Former Commissioner Alice Welch Passes Away


January 31, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is mourning the loss of former Commissioner Alice M. Welch. “Alice truly made the needs of library patrons her priority,” said current Board Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. “Her work with Friends and Trustees brought people together and impacted library services across the state.”

Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2010, she served on the Commission until 2019. At the time of her appointment Welch said, “I never remember not going to the library. Books helped me overcome childhood illness, opened the world to me and brought much pleasure.” “I’d like to help others experience the many benefits libraries offer.”

Ms. Welch served as the board liaison to the Massachusetts Friends of Libraries and the Massachusetts Library Trustee Association. As President of the Massachusetts Friends of Public Libraries and the President of the Friends of the Worcester Public Library, Ms. Welch understood the key role Friends and Trustees have in strengthening library services. As an MBLC Commissioner, she worked to expand the MBLC’s interaction with these vital groups and stressed the importance of Friends and Trustees working well together to benefit libraries.

As MBLC liaison to the State Advisory Council on Libraries (SACL), Ms. Welch worked with other members of the council to shape the federal Library Science and Technology Act (LSTA) grant offerings that are available to libraries. Each year the MBLC awards on average $400,000 in LSTA grants. Public, academic, school, special libraries, and library networks across the Commonwealth have benefitted from LSTA grants.

Ms. Welch’s library career spanned more than twenty years. As the Director of Library Services for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Ms. Welch facilitated access to critical healthcare information for Department of Public Health employees as well other state agencies and patrons from both the public and private sector. She developed collections and information to address pressing healthcare needs including a specialized collection of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) materials for veterans, a special project that addressed the informational, educational, and therapeutic issues for patients with a focus on substance abuse, PTSD and AIDS, and materials targeting the needs of patients with disabilities.

A Massachusetts native, Ms. Welch earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Clark University and went on to attain her Master of Library Science from the University of Rhode Island. She was with her family in West Virginia at the time of her passing.

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.