Nahant Public Library STOP LYME Project

Ick! It's a tick!

Ick! It’s a tick!

Thank you to Sharon Hawkes, Director of the Nahant Public Library, and Margot Malachowski, Education & Outreach Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for sharing their experience with the STOP LYME project, a multi-faceted public health partnership.

Tell us about your community partnership.

Sharon Hawkes (Nahant Public Library Director):  The STOP LYME project was both a local and statewide partnership to do two things: deliver good information about tick-borne disease to our patrons and to show that libraries can scale up to help deliver state information to the public. The state legislature had recently voted favorably on a Lyme insurance bill and they were concerned that constituents understand the new law. So we thought this might be the right topic at the right time. Plus, tick-borne disease is a serious problem in Massachusetts! So we created 4 resources to fulfill the goal of providing information in multiple formats:

  • The STOP LYME Handbook, a binder of state and other reference material for libraries. It was delivered to them using Optima, and was uploaded to the BiblioBoard ebook platform.
  • Six ebooks on various aspects of tick-borne diseases, purchased through MLS for Axis 360.
  • The “Ick, a Tick!” forum, with speakers Catherine Brown (Mass DPH), Dr. Samuel Donta (Infectious Diseases Society of America), Margot Malachowski (NN/LM), and Lawrence Dapsis (Cape Cod Co-op Extension). The forum was videotaped by local cable television and is archived on YouTube.
  • An online database website, the Lymebrary.

Speakers at the “Ick, a Tick!” forum (l. to r.): Catherine Brown, Mass DPH; Samuel Donta, MD; Margot Malachowski, National Network of Libraries of Medicine; and Lawrence Dapsis, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension

The project involved 5 partners: Nahant Public Library; the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; the Town of Nahant; Nahant Health Agent John Coulon; and health librarian Margot Malachowski of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region. Additional advice came from Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass Amherst, and Barnstable County Department of Health. It was funded by the National Library of Medicine.

I had hoped to have a dozen libraries sign on to receive the binder of information. Instead, 132 separate libraries said “yes!” And many of them went above and beyond by cataloging the Handbook for circulation, creating book displays, and hosting programs on tick-borne disease.   Continue reading

Welcoming back a familiar face (and voice)

Stacey Knibloe

MLS is delighted to welcome back Stacey Knibloe, Senior Customer Education Specialist with Gale. For more than five years, Stacey has been providing database training to Massachusetts library staff, and will do so again this summer. Both in person and online, Stacey has helped expertly navigate hundreds of K-12, public, and academic librarians through the Gale suite of database products offered by the MLS and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).  With an MLS from the University of Buffalo, Stacey understands what library staff need to know to navigate the thousands of magazine and journal titles available in the statewide databases. This summer, Stacey will offer a series of webinars just for Massachusetts library staff to get you familiar with what has changed with your state supported Gale products.

For news, training and other information (like where to get help) about the statewide databases, please go to:

New savings on services you may already use

MHEC logo  The MHEC purchasing cooperative has expanded offerings to include pest management products and services. Massachusetts Library System members may choose among five suppliers that have been cleared to perform services required for the elimination of all pests, including flying insects both large and small, all crawling insects, rodents, wildlife and any other pests or animal nuisance that may exist on site or with in any area of member premise.
Any questions regarding this contract (MC17-G30: Integrated Pest Management, Products, and Services) should be addressed to Joan Miller at

Athol Public Library “Book it to the Woods” Collaboration

We are living in an increasingly critical time to nurture our future generation’s love of nature and create an urgency for families to support efforts to protect our natural world.  The Athol Public Library’s “Book it to the Woods” partnership is an outstanding example of a public library fostering children’s and families’ respect for the earth and enjoyment of nature through collaboration with a conservation trust and a family center. Thank you to Angela Dumas, Children’s Librarian at the Athol Public Library, for sharing her experience with this successful community engagement project!

Oral storytelling with Angela Dumas

Oral storytelling with Angela Dumas

Tell us about your community partnership.

The Athol Public Library, in partnership with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and Valuing Our Children (VOC) of Athol, presented “Book it to the Woods”.  Mount Grace set up a campsite in the library’s program room and different activities for children – for toddlers to twelve-year-olds – took place during the day.  Activities included fairy house making, oral and traditional storytelling, crafts, s’mores, movement, songs, an outdoor story walk, and imaginative play.

How did you connect with your community partners?

I connected with community agencies by taking part in a local organization, the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Council (CFCE), which meets quarterly. The meetings provide a format for attendees to form relationships and work on projects together.  Through these connections, the Athol Public Library was able to partner with Mount Grace and VOC.

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

The library space provided an outreach opportunity for all three organizations. Mount Grace was able to spread the word about an upcoming community campout in June. VOC incorporated “Book it to the Woods” into a series of brain building activities they held in April, and first time library users were able to see the library’s space, resources,  and learn about library services.  Ultimately, the library, Mount Grace, and VOC gained exposure from the others’ patrons, and the collaborative effort made the four-hour event easy to manage.

Athol Public Library, Massachusetts

Athol Public Library, Massachusetts

What impact did the partnership have in your community?

Approximately 50 people attended the event, which is a great turnout for our community, and participants benefitted from the shared skills of all the organizers. The library’s willingness to work with organizations and execute successful partnerships shows that the library is a hub for community activity.

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

Join organizations that help you build partnerships. Establishing relationships prior to working together helps all involved understand each other and work together better. Once you have established relationships start small events and build up to larger ones. The library and VOC have been working together for years now on story walks and outreach activities; collaborating on projects together has become second nature.

Interview with Angela Dumas, Children’s Librarian, Athol Public Library


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.