NEWS RELEASE

More than 300 Libraries Offering Virtual Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 21, 2020
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208
celeste.bruno@state.ma.us

Library buildings are closed, but library services are still running. Librarians across the Commonwealth are turning to virtual community programing to ensure that residents can still participate in educational and entertaining library programs while the stay-at-home order and social distancing are in place.

“Libraries have responded to this unprecedented crisis by moving programming online, being innovative, and serving their communities,” said James Lonergan, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).

More than 300 public libraries are offering thousands of free virtual programs over the next few months. Programs for all ages include storytimes, senior programs, homework help, book clubs, language training, film discussions, tech help, small business education and more.  Among the variety of programming includes "Virtual Strength Training for Seniors" (Shutesbury Library), "Virtual Teen Write Night" (Clapp Memorial in Belchertown), Online Cooking School (Mashpee Public Library), "Virtual Watercolor Class for Kids" (West Tisbury Free Public Library), "Bedtime Story on Facebook Live (Georgetown Peabody Library) "Virtual Tour:  United Kingdom" (Morse Institute).  and "Anne Frank:  A Life to Remember"  (T.O.H.P) Burnham Free Library.  

To make it easy for residents to find a program, the MBLC is partnering with Burbio, to create a statewide calendar of virtual programs which means that a resident might be able to take advantage of a library event that is occurring anywhere in the state. Burbio aggregates and organizes event information from library calendars and keeps them dynamically up to date.

"We are thrilled to showcase the innovative online programming libraries are creating to engage residents," said Julie Roche, Burbio CEO.   "Within days of the shutdown we could see a transformation in the type of events libraries were conducting, and we are excited to help give them a broader exposure."

The new virtual library program calendar is the MBLC’s latest effort to increase resident access to library services during the pandemic. The MBLC recently launched “We’re in this Together” digital library on the agency’s public portal, mass.gov/libraries. It gives residents easy access to “free-for-now” resources as well as library resources that are always free including research databases and access to more than 350,000 eBooks and Audiobooks.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) 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.