Member Update – May 2017

Dear MLS Members,

I am writing with our May 2017 update.  DOWNLOAD


  • Fy2018 Budget
  • Saturday Delivery Ending on July 1
  • Statewide Database Content Reduced in fy2018
  • Executive Board Update
  • Spring Conference, “Talking Social Justice in Mass. Libraries,” June 13 More info and RSVP
  • Listening Tour and Advocacy
  • Statewide eBooks Strategy
  • Community Engagement Blog

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Greg Pronevitz,
Executive Director



MLS Spring Program: Talking Social Justice in Massachusetts Libraries: Diversity to Equity

Please join us for our Annual Spring Program on June 13, 2017 at the Devens Conference Center in Devens, MA.

Each spring, MLS offers a day-long program to give our members an opportunity to explore a topic in depth along with their peers. This year, we will focus on social justice, which is one of the themes in the 2017-2019 MLS strategic plan. Join us in June to:

  • Hear a keynote address from April Hathcock, whose writings and presentations on diversity and inclusion in librarianship have garnered national attention;
  • Discover what your colleagues in Massachusetts are doing to promote social justice at their libraries and in their communities at the spring program Idea Fair;
  • Learn about how the Committee on the Promotion of Diversity & Inclusion at MIT Libraries has increased awareness among library staff and helped embed diversity and inclusion into library policies, practices, and events;
  • Identify actions you can take to promote social justice at your own libraries, and work with other attendees to plan how we can continue the discussion at the statewide level.

Register here!

Funbrary at Middleboro Public Library

Middleboro Public Library has embraced Library of Things with an entire theme! Below is a summary written by Lori Salotto, Head of Technical Services/Children’s Assistant. You can also view Middleboro Funbrary brochure for examples of their items and policies!

Middleboro Public Library – Funbrary


We started our collection of non-traditional items with STEAM backpacks and teacher kits as part of a LSTA grant that our Library received from a grant written by our Children’s Librarian, Amanda Meyer. She created all of the backpacks herself.

  • Backpacks: Animals, Birds, Night Sky, Plants and Ponds (with more to come) – these contain books, equipment (binoculars, magnifying glass, nets, jars, etc), finger puppets, pocket guides, informational sheets
  • Teacher Kits: bought through Lakeshore Learning
    • Fairy Tale Problem Solving – 3 Billy Goats Gruff, 3 Little Pigs and Goldilocks (will soon be adding: Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and The Gingerbread Man)
    • Challenge Kits : Keep the Rain Out, Parachute Safety, Stay Afloat


We then added outdoor games as part of Summer Reading 2016 – this included croquet, bocce, jarts (plastic and non-pointed), horseshoes, a disc golf starter set and a parachute. These were enthusiastically received so this past winter and spring we decided to add items that would pertain to all the seasons – snowman making kit, snowball and brick maker, 2 sets of snowshoes, ukulele, lincoln logs, travel games, egg and spoon game, puppet theater, sandcastle kit, ball toss, gardening kit and fishing pole and tackle box.


We clearly mark on the bag a label of responsibility and also a label that has our return and damage/lost policy on it. We make sure to indicate if pieces can be replaced or whether patron would need to pay the entire cost of the item. If there are any choking hazard warning on the original packaging, we make sure to add that to our packaging.


If the item you circulate is something that is put in patron’s mouth (like snorkels) you need to make sure to wash them every time they are returned. The ukulele will need to be tuned every time it is returned in the beginning.


You need to decide on whether the items will be holdable, how they should be returned, and fines associated with overdue items.

  • Our circ map has the backpacks going out for 28 days 10 cent fine, $5 max, no renewals
  • Our circ map has the games going out for 14 days 50 cents fine per day $10 max, no renewals


When thinking about what to purchase we think about things patrons may only want to use a few times a year and don’t want to purchase it or they want to maybe try it out before purchasing. The outdoor games are great if they are having a family party. We also take into consideration patron requests for items to be purchased.

Wilmington Public Library Young Child Art Show

According to the Harvard Family Research Project’s report, Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement, “Libraries are poised and ready to be the heart of family engagement in a community.” The Wilmington Public Library’s Week of the Young Child Art Show is a superb example of a public library increasing family engagement. Thank you to Tina Stewart, Library Director, of the Wilmington Public Library, for sharing her experience with this successful family engagement project!

Wilmington Public Library Week of the Young Child Art Show

Wilmington Public Library Week of the Young Child Art Show

Tell us about your community partnership.

For the last four years, the Wilmington Memorial Library has partnered with preschools and daycares to host an art show to celebrate the Week of the Young Child in April. Youth Services Librarian Barbara Raab coordinates this collaborative event. The children create the artwork that is mounted on black construction paper provided by the library. The library staff collects the artwork for exhibit at the library. The staff at the preschool and daycare centers distribute invitations to an opening reception that the library hosts for the young artists and their families. The reception is the kickoff event prior to the Week of the Young Child when the art work is on display in the library.

Week of the Young Child Art Show

Week of the Young Child Art Show

How did you connect with your community partners?

A list of preschools and family daycares and contact information was obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care’s online geographically-searchable directory of licensed child care programs. All preschools and family daycares in Wilmington were contacted, either by letter or email, inviting them to participate in the art show. The invitation also included information about services that we provide to preschools and day cares, including on-site storytime visits and the opportunity the check out Early Literacy Fun Packs (kits in a backpack that contain books on a theme, a music CD, toys and games and an activity guide on how to use the materials in the backpack that promote the five early literacy practices of singing, talking, reading, playing and writing).

How did the collaboration benefit your library and your community partners?

The library benefits by having the opportunity to introduce the library and its services to parents of young children. Each year the event draws parents who are not regular library users. The early childhood programs benefit from exposure to the community. It calls attention to the Week of the Young Child, a national recognition of the importance of early learning and early literacy. It also celebrates the teachers and educators who bring early childhood education to young children. In addition, this event promotes “family engagement,” a goal of early childhood education programs.

What impact did the partnership make in your community?

Over 400 children had pieces of art on display in the library. It is a source of pride for the children and their parents to be a part of a community event. In addition, other library patrons enjoy seeing the art exhibit and understand that the library is a community partner.

What advice would you give to a librarian interested to cultivate a similar partnership?

Go for it! It is a relatively easy program to put together. You need to have a space to display lots of children’s artwork, and enough staff and volunteers to hang up the artwork. Make sure to use enough tape or there will be paintings and pictures on the floor when you come to work the next morning!

Interview with Tina Stewart, Library Director, Wilmington Public Library

Jenn Del Cegno Moves On

On May 8, Jenn Del Cegno began a new job as Member Services Assistant at Minuteman Library Network. Jenn had been a Resource Sharing Assistant at the MLS since March 2014 serving as part of the team that transitioned Mediated Interlibrary Loan requesting to the MLS Office. Jenn will be greatly missed by her colleagues at the MLS. We are glad (and a little jealous) that Minuteman Library Network members will continue to benefit from Jenn’s assistance. We look forward to finding reasons to stop by the Minuteman offices to visit Jenn and discuss strong coffee, eggplant parmesan, Korean barbeque, the Exploding Kittens board game and cats with an appetite for garden gnomes in addition to services to Minuteman and MLS member libraries.

Best wishes, Jenn!