MLS-Northampton – Coming Soon

I am pleased to report that last week we signed a ten-year lease for office space at Potpourri Plaza (241-243 King St. in Northampton). MLS staff will move into our MLS-Northampton Office within 30 days. The space will be delivered in phases because part of it is occupied now. Phase one will be office space for staff members. We will also have scheduled use of a shared meeting room on the premises available to us.

Phase two will be delivered in November/December 2016 and will include a large meeting room.

In the meantime, renovations are in progress, computer networking is being installed, and we are excited to have found a permanent office in this central location with sufficient space and parking. We’ll schedule an open house soon to invite members to visit and we hope to start scheduling events at MLS-Northampton by the end of the year.

As you know, we sold the Whately facility in October. Since that time our office has been located in the facility in small temporary quarters hosted by the Town of Whately. We appreciate the Town’s hospitality; while at the same time we have been conducting a diligent search for new permanent office space.

I would like to thank everyone—members, staff, and elected officials for your patience and suggestions during this time and I’d like to recognize the Western Massachusetts Library Advocates who provided helpful assistance and advice.

Our telephone numbers will not change. However, please use the MLS-Marlborough mailing address for all correspondence because we’ll eventually be giving up the post office box (225 Cedar Hill Street, Suite 229, Marlborough, MA 01752).

We look forward to seeing you in Northampton!

Greg Pronevitz,
Executive Director

MLS Welcomes our new Advisor, Christi Showman Farrar

MLS is pleased to announce that Christi Showman Farrar joined the MLS team as an Advisor on April 11th.  Please join us in welcoming her to MLS.

She brings strengths in  serving youth and families, community building, training, and   and will be working with members providing both continuing education and advisory services. Christi was most recently at a major online content aggregator as the Director of School and Public Library Products. She also has experience working at the Woburn Public Library and the Flint Memorial Library in North Reading. Most recently she has been developing workshops for teachers focusing on using digital resources to support curricula in the classroom.

Christi can be reached at:

Optima helps with 9th Annual Boston Bruins / Cradles to Crayons PJ Drive

With help from Massachusetts libraries, the soared passed its target goal of 6,750 PJs and collected more than 8,312 pairs of new pajamas and $11,298.31 in financial donations. This is a new record for the drive.

Massachusetts libraries represented 68 of the 99 participating organizations in this year’s drive and collected more than 6,000 pairs of pajamas and more than $3,500 in financial donations.  The MLS and Optima, our Delivery partner, make it easy for libraries to participate by allowing donated PJs to travel through library Delivery.

What happens to all of those PJs once they are picked up from participating libraries?  They are gathered at Optima’s Wilmington warehouse for delivery to the MBLC in Boston.  Last year, a special delivery was arranged to send an entire truck of pajamas to the MBLC.  This year, when over six pallets worth of pajamas mounted up in Wilmington, pick up was arranged there.  MBLC staff sent a huge thank you to Optima staff for helping them pick up the pajamas for delivery to Cradles to Candles.

It was an eye popping haul, thanks to libraries, the MBLC and Optima!


PJ Pickup Optima


PJ Pickup Optima

Member Satisfaction Survey Results – 2016

I am quite pleased to share the results of MLS’ satisfaction surveys, which were issued in February asking members how satisfied they are with MLS 11 service areas. In most cases positive responses exceeded 85 percent of response, i.e., 3-5 out of 5, with 5 being very satisfied. MLS staff members are reviewing the results and comments in order to address issues raised by members to strive for strong member satisfaction.

Thanks to the more than 1,200 individuals who responded to these surveys. We employed a new approach this year by sending surveys only to the libraries that use the service in question (with the exception of statewide databases which as distributed very widely).  The survey results will be included in the information provided to the Strategic Planning Committee for consideration as we develop a strategic plan of 2017-2019.

I would like to point out the extremely high percentage of “very satisfied” ratings indicated in the areas of advisory services, mediated ILL, and the document delivery service. MLS provides advisory and ILL services. The Boston Public Library provides document delivery services under a contract with MLS. Hats off to all of these folks!

2016-03-25 Chart

We asked members how these services compared to last year. I am happy to report that the Commonwealth eBook Collections service, which as grown from 50 to 450 participants over the past year or so, was clearly the most improved. We attribute this to technology improvements provided by vendors at our request including Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 and the BiblioBoard platform. Advisory, Document Delivery, MassCat, and Mediated ILL all showed improvement of 30% or more. On the flip side, we are examining responses that indicated a downturn in satisfaction to address all possible issues

2016-03-25 Compare