Governor Appoints Jessica Vilas Novas as MBLC Commissioner


March 29, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

Lawrence native Jessica Vilas Novas has been appointed by Governor Charlie 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. With this appointment, Ms. Vilas Novas becomes the first Latina to serve on the MBLC which was established in 1890.

“I’m proud to join a Commission that works to ensure equity to people across the Commonwealth. As a former library director, I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive impact libraries have on communities and people. Strengthening and supporting libraries and librarians will help them address the many challenges they face, from pandemic fallout, to funding and staffing, to book banning,” said Vilas Novas.

The founder and principal of JVN Management Solutions LLC which provides leadership and management guidance to local organizations and small businesses, Ms. Vilas Novas is committed to addressing local community needs and closing equity gaps. During her five years as library director in Lawrence she upgraded the physical space of the library and worked to make the library a place where everyone felt welcomed. Capital projects improved accessibility, the library went fine-free, budget increases aided in the creation of new positions, and weekend hours at the main branch were restored. Library usage increased as a result. Through active fundraising, Ms. Vilas Novas’s team developed innovative programs to address health literacy, citizenship access, and teen engagement.

She is an active member of the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library and previously served on the Executive Board of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  As a former member of the MBLC’s State Advisory Council on Libraries (SACL), Ms. Vilas Novas worked with MBLC staff and other SACL members to create grant opportunities, evaluate grant applications and make funding recommendations to the MBLC. On the MBLC’s Public Relations Advisory Committee, she helped shape statewide campaigns to promote library services and bring new users to libraries.

A community builder and activist, Ms. Vilas Novas currently serves as a board member at MASSCreative which advocates for a well-resourced and equitable creative sector that is essential to the economic and civic vibrancy of Massachusetts; she is an advisor for the Essex County Community Foundation’s digital equity coalition; and hosts a bi-weekly intergenerational writing program, The Common Sage, at a local coffee shop in downtown Lawrence. She is also former board president of Elevated Thought Inc, an art and social justice organization based in Lawrence.

Ms. Vilas Novas graduated with an M.Ed in Community Engagement from Merrimack College. She received her MLIS from Simmons College, and has a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University. She earned a Certificate in Social Impact Management from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, in affiliation with Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. She recently joined the LEADS network after graduating from their executive leadership program hosted by the Lawrence Partnership and supported by Harvard Business School through visiting lecturers.

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.