Save The Date! Disability essentials program coming in December

1 in 5: Disability Essentials In Your Library

According to federal statistics, one in five people in the United States has a disability. How can libraries better understand and support this population, and welcome them among our patrons and staff? Join us for this program, which will include:

  • Disabilities 101 – history, types, incidence, language, etc.
  • A design thinking activity to help you assess your library community’s specific needs
  • An opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to navigate the world in a wheelchair, use assistive software to access the internet, and more!
  • A panel on how to recruit and support staff with disabilities
  • Plenty of resources for follow-up!

Featured speaker: Mare Parker O’Toole, Assistant Director of the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation, Wheelock College

Friday, December 8
9:00am – 3:00pm
at the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation, Wheelock College

Registration is not yet open, but you want to mark your calendars. Attendance will be limited.


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Kristi Chadwick’s reflections on her ARSL Conference experience

This was my first experience attending the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Annual Conference. While the group had been on my radar for a while, especially when I was first hired in the role of Advisor for Small Libraries, I had not explored its possibilities until now. The first draw I found was the preconference program from the PLA Planning Academy, led by Stephanie Gerding. This all-day session was a dive into strategic planning for smaller libraries, including design thinking and one-page plans for advocacy. I look forward to bringing a lot of this into my Spring 2018 Strategic Planning workshops.

I was enthused by the number of librarians who explained how this conference is the best they ever attended. It is not overwhelming, with 2017 being a “record attendance” of around 540 people. Everyone who presented had real experience working as a rural library, many standalone, and even their systems and networks are widespread and working on limited resources, as many libraries can do. Among some of the sessions I attended were “Nitty Gritty Policy Manual,” “Bursting at the Seams: Extraordinary Service in Limited Space,” and “Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces.” Descriptions of these sessions are on the ARSL 2017 Conference webpage:

All in all, I would definitely recommend this conference to smaller libraries or larger libraries that have self-autonomy in branches. Personal experiences and networking is a wonderful part of this conference, which may not be as workable in some of the larger conferences. ARSL is planning to have their 2019 conference in Burlington, VT. I would encourage our MA libraries to both submit programming and attend, even if only for a day. It is worth it!

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The MLS CATS have been busy

Members of the MLS Consulting and Training Services (CATS) unit have been busy. While working one-on-one with our member libraries and arranging/delivering continuing education to the Massachusetts library community, they’ve managed to fit in a couple other notable activities.

Michelle Eberle was featured by the National Network Libraries of Medicine National Evaluation Office ShopTalk Blog. Michelle shared her knowledge of strategic planning and appreciative inquiry with the medical library community. Read it here.



April Mazza was appointed to the ALSC Digital Award Implementation Task Force. She will work with the Excellence in Early Literacy Digital Media Committee on a new award that will expand the scope of digital media from video to include software, apps and more. At issue are topics such as: award criteria, definitions, needs, and challenges. The Task Force hopes that ALA Midwinter will see the finalization of the award and committee responsibilities, at which point a public announcement will be made.


Anna Popp, MLS consultantAnna Popp has earned a professional certification in digital marketing. The DMA Certified Marketing Professional designation required in-person and webinar instruction on topics including copywriting, email marketing, targeting, relationship marketing, measurement, and data governance.


Christi Showman-Farrar was featured in School Library Journal. As a member of the American Library Association – Children’s Book Council Joint Committee, Christi participated in the creation and presentation of the Reading Beyond advanced readers’ lists. Read all about it.

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At the intersection of Project SET and Annual Meeting

Time is running out to register to attend the MLS 2017 Annual Meeting, November 6th at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.  We have an amazing keynote lined up, but you’ll want to stay after lunch to hear from the Project SET cohort. These twelve up-and-coming librarians have been working hard for months, pushing out of their comfort zones, honing their skills, and expanding their professional repertoire. Three themes will be covered:

Library Services Across the Lifespan

Nicole Giroux
Kate Powers
Linda St. Laurent
Sara Kelso
Katie Beth Ryan
Natane Halasz


New Library Spaces, and Services, and Partnerships

Michelle Filleul
Allison Keaney
Alexander London
Danielle Masterson

Professional Development for Library Staff

C.M. Flynn
Lizzy McGovern

Registration will close before October ends. Reserve your spot now.

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Library/Social Services Partnership Forums

Businesspeople solving problem

Would building relationships with social services agencies help your library’s community?  Are you interested to provide more support for immigrants?  Are you curious to explore the viability of partnerships with social workers to offer social service referrals and create staff trainings on topics like diversity, poverty, and social justice? 


Join us for a community forum to explore library/social services partnerships.

 Background:  In August, MLS conducted a survey of the interest of Massachusetts library directors to partner with us to facilitate public library/social work partnerships. Over 50 library directors responded to the survey, and over half of the respondents expressed interest to collaborate with us. As a result of the survey, we decided to broaden the scope of this project from social work to social services partnerships.

How can you get involved?

Register to attend the forum at the location most convenient for you. 

What’s the agenda for the forum?

  • Learn about results of the survey and upcoming MLS programs.
  • If interested, share a brief update of your library’s experience. 
  • Participate in an innovation/ideation activity to identify future directions.  

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