MBLC and MLS Support School eContent


February 08, 2021
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) are collaborating to bring more eContent to the statewide school eBook and audiobook program called Commonwealth eBook Collections: the OverDrive K-12 Shared Sora Collection, more commonly referred to as “Sora.” School membership in Sora has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic and circulation has increased by more than 25 % in just the last four months.

“It’s a testament to the work school librarians are doing in working with teachers and students to connect them with the resources they need in this critical time,” said Tressa Santillo, Electronic Resources Coordinator at MLS, which manages the Sora program.

To support these efforts, the MBLC has awarded $300,000 in CARES Act funds which will enable MLS to expand purchases of individual eBook titles, eBook content sets, simultaneous use licenses, and licenses for high demand items. The content is for K-12 students and includes everything from read-a-longs, to picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, graphic novels and more.

“On many levels schools have been hardest hit during the pandemic. Delivering this timely electronic content will benefit all students whether learning from home, the classroom or in a hybrid model” said Rob Favini, MBLC Head of Library Advisory and Development.

MLS is surveying school librarians to assess currents needs and determine what titles are needed to support required summer reading. “Summer reading helps prevent learning loss so our primary focus is to ensure that students can easily access required titles and keep learning during the upcoming summer months,” said Santillo.

Students who use Sora can also work with their school librarian to gain access to the statewide public library eContent program called LEA which gives library users access to over 772,000 eBooks, audiobooks, and more from 345 participating libraries from across the Commonwealth. LEA usage has increased more than 40% since the start of the pandemic.

The MBLC’s funding for school eContent is the latest way the agency is using CARES Act funds to support libraries statewide. The MBLC funded grants to help libraries with remote learning, reading software, and recently completed a second grant round with 49 grants awarded to libraries for local initiatives.

The CARES Act was passed on March 27, 2020 in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The $2 trillion dollar spending bill passed by Congress included $50 million for museums and libraries through Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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.