Good afternoon MLS Members,

I know today brings new challenges in light of the governor’s recent announcements, in particular to extending the order for non-essential businesses to remain closed through May 4. We here at MLS will be following the orders, with a slight adaptation: though MLS offices will remain closed through May 4, MLS is open! We’re working hard to enhance, adapt, and sustain the services you and your patrons rely on. And we know your libraries are open too (even if the physical space may be closed).

I have a few updates I’d like to share:

As mentioned above, MLS offices will remain closed through May 4. Our staff continues to work remotely, and while we’re reaching out to many of you, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions. Email is the best way to reach us during this time, but staff will also be checking their phones and voicemails. We are absolutely here for you! Staff Contact Page

Our in-person CE program will continue to be suspended through May. We have lots of virtual opportunities coming up on our calendar and recordings on our Vimeo Page. And we have a new guide that collects some virtual opportunities from other organizations that are available to you and your staff.

Many of you have contacted us with questions about the safety of library materials and, with special thanks to our colleague Evan Knight at the MBLC, we have guidance to share! Our guide includes a recording of a very informative webinar that IMLS hosted with doctors from the CDC. You can find this link to the recording, along with other supporting information on our resource guide.

Speaking of the guide, we’ve reorganized the home page, removing the long list of updates by date and replacing it with a “featured” section. We hope this will be less overwhelming and help direct folks to other sections of the guide.

We’ve been busy developing and reorganizing the Information for Patrons tab (including expanding and reorganizing the Financial Information and Assistance section) and the Stay Engaged, Have Fun, Relieve Stress tab.

We are pleased to introduce MLS Member Libraries Respond, a new blog page on the MLS Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Massachusetts Libraries Resource Guide. MLS staff will be using this space to share how our member libraries are continuing to provide essential services to their patrons throughout the COVID-19 crisis, even as their physical spaces are closed. Special thanks to Worcester Public Library for sharing their #HeartWorcester Campaign. Is your library offering a service or program that you would like to share with other MLS members? If so, please contact Kelly Jo Woodside.

We know many of you are adapting to a new way of working. Maybe it’s with less phone calls, more meetings,  less (or more) personal interactions. More comfy seating, but no desk. Changes to our daily routine can affect our productivity and frame of mind. With this in mind, we asked some of our staff to share their tips on adapting to a new workspace, be it physical or mental.

There’s lots more happening at MLS, and our staff will continue to send out emails about specific services. But know we are here for you and your libraries, just as you are present for your communities, through this challenging time.

Be well,
Sarah Sogigian