MBLC Director Announces Retirement
At the January 5, 2017 Board Meeting, Dianne Carty, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), announced her plans to retire in May, 2017. “Dianne’s work has strengthened the MBLC and positioned the agency to excel in the challenging landscape of library services in the 21st century.” said MBLC Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. “I know I speak for the entire Board when I say how much we value her leadership and commitment and how much we will miss her friendship.”
Ms. Carty has been MBLC Director since May, 2014 when Commissioners unanimously approved her appointment, citing her impressive 30-year library career that included work in public, university and special libraries as well as her position as Head of State Aid at the MBLC. “We at the MBLC are about libraries, but ultimately we are about unfettered access to all information by all residents of the Commonwealth. I am proud to have served at the Board of Library Commissioners in several capacities,” said Carty. “This agency and my years here have meant continual growth and gaining a deeper understanding of the complex, living organism that is Massachusetts and its library community.”
As MBLC Director, Ms. Carty’s primary focus was to strengthen the MBLC so that the agency could move forward to better serve the library community and the residents of the Commonwealth.
State Aid to Public Libraries program affects every public library and library user across the Commonwealth. To ensure the continued success of the program, Ms. Carty helped lead three program reviews, incorporating changes as needed in this critical public library local aid program. During the most recent review, the State Aid Review Committee developed recommendations, approved by Commissioners in 2016 that offer local libraries greater flexibility in meeting the State Aid program requirements.
Ms. Carty also began the strategic planning process at the MBLC. “The agency is facing many challenges, including a funding deficit,” said Carty. “Moving forward not only means better funding, it also means hearing what’s important from our partners and librarians and anticipating the future of what library services need to be so that Massachusetts can continue to be on the forefront of innovative library services that benefit all our residents. The strategic planning process will give us this pathway.”
During Ms. Carty’s tenure, the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program flourished, benefiting from the re-authorization of a $150,000,000 Bond Bill. Nine communities completed library expansion/renovation projects. The MBLC offered a Planning and Design Grant Round which resulted in more than 20 communities receiving nearly $1 million in grants used by local communities preparing a library building program. The MBLC also authorized a new Library Construction Grant Round with provisional grants scheduled to be awarded in July, 2017.
As former chair of both the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ national steering committee for public library data collection and of the Data Dictionary and National Information Standards Organization, Ms. Carty understands the importance and power of data. She worked to bring Massachusetts’ data collection into the 21st century by procuring and implementing an extensive online data gathering system which eliminates the submission and hand entry of paper forms. This system also allows librarians to create their own data reports and charts on demand with real time data.
In 2015, the MBLC celebrated its 125th anniversary as the first state library agency in the country. "The first Commissioners may have never envisioned eBooks or computers, but they laid the groundwork for the collaborative way that libraries work, and that makes today's innovation possible," said Ms. Carty. Inspired by the work of the first Commissioners, the MBLC awarded the inaugural Commissioner Awards honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Massachusetts libraries and the residents they serve.
A graduate of Kalamazoo College in Michigan, Ms. Carty holds an M.S. in library science from Simmons College in Boston.Updated: March 16, 2017