Call for Volunteers

We’re seeking volunteers to serve on our Executive Board.

Board members represent member libraries: academic, special, school, and public libraries from all parts of the Commonwealth. We have three vacancies coming up for the upcoming term. New board members will be elected for three-year terms, beginning January 2020. The slate will also include 2 existing board members, who are running for a second term. The Council of Members at its November 2019 annual meeting will approve a slate of candidates and officers.

The three new openings are to replace two academic libraries and one public library representatives. Recently we’ve had openings in the Boston and Southeast areas of MA, but all applications will be considered. It is our hope that we can fill these slots with representatives from these types of libraries and locations. However, we occasionally have openings due to job changes that require us to fill other slots on short notice from all types of libraries.

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Save the date: Opioid Epidemic Symposium for Librarians

Communities in Crisis:  Libraries Responding to the Opioid Epidemic

Friday, November 15, 2019
Devens Conference Center

Devens, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Massachusetts Library System invite you to attend a symposium on the library response to the opioid epidemic.  Our keynote speakers include Dr. Scott Lukas, a Director at McLean Hospital and a Harvard University Professor, and Felice J. Freyer, a Boston Globe Reporter who covers health policy and public health.  We’ll have lightning presentations presented by public, school, and academic librarians highlighting the librarians’ experience with topics ranging from developing a plan to respond, Narcan training, occupational safety and health, and self-care.  Stay tuned for an open call.  

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MLS Member Update: May 2019

Over the past few months, I have promised you news on some changes happening here at MLS, and I have some exciting and bittersweet updates to share this month.

MLS Marlborough Office News

MLS has a new space for our Marlborough office! We’ve signed a lease for space at 33 Boston Post Rd., right on Rt 20 West, minutes away from 495 . Our office is located on the 4th floor of the building. It houses a cafe and plenty of free parking. We’re working with space designers now and hope to complete our move later this summer. I look forward to welcoming you all to our new space soon! I’ll post details about dates as soon as we have them.

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Resource Sharing Transitions

Today, I bring both happy and sad news from your colleagues at Massachusetts Library System.  For quite some time, we’ve been preparing for an upcoming retirement, and it’s time to share the news with you.

MLS Interlibrary Loan Manager Sue Kaler is retiring after 5.5 years of stellar service to Massachusetts libraries.  Sue joined MLS in 2014 to unify interlibrary loan processing operations at Massachusetts Library System. Here, she built a fantastic team and led innovations in MLS services to expand equity in resource sharing to Massachusetts libraries. Continue reading

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Pro-tips for Planning Library Program Series

Cotuit LibraryOn a recent site visit to the Cotuit Library on Cape Cod, I learned from Antonia Stephens, the library’s director, about several interesting program series. In this interview, you’ll hear directly from Antonia about these interesting programs. She will also share pro-tips for planning program series at your library.

Please tell us about the recent series that your library has hosted on a wide range of topics including music appreciation, end of life care, and Peru.

Royston Nash Music Appreciation SeriesAntonia Stephens: The spring after I arrived at Cotuit, the former, well-loved, conductor of the Cape Cod Symphony—Royston Nash—passed away, and the Library received a lot of donations in his memory. Since we were in the habit of putting on music concerts a few times a year anyway, I decided to leverage those donations and apply for grants to host a two-year music appreciation series in the conductor’s honor. The idea was to present live music, workshops, lectures, films and book discussions throughout the year, featuring different genres and having some didactic element, so that the audience would learn something new, rather than just passively enjoy a concert. We ended up getting funding from two agencies—the Mid-Cape Cultural Council and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod—for two years, which meant we were able to pay a reasonable amount to our performers. We even attracted some outside interest, with individuals and organizations collaborating with us for no cost, such as the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. Although the two years have passed, we still put our music programs under the Royston Nash Music Appreciation Series heading, and it’s likely we’ll look for more grant opportunities in the future.

The Importance of Spiritual Support in End of Life CareLiving Until the End started as just a talk about facing a life-threatening illness, but my Program Coordinator, who at age 24 suffered such an illness, decided to go further with it, eventually including a Death Café, a discussion of end-of-life spirituality, green burial options, a book discussion on Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, and a documentary viewing, among other events. It was compressed into one summer, and was attended by people who were very interested in the topics—not a lot of mildly curious folks for this one—but definitely appreciated by those who came.

Pathways of Peru was the latest version of our Wintertide Read and Ramble series, which is also a small fundraiser for the Library. It started four years ago when the former director and a Board member decided to do a variation on what the Boy Scouts in Alaska do and challenge patrons to walk a certain number of miles or read a certain number of books in anticipation of the Iditarod—they called it the Iditawalk/Iditaread. The challenge began at the beginning of January and ended in March when the official Iditarod banquet is held. Participants pledged to walk or read and were given a log to track their progress, a map of the route of the Iditarod, some reading suggestions for books about Alaska and dog sledding and an invitation to a banquet at the end of the series. We also held thematic programs throughout the weeks of the series about Alaska, dog training and even a Facetime interview with a reporter on the trail. As participants covered the miles of finished books, they would move a personalized pin along the large trail map posted in our main room. There were prizes for the first reader and the first walker to reach Anchorage, and a draw for a raffle prize for those who paid to participate (the events were open to everyone, but they didn’t get to go to the feast or participate in the raffle). Continue reading

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