MBLC Welcomes New Staff


January 08, 2024
June Thammasnong
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

Several key staff members at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) retired at the end of 2023 after decades of service and dedication to the Massachusetts library community.  The MBLC is delighted to introduce 5 new staff members that will bring their energy and expertise to our team.

Heather Backman, Library Building Specialist
Heather joins the Construction Team at the MBLC this month as a Library Building Specialist.  Heather brings experience from all stages of the library construction process to the role having worked extensively on Hopkinton Public Library’s renovation and expansion, as well the construction punch list and post-occupancy evaluation of the recently completed Tufts Library in Weymouth in 2020.  Heather has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in English from Stanford University, and an Master’s in Information Science from the University of Michigan School of Information.

Allyson Dowds, Consultant to Special Populations
Ally most recently served as Division Head of Public Services at the Reading Public Library and joins us as the new Consultant to Special Populations (formerly known as Consultant to the Unserved).  Ally has a wide range of work experience including Health and Human Services Specialist at the Boston Public Library and Library Manager for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.  She has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and earned her Bachelor’s in Journalism from Loyola University Chicago.

Sue Faiella, Accountant
Sue joined the MBLC in November as our new Accountant and brings a wealth of experience to the team. She most recently worked at the Archdiocese of Boston and with the Weymouth Public School System, as well as at the Commonwealth Office of the Trail Court.  Sue has a Bachelor’s in Accounting and Finance from the University of Boston, Massachusetts.

Jaccavrie McNeely, Electronic Services Specialist
Jaccavrie McNeely recently worked as the Digital Services Librarian at Watertown Free Public Library before she joined the MBLC this past November.  She has also held several positions in public libraries and bookstores in Texas.  Jaccavrie has a Bachelor’s in New Media & Communications from Middle Georgia State University and a Master’s in Library & Information Science from Valdosta State University.

Cate Merlin, Head of State Programs
Cate joined the MBLC as Head of State Programs this month after serving as the Director of the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody.  Prior to her role as Director in Peabody, Cate worked as Senior teen Librarian, Senior Public Services Librarian and Assistant Director.  Cate also serves on the Massachusetts Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee.  She holds both a Master’s degree in Information Science and Children’s Literature from Simmons University, and a Bachelor’s in History from Lesley University.

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.