MBLC and MLS Increase Funding for Reliable Online Content


May 24, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) recently wrapped up a yearlong process to select statewide databases that provide every Massachusetts resident with trustworthy online content covering topics such as science, health, history, biographies and more. The agencies have increased funding to these resources by 30% to total $2.8 million.

“The pandemic and events over the past few years have demonstrated the ongoing need for online content that is trustworthy. Students, especially, need access to vetted online information and resources,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan.  In a recent MBLC resident survey*, 90% of parents said it is important for their children to be able to identify misinformation online and more than 90% said it was important for their kids to develop research skills. “Massachusetts students with direct access to state-funded subscription databases combined with certified school library teacher-guided instruction become competent in information literacy that includes the skills to locate and determine relevant, credible, and authoritative resources from multiple perspectives to better understand the greater world,” said Georgina Trebbe, Information Specialist Librarian at Minnechaug Regional High School.

Over 1600 school, public, academic and special libraries from across the state benefit from these resources. If libraries subscribed to these databases individually, the expense would be millions of dollars more than the collaborative statewide contract. Contracts have been awarded to Gale Cengage, ProQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, Capstone, and Transparent Language Online. These vendors provide resources that are not available to consumers on the Internet without a paid subscription.

All people living, working, or attending school in Massachusetts will now have access to 32 periodical, biographical, e-reference, and news databases containing millions of articles on a variety of subjects including general and scholarly interest, science, history, literature, K-12 interests, and newspapers including The New York Times archive and The Boston Globe archive. With the participation of hundreds of librarians from across the state in the selection process through live feedback sessions, surveys, and product trials, several areas of interest emerged: early literacy, language learning, genealogy, legal, and test preparation. “We really listened to our colleagues who understand the needs of their residents and students and were able to find vendors with content in those areas.” said Tressa Santillo, Electronic Resources Manager at MLS. No library card is needed to access this content. People can go to their library’s webpage or to

The databases are funded jointly by the MBLC and MLS with state funding and federal support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the MBLC.

*As part of a broader survey on library usage, questions were asked that pertain to school libraries.

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.