Scholarships to attend small libraries conference


March 26, 2020
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and Massachusetts Library System (MLS) are pleased to announce funding for up to six Massachusetts public librarians to attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) annual conference in Wichita, Kansas, September 30-October 3, 2020.  The $1500 scholarships cover one year of ARSL membership, conference fee, hotel or lodgings, transportation and a per diem for meals. “Finding the funding to attend a conference can often be difficult for small libraries. We wanted to ensure that Massachusetts librarians could be a part of this important conference,” said Lyndsay Forbes, Project Manager and Grants Specialist at the MBLC.

Each year ARSL develops a unique conference for library staff from rural and small communities designed with the understanding that practicality, professional development and networking are essential parts of success.  “Librarians from small communities face unique challenges. The opportunity to attend a conference geared specifically toward the needs of small libraries is a great benefit to these librarians as well as the communities they serve,” said Forbes.

The scholarships are for individuals working in Massachusetts public libraries in a community under 25,000. The library must be an MLS member. There is a short application which is due on April 17, 2020.

Later in fall 2020, on November 17, the MBLC and MLS are hosting the 3rd Massachusetts Small Library Forum: Small Libraries, Big Connections. Scholarship recipients will use their experience at ARSL to help shape the Massachusetts forum as members of the planning committee. “We’re listening to our librarians and designing a forum that addresses the most current topics and issues facing Massachusetts small libraries,” said Kristi Chadwick, MLS Consultant.

The ARSL scholarships are made possible with federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and the Massachusetts Library System. The Massachusetts Small Library Forum is supported with funds from the Manton Foundation additional support from  IMLS.  Questions should be sent to and Kristi Chadwick

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.