FAQs – MLS

updated 6/30/11

Advisory

Q: Does MLS provide advisory services?

A: Yes, by email, phone or in person. Our staff has expertise in a wide range of library topics, from customer relations to strategic planning and best practices in technology to designing teen services. We invite you to contact the MLS staff member who can best respond to your needs. Visit our staff advisory areas page for a list of advisers, their areas of expertise, and email contacts.

Continuing education

Q: You’re offering a class I’m interested in but it’s too far away. Will you offer it again, closer?

A: Yes. If there’s interest, we’re glad to plan additional sessions in additional locations. We plan continuing education in seasonal cycles, so added sessions might not happen right away.

If the presenter is a member librarian providing the workshop as a professional contribution, our ability to add sessions will be limited.

Sometimes we can site a class at a library because the library staff has requested it.  We plan for a time that works for the staff of the hosting library.  We open the session to area libraries and announce it through our CE calendar.

If you’d like us to repeat a workshop, please let us know.

Q: Does MLS offer certificates of participation of PDPs?

A. MLS is an official PDP Provider for School Librarians seeking certification or re-certification. We offer a wide variety of workshops which can be fit into an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP) Certificates of Attendance will be received for any workshop; these in turn are bundled together with a product to earn PDPs. Please see http://www.masslibsystem.org/pdps-professional-development-points/ for more information on how to bundle and for the form which needs to be submitted to MLS.

Q: MLS doesn’t offer a roundtable discussion in my area of interest. Can you help?

A:  MLS can assist members who wish to meet for discussion independently of MLS by posting their events on our website. Staff of a member library will be the contact person for independent roundtables.
MLS staff members welcome invitations to independent roundtables, especially if their expertise is relevant. If MLS staff is important to the discussion, planners are asked to coordinate dates with MLS in advance.

Contact us for more information.

Q: Where can I find a program evaluation form?

A: You can download it from our website. Fax it to us at: 508-357-2122 or email it to: info@masslibsystem.org.

Q: How do you search or sort on the CE calendar on EventKeeper?

Index Search: there is a keyword search box on the upper right side that searches every word in each event called “Search Events.” This searches for your words whether it is in the title, location, or description or an event.

Keyword Search: use the drop-boxes at the top that usually say “Continuing Education,” and “All” to sort events. You can sort by Meetings vs. Continuing Ed., and by specific trainers, or class topics /events. You can also incorporates the month and year into these searches.

Q: What’s the minimum number of participants to run a class?

A: To make the most effective use of our resources and ensure lively participation, MLS has determined that there must be ten participants to hold a class or workshop.

Q: When/where can I take Basic Library Technique classes?

A: The projected schedule for the Basic Library Training classes can be found on the MLS website under Services/Continuing Education at http://wp.me/PXRJJ-4K .

Databases

For a list of current state-wide databases, links, and former regional databases as well as vendor contacts, see our MLS site here: http://www.masslibsystem.org/databases/

The MLS Content Committee is looking at funding databases other than the Gale InfoTrac, but due to the signifcant budget cut the regions took and that the MLS inherited, it looks unlikely that there will be a state-wide additions to the current lineup of Gale InfoTrac and ProQuest Mass. Newsstand this year (funded by both MBLC & MLS).

Q: How can I set up access to databases?

A: Most* libraries should access databases via the MBLC’s “geolink” authentication system, which determines a user’s location by IP address and authorizes any IP that originates in Massachusetts. The geolinks also carry a unique identifier (the Gale “location ID”) which enables branding and customization of database pages as well as library-specific usage statistics.

To find your geolinks, go to http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/licenses/links/, enter your location ID and click the “Search” button. If you don’t know your location ID, click the “Look it up here” link to find your it via municipality or keyword search.

* Libraries that authenticate through a proxy server (mostly academics) should not use geolinks. Proxy links should continue to use the vendors’ standard “in-library” URLs, and those libraries should continue to notify MLS of any changes in their IP ranges.

Delivery

Q: Who do I contact with delivery concerns?

When your library needs to contact the delivery provider for routine communications please use the these linked phone and email addresses. If there are non-routine issues, please contact the MLS office at 508-357-2121.

ILL

Q: How do I use MLS ILL?

A: The Thomas Crane Library, Quincy, serves MLS member libraries in the southern, central and western areas of the state for ILL. The Wellesley Public Library serves MLS member libraries in the northern and metro areas of the state for ILL. Boston Public Library provides journal articles for all MLS member libraries. Contact information and web links for each are available on our ILL page.

Membership

Q: How do I become a member?

A: It’s easy and it’s free of charge. There’s a membership toolkit on our website that includes three forms you’ll need to submit. If you have questions about your library’s eligibility, contact Carolyn Noah.

Purchasing Coop

Q: How do I join the purchasing coop? When can I join?

A: Member libraries can join anytime. You’ll find all the information you need on our website at http://www.masslibsystem.org/materials-and-supply-cooperatives/. For more information, contact Shirley MacLean: smaclean@masslibsystem.org.

Reading programs

Q. How do I get started with the summer reading program?

A. The first step is to visit our Summer Library Program Wiki . There is information about current and future Summer themes, information on using the online program tool ReadsinMa, and other announcements to our members. To participate or find out more, contact the Advisors for Youth Services Susan Babb and Sarah Sogigian.

Discussion Lists

Q. It would be helpful for this web site to include the instructions for getting on the “freebie” distribution list and others.

A. Visit the MBLC Email Distribution Lists. All discussion groups are listed there. Click on the one you want and on the specific page you will find out how to subscribe to that list.