MBLC and Boston Public Library Expand eContent


April 30, 2021
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is working with Boston Public Library (BPL) to expand statewide eContent. In its role as Library for the Commonwealth, BPL resources are available to all Massachusetts residents. Users from outside Suffolk county make up 66% of eContent checkouts and more than 149,000 residents outside of Boston have a BPL eCard. Since January 2019, eContent checkouts have increased 25%. The MBLC is supporting BPL’s efforts to meet increased statewide demand with $117,000 in federal CARES Act funds.

“Over the past year access to electronic materials has been a key resource to meeting the needs of students of all ages as well as adult learners and job seekers. This funding contributes to the Library for the Commonwealth’s impact in improving the lives of library users during this pandemic," said Rob Favini, Head of Library Advisory & Development at the MBLC.

BPL will use funds to expand electronic collections and reduce wait times for items, especially for children’s and teen resources which experienced a dramatic increase in usage during the pandemic. Children’s and teen checkouts increased by 50% from January 2019 to January 2020. Self-care and mental health collections will also be expanded. Public Library Connects, which works with Boston and Chelsea schools, will also benefit. It allows kids without a library card to borrow BPL materials using their school credentials. Students checked out more than 8,000 items in 2020 through the program.

“For all the Commonwealth’s residents, access has become central to our ability to work academically and professionally. Physical and mental health are impacted by access to resources and services. This funding will further our commitment to closing gaps in access and creating more equity,” said Boston Public Library President David Leonard.

The MBLC’s support for Library for the Commonwealth at Boston Public Library is the latest way the agency is using CARES Act funds to support libraries and residents statewide. The MBLC recently collaborated with the Massachusetts Library System to support more statewide eContent for schools. It has awarded grants that help libraries adjust services during the pandemic such as remote learning , reading software and 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.