program using live theatre to the Milton community. A complete list of grant recipients is below.

The Opioid Epidemic Symposium and the Social Infrastructure Mini-grants were made possible with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as administered by the MBLC. IMLS funding also supports the MBLC’s Direct Grant Program and Summer Learning grants and statewide services that benefit all Massachusetts residents.



Grant Amount


Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University Libraries



Sawyer Free Library



Greenfield Public Library



Marlborough Public Library



Medway Public Library



Middlesex Community College



Milton Public Library



Newburyport Public Library


North Adams

North Adams Public Library



Forbes Library



Southborough Public Library



Waltham Public Library


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.