Governor Appoints Conrad to Library Commission


December 29, 2020
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

Debby Conrad has been appointed by Governor Charles Baker to serve on the nine-member Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The MBLC is responsible for library services across the Commonwealth including the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, federal Library Services and Technology Act grants, regional library services, and online statewide resources.

“It is a great honor to be appointed to serve on the Board of Library Commissioners, “said Ms. Conrad.  “I look forward to working with the other Commissioners and the Board staff to assist libraries throughout the Commonwealth seek innovative methods of serving their communities during this unprecedented time.”

Innovation and resource sharing are at the heart Conrad’s 40-year library career. As Executive Director of the SAILS library network which boasts membership from more than 70 publicly funded school, academic and public libraries in 38 communities, she managed the technology that makes many day-to-day library transactions possible and cost-effective. She also developed a shared library management system serving all the residents of Southeastern Massachusetts, giving them access to millions of items outside their own local library. Earlier, as Executive Director of the SEAL network, she managed the smooth merger with the neighboring ABLE network to form SAILS.

Her skill as an educator is notable. She was Adjunct Professor of Library Automation at the University of Illinois. As Assistant Administrator for the Eastern Massachusetts Regional Library System (EMRLS), she conducted continuing education programs on the use of technology in the library. MBLC staff have been among her students. She also provided consulting services to member libraries and developed in-house computer systems while at EMRLS.

Her experienced leadership extends to school and academic libraries as well, having served as the first Systems Consultant for the Lincoln Trail Libraries System which served public, K-12, and academic libraries in central Illinois.  Her first library position was serving on the team that launched a statewide cooperative computer system for academic libraries in Illinois—one of the first such cooperatives in the nation.  

In 2014, her Massachusetts colleagues honored her by inducting her into the Massachusetts Library Association Hall of Fame where she was recognized for her many contributions including serving on committees that helped ensure 21st century library services in Massachusetts.  She served as Secretary of the Massachusetts Library Association, co-chair of the Massachusetts Statewide Delivery committee, co-chair of the Massachusetts Library Association Long Range Planning Committee, Chair of the National Information Standards Organization Committee LL – Exchange of Circulation Systems Data, and served as the first Chairperson of the Illinois Automation Committee. 

Ms. Conrad holds a Masters in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Systems Planning and Implementation from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.  She received her A.B. from Indiana University with a concentration in Russian Studies.  Retired in 2018, Ms. Conrad is currently Membership Chair of the Friends of the Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield and continues to be active in the Massachusetts Library Association.

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.