MBLC Funds Statewide eContent


October 06, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

At its October board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) approved $500,000 in grants to Automated Networks to purchase eContent for the Library eBook and Audiobook (LEA) program. LEA gives Massachusetts residents access to eBooks, audiobooks, and more from 380 participating libraries from across the Commonwealth. This statewide system allows eContent to be shared in a similar way to physical materials, opening up access that was previously unavailable for eBooks and audiobooks. Since its inception in 2018, the LEA collection has tripled to more than 1 million items.

The state-funded grants directly support the growing demand for eBooks and audiobooks across the Commonwealth, which jumped 40% during the pandemic and has now reached a new high of more than 1.5 million eBooks and audiobooks borrowed last year.

The ability to keep up with resident demand is constrained by high pricing to libraries and publisher restrictions, such as whether libraries can own or lease titles, how many copies libraries can get, and how long libraries have to wait after the book is released to the general public. Some titles are not available to libraries at all. Since 2018, to try keep pace with demand, networks have more than doubled their spending on eContent that can be shared across the state and yet long wait times persist. The Massachusetts Library Association is currently working with state legislators to ensure public access to eContent through libraries.

In addition to the eContent grants, Commissioners also approved $94,000 in LEA Platform grants which offset the fee networks pay to use OverDrive, the software and app that delivers the eContent for LEA. This is the fourth year that the content grants have been made available. Grant awards are listed below.



Award (Content)

Award (Platform)













Minuteman Library Network





North Andover

















Funding for the LEA Content Grant is possible through the MBLC’s Library Technology and Resource Sharing budget line, line 7000-9506, a funding priority in the FY2024 Legislative Agenda. LEA Platform grants are made possible by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Residents can find more information and start using LEA on

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.