The House Budget (fy2019) and MLS Long-Term Sustainability

The House Ways and Means budget for fy2019 was published on April 11.  This budget provides a 1.33% increase to budget line 7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries which provides appropriations to fund the Massachusetts Library System and the Library for the Commonwealth at the Boston Public Library.

We appreciate this increase but we must be clear that increases at this level are not sufficient for MLS’ long-term sustainability.   The Library Legislative Agenda for fy2019 recommends a 3% increase for this budget line.  This level of funding is sufficient for MLS’ long-term sustainability.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! 

Representatives Rushing of Boston, Higgins of Leominster, Murray of Milford, Peake of Provincetown, Walsh of Framingham, Fernandes of Falmouth, Garlick of Needham, O’Day of West Boylston, Dooley of Norfolk and Gifford of Wareham move to amend the bill to boost funding for MLS and LFC by 3%.  Amendment #789 to H4400.  This boost would keep MLS on the path to long-term sustainability and allows MLS to consider reducing cost sharing for hold/return sorting.

We’ve posted information below about our two most heavily used services:  Databases/eBooks and Delivery that describe the ramifications of insufficient funding for your information.

 

Databases and eBooks

MLS provides funding and support for statewide databases that are heavily used by school children and statewide eBooks that are in demand in public libraries.  Massachusetts residents download more than 8 million articles each year from the databases, and MLS is poised to release its new and improved eBook program for libraries.

Sadly, MLS has also had to reduce funding for both programs.  Due to increases in the state minimum wage and rising health care costs that caused a severe shortfall in its delivery service, MLS has already had to make significant cuts including a 60% reduction in databases spending and a 33% reduction in eBook spending last July.  Most libraries were unable to replace the lost content with their own limited funds.

In order to keep pace with rising costs and to put the brakes on fees that erode the equity of library services, MLS needs adequate funding to keep pace with inflation.  A 3% increase to Line 7000-9401 would save MLS from having to raise additional fees or make additional cuts to critical services that are so valued by libraries and library users.

MLS also provides many other important services to libraries in the Commonwealth including a statewide delivery service; professional development for library staff to help libraries stay on the cutting edge; and support for the statewide summer library program that connects children and adults to reading and lifelong learning.

Funding for 7000-9401 also goes toward important statewide library programs and services from the Library for the Commonwealth.  These include electronic resources available to anyone in the Commonwealth with a Boston Public Library eCard, digitization services to preserve our rich cultural heritage and many more valuable services!

 

Delivery

MLS funds a statewide delivery service for 525 libraries in the Commonwealth that helps library users to borrow more than 7 million items each year!  This is a critical service to library users and especially helps to ensure that all residents, regardless of the town they call home, have equal access to books, music, DVDs and more.  This service saves libraries $35 million in postage!

Costs for delivery are on the rise!  Due to increases in the state minimum wage and rising health care costs that well-exceed funding, MLS has already had to make significant cuts including the elimination of 125 stops and a freeze on adding new libraries to the service.  In addition, we will soon be imposing fees on the highest volume libraries for hold/return sorting services.  Without adequate funding, MLS will be forced to impose fees and other restrictions on more libraries that use this service.  This will undoubtedly affect libraries that serve rural, urban and economically disadvantaged communities the most.

In order to keep pace with rising costs and to put the brakes on fees that erode the equity of library services, MLS needs adequate funding to keep pace with inflation.  A 3% increase to Line 7000-9401 would save MLS from having to raise additional fees or make additional cuts to this service that is so critical and so valued by libraries and library users.

MLS also provides many other important services to libraries in the Commonwealth including funding, training and support for the statewide databases program heavily used by school children; professional development for library staff to help libraries stay on the cutting edge; and support for the statewide summer library program that connects children and adults to reading and lifelong learning.

 

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Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Lilly Sundell-Thomas

Lilly Sundell-Thomas was a participant in our 2015 SET Cohort. Since the conclusion of SET Lilly has been hard at work at the Somerville Public Library finding creative ways to meet the needs of her library patrons.

What were your goals for Project SET? How did these develop throughout the Project? Did you meet them?
I entered Project SET as a very new librarian and so my major goals were to make connections in the Massachusetts library community and learn about what was happening at libraries across the state. I absolutely met this goal! Whenever I attend regional workshops or conferences, I run into someone associated with Project SET. Even if I don’t see a Project SET participant from my cohort, my involvement in the program is a nice conversation starter.

Identify one goal you have for your career, your library, and for the Massachusetts library community?
As a programming and outreach librarian, I am constantly thinking about new and interesting ways to engage with patrons and the community in general. It is clear to me that the role of libraries is shifting in the digital age, and so my main goal as a librarian is to keep libraries relevant. Libraries will always be places for people of all ages to borrow books and media, but they are also becoming gathering spaces for people to learn new skills. I hope that librarians across the state will recognize this shift, think outside the box, and embrace change. It is my personal goal to develop creative programs that will remind people that the library is an essential part of the community.

Project SET is a professional learning cohort that supports the development of individual career goals and the exploration of other aspects of the library community. Every session provides the chance for participants to build knowledge, communication skills, connections, awareness, and confidence as an information professional.

For additional information about Project SET visit our LibGuide!   

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A Season of Hygge at the Groton Public Library

This winter, I discovered a booklet at my neighboring library, the Groton Public Library, announcing a Season of Hygge.  I enjoyed reading the Little Book of Hygge and loved the helpful tips to bring more coziness and happiness into our lives with simple things like spending more time with friends and family, expressing gratitude, lighting candles, playing board games, wearing comfortable clothes, and drinking lots of hot cocoa and tea.  We can learn a lot from the Danish about how to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere for our libraries and homes. In this interview, Lisa Baylis and Deb Dowson tell us about the Groton Public Library’s experience with a Season of Hygge.

Groton Public Library

Groton Public Library

What inspired your selection of The Little Book of Hygge for your community read and the theme for your winter and spring programs?

Groton Public Library:  The positive joyful message, focus on natural products and experiences, encouraging small scale interpersonal connections, home grown events, and warm and cozy ideas for a winter month.

Which of your hygge themed programs were most popular?

Alpaca at Warm and Cozy Event

GPL:  Warm and Fuzzy Kickoff Event: This was a huge success! We had two visiting alpacas to meet from a local farm and crock pots full of hot cocoa. People from the Luina Grenine Farm were here to answer questions and display products that the incredibly soft alpaca fur gets transformed into. (socks, hats, stuffed animals, etc.) It was a hit with every age, and we had a lot of families attending with multiple generations! (same with the board games…) Continue reading

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Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Gario

Michelle Gario was a participant in our 2015 SET Cohort. Since the conclusion of SET Michelle has been creating and providing amazing programing opportunities to her library patrons in Seekonk.

What did you learn about yourself as a participant in Project SET?
As a participant in Project SET I learned that there are many opportunities in Massachusetts to grow and contribute. It was an amazing opportunity to be with a cross section of library professionals from many fields and experience levels.

What one thing do you most want other people to know about your experience with Project SET? What are you most proud of?
Project SET is a great opportunity to develop your skills as a presenter and contributor to the library community. I am most proud of getting out of the familiar and being exposed to different perspectives in librarianship.

Project SET is a professional learning cohort that supports the development of individual career goals and the exploration of other aspects of the library community. Every session provides the chance for participants to build knowledge, communication skills, connections, awareness, and confidence as an information professional.

For additional information about Project SET visit our LibGuide!

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Procurement: Chapter 30B and MHEC

Do you have questions about procurement requirements? How MHEC relates to those requirements? How can I use MHEC contracts effectively? This program provides you information to answer those questions.

MHEC logoProcurement: Chapter 30B and MHEC
Friday, April 27th 10AM-1PM
MLS-Marlborough Register!

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Neil Cohen, CFE, Director, Office of the Massachusetts Inspector General, will present a 30B overview and answer your questions about procurement law.
  • An overview of MHEC/MLS contracts and an introduction to related resources from the MHEC MLS Guide.
  • MHEC Website training presented by Jacqueline Cashin, CGA, CA, Manager Library Procurement Contracts, MCPPO, MHEC.
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