5 Massachusetts Libraries Selected for National Training Initiative Focused on Equity


September 08, 2023
June Thammasnong
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

Chicopee Public Library, Marlborough Public Library, Milford Town Library, Berkshire Athenaeum (Pittsfield), and Yarmouth Town Libraries will participate in the project Building Equity-Based Summers (BEBS), a national initiative focused on assisting public library staff in gaining the skills necessary to effectively engage with systematically marginalized communities to re-envision summer services.

“Summer library programs in Massachusetts are free, fun and open to all”, said Lyndsay Forbes, Project Manager & Grants Specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the agency responsible for bringing BEBS to Massachusetts.  “The BEBS initiative will provide libraries with the skills and tools needed to incorporate equity into their summer services and programs. Summer is the perfect opportunity to build equitable practices and lay a foundation for equity in library services all year long.”

The Massachusetts libraries will begin BEBS training sessions this fall. Participants will attend virtual sessions with other state participants to develop a plan to implement equity-based summer services for the following year. Following the initial training, each library will receive a $500 stipend to be used for activities associated with Building Equity-Based Summers in their community.

This is the second year of the three-year BEBS initiative. The MBLC will offer another cohort next fall to expand training opportunities and prioritize inclusive, equitable summer services across the Commonwealth. BEBS was developed by the California State Library with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS’ grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit

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.