Commissioners Approve Funding for eContent Purchases


November 17, 2020
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

At their November board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved funding for grants to Automated Networks for Library eBook and Audiobook (LEA) content. This is the second year that the grant has been awarded to support the statewide lending of eContent in Massachusetts. During the pandemic, there has been a 40% increase in eBook and audiobook checkouts across the Commonwealth.

“With so many library buildings closed to the public, online and digital services have been more important than ever for library users” said Kate Butler, Electronic Services Specialist at the MBLC. “These grants allow libraries to continue meeting the needs of their community.”

The grants are as follows:




Award (Content)







Minuteman Library Network










LEA allows Massachusetts library users to access eBooks, audiobooks, and more from 345 participating libraries from across the Commonwealth. This statewide system allows eContent to be shared in a similar way to how physical materials are shared through the delivery system, opening up access that was previously unavailable for eBooks and audiobooks. Over 772,000 items are available to borrow.

Despite the progress made with borrowing for patrons, the current marketplace for digital books bears little resemblance to that for physical books. Prices and license periods for eContent are in constant flux and are often a burden for libraries with tight budgets. The LEA Content Grants significantly supplement networks’ own collection development purchases and will help to reduce hold queues and patron wait times while increasing the breadth of the collection.

Funding for the LEA Content Grant is possible through the MBLC’s Library Technology and Resource Sharing budget line, line 7000-9506, and is one of several grants available to Automated Sharing Networks through this line. This is the second year that the content grants have been made available. Residents can find more information and start using LEA on The MBLC also provides $102,000 towards the fees networks pay to use OverDrive, the software and app that delivers the eContent for LEA.

LEA is made possible by the Massachusetts Automated Library Networks, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System, and local libraries, funded in part by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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.