Unshelved librarians in Massachusetts

man smelling flowerCome join us on May 3rd from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM as we welcome Gene Ambaum of Unshelved for a day of laughing and learning. Gene will deliver two renowned keynote addresses at the Albert Sherman Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He will also have a book sale/signing during breaks.

11:00 AM – Surviving the Public: Customer Service the Unshelved Way
Tough customers got you down? Let Gene teach you how to stop worrying and learn to enjoy difficult people! The program will focus on the Unshelved approach to customer service: the customer is seldom right. Most customer service interactions can be enjoyable if you have the right frame of mind. Or, failing that, at least you can have the last laugh.

12:00 Noon – Join colleagues in the Sherman Center Cafeteria for lunch; bring your own brown bag or purchase your meal in the cafeteria.

1:00 PM – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library: an Unshelved Tour of a Suspiciously Familiar Workplace
If you work in libraries you know that sometimes you have to laugh or else you’ll cry. In this keynote we deliver the laughs as we take you on a tour of the Mallville Public Library. The staff and patrons are instantly recognizable, and give you a unique opportunity to gently laugh at yourselves and the people you work with on both sides of the desk. Gene will deconstruct some of Unshelved’s greatest hits, and tell some of the true-life stories that inspired them as well as a few he had to leave out.

Register here. Seats are filling quickly, so don’t delay.

Save the Date! Talking Social Justice in Massachusetts Libraries: Diversity to Equity

Join us for our spring program on June 13, 2017, at the Devens Conference Center in Devens, MA.

We’re pleased to host noted speaker April Hathcock from NYU for our keynote, an Idea Fair with colleagues, and plenty of opportunities to learn with and from each other. Registration and full program information will be available soon.

In the meantime, consider applying to present at our Idea Fair!
What’s an Idea Fair? It’s like a poster session, but posters are optional! We know our members are doing a lot of great things out there, but some don’t have the time or resources to design a formal poster.  Read more and submit your proposal online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8XNK89X

Shrewsbury Public Library Memory Cafe

This week’s MLS Member Community Engagement Success Story features an interview with Ellen Dolan (Director) and Priya Rathnam (Assistant Director) of the Shrewsbury Public Library.

Birdhouses at Memory Cafe

Birdhouses at Memory Cafe

Tell us about your community partnership.

The Shrewsbury Council on Aging sponsors a town-wide group called the Community Outreach Partnership Program, whose mission is to bring people from all sectors of the community together to consider ways to improve the health and wellbeing of elders in Shrewsbury. The library has been a participant in this group since its founding. When we decided to apply for the LSTA’s Innovative Open grant program, we researched memory cafes; downloaded the Memory Café toolkit; visited a Memory Café in Marlborough; attended a networking group for directors of memory cafes; and invited professional speakers from the Central MA chapter of the Alzheimer’s association to educate us and the public.

How did you connect with your community partners?

We organized staff training on how to interact with people with dementia and the training workshop was at one of the skilled nursing/assisted living homes in the community. Just before the launch of the Memory Café, we sent out flyers to the Senior Center, local churches, libraries in neighboring towns, and assisted living centers. The Outreach Librarian also took flyers to the places where she delivers materials.

Therapy Dog at Memory Cafe

Therapy Dog at Memory Cafe

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

The Shrewsbury Library has programs and services for people of all ages, demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. We offer early literacy programs; storytimes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; educational and fun STEM activities for elementary and middle school age children; art and craft activities for teens; trivia and other fun events for young adults and families; information literacy for adults; literary, cultural and recreational programs for adults. But we observed that some of our older patrons had stopped visiting the library either due to their own frailties or because they were caregivers and could no longer bring their loved ones to the library. Continue reading

Member Update – March 2017

Dear MLS Members,

I am writing with our March 2017 update.  DOWNLOAD


  • Amos Thomas joins the MLS staff
  • WMRLS Dissolution
  • Listening Tour and Advocacy
  • fy2018 Budget
  • Project SET Applications Open
  • BiblioTemps
  • Community Engagement Blog
  • Upcoming Events

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Greg Pronevitz,
Executive Director



Duxbury Free Library Multi-town/Multi-library Collaboration

This week’s MLS Member Community Engagement Success Story features an interview with Carol Jankowski, Director of the Duxbury Free Library.

Chris Bohjalian

Tell us about your community partnership.

Though we have presented many authors at the Duxbury Free Library, this particular collaborative event involved four communities and libraries, in addition to the oldest independent bookstore on the South Shore, Westwinds Bookshop! Weymouth, Marshfield, Kingston and Duxbury joined forces to present international superstar Chris Bohjalian at our lovely Performing Arts Center. The Friends of the Libraries hosted the event, and raised a little money, though that was not the main intent. The Duxbury Free Library’s goal for this event was to celebrate reading, stimulate interest in books and libraries, and support the creative efforts of all writers. This collaboration was the third such multi-town, multi-library event. Other authors who have participated were Anita Diamant and Alice Hoffman. Our senior center was also a community partner, advertising the event and encouraging folks to discuss the book prior to the event. Dozens of local book groups took part as well!

How did you connect with your community partners?

Every library staff member is encouraged to “take it on the road” wherever and whenever. We have worked hard over the years on establishing excellent working relationships with the schools, senior center, the historical and art organizations and business groups as well. We are often embedded in those groups so we support each other’s missions and goals.

Duxbury Free Library

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

By being able to build a very substantial audience, we can entice world class authors to come to our community! These are rock stars to our readers. These experiences support the notion that books change and enhance our lives. This experience also introduces folks to the notion that local community bookstores are great places of business to support.

What impact did the partnership make in your community?

We are a literary destination! Continue reading