Quarantining Practices at Libraries Cause Delivery Bin Shortage

The pandemic has posed many challenges that have impacted our delivery operations. Many of our Members have reached out with concerns regarding material delays and the lack of bins. We want to assure you that as soon as the materials enter the warehouses, staff sort the materials and stage them for the drivers.

Materials are not being held or quarantined by Optima.

However, library quarantining of materials and reduced delivery days at some libraries have delayed the arrival of items. We understand safety is a priority and each library has their own safety guidelines; please be aware items being quarantined 5 or more days will impact arrival as well as bin availability.

As previously requested, MLS bins are not to be used to quarantine items in your libraries.

MLS purchased close to 2,000 bins before we resumed delivery in June 2020. We just purchased another 1,000, but purchasing bins will not fix this issue. We need your help to keep bins circulating and, in turn, keep delivery moving.

MLS and Optima also understand that delivery delays due to driver call outs are impacting library workflow. We want to assure you that Optima’s priority is route consistency for all our libraries.

As always, MLS and Optima appreciate your attention and understanding as we work through the pandemic. Please know that statewide delivery continues to be a top priority for us, as we know how critical our delivery service is to you and your community.

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MLS Spring 2021 Training Lineup

We are thrilled to announce our Spring 2021 training lineup.  Because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, all Spring 2021 trainings will be held online.  We hope that you will be able to join us for some of these exciting learning opportunities:

Tri-State Summer Summit, with April Mazza and Christi Farrar (in collaboration with the Connecticut State Library and Rhode Island Office of Library & Information Services)

  • Day 1: February 10 (time TBD)
  • Day 2: February 11 (10 am – 4 pm)

Summer Library Program 2021 Brainstorming Sessions, with April Mazza

  • February 22 (3 – 4:30 pm)
  • February 26 (10 – 11:30 am)
  • March 5 (10 – 11:30 am)
  • March 10 (3 – 4:30 pm)

Accidental Reference Librarian Series, with Anna Popp

Best Practices 

    • February 24 (10 am – 12 pm)
    • March 1 (1 – 3 pm)

Sources & Searching

    • March 12 (10 am – 12 pm)
    • March 15 (1 – 3 pm)

The Reference Interview

    • March 23 (1 – 3 pm)
    • March 31 (10 am – 12 pm)

Strategic Planning 2022: Tips, Tools, & Techniques, with Michelle Eberle

  • February 25 (2:30 – 4:30 pm)
  • March 2 (2:30 – 4:30 pm)
  • March 4 (10 am – 12 pm)

Strategic Planning: Consulting & Co-working Sessions, with Michelle Eberle & Kristi Chadwick

  • April 13 (2:30 – 3:30 pm)
  • May 11 (4 – 5 pm)
  • June 3 (11 am – 12 pm)

The Collection Life Cycle, with Kristi Chadwick

  • March 8 (10 – 11:30 am)
  • March 16 (1 – 2:30 pm)
  • March 25 (10 – 11:30 am)
  • April 5 (1 – 2:30 pm)

Transforming Teen Services: The Pursuit of Educational Equity, with Christi Farrar & Lyndsay Forbes (MBLC)

  • 5 session eCourse: April 9, 16, 30, May 7, 14
    • Cohort A (11 am – 12 pm each day)
    • Cohort B (3 – 4 pm each day)

Upcycling Training for Your Library Community, with Kelly Jo Woodside

  • April 15 (1 – 3 pm)
  • April 27 (10 am – 12 pm)
  • May 3 (1 – 3 pm)

Virtual Check-Ins, with MLS staff

  • Topics vary
  • Various dates and times

Registration and further information can be found on our calendar:calendar.masslibsystem.org.  Be sure to check back periodically as we are continuing to post additional learning opportunities. 

If you would like to receive occasional emails with information about our upcoming trainings, pleasejoin our mailing list(be sure to check off “Training and professional development offerings”). 

We invite you to visit ourresource guidefor Consulting & Training Services.  Learn about our team and areas of expertise, and find direct links to our most popular services. 

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MLS Live

If you were unable to attend Tuesdays live event you will find the recording available on our Vimeo Page.

Our next session will be held on Tuesday February 23rd at 11:00 AM. In February we will discuss what the Massachusetts Library System does and how we differ from our partner organizations in the state. Register in advance.

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MLS LibGuides

Our LibGuides contain essential information about our services and are a great starting point for any library starting up a new project or initiative.

For the month of January, the MLS LibGuides have had over 11,375 views.

The five most popular guides this month are –

  1. Coronavirus (COVID19) and Massachusetts Libraries (2,670 month/113,920 year)
  2. MLS Delivery
  3. Boston Public Library: Library for the Commonwealth
  4. Strategic Planning for Libraries
  5. Mock Book Awards

The most popular search terms for the past year have been – covid, coronavirus, worldcat, checker, covid-19, canva, webinars, recorded webinar, Social Justice, and copyright.

Our newest guide is the Library for the Commonwealth Resource Guide

In its role as Library for the Commonwealth, the Boston Public Library provides services to all Massachusetts residents and supplements library resources found in communities statewide. Included in this helpful guide is an FAQ that answers common questions about the LFC’s available resources. More info about this guide – https://masslibsystem.org/blog/2021/01/05/new-library-for-the-commonwealth-resource-guide/

We know how valuable our COVID 19 LibGuide has been for our members this year. If your library staff has been working remotely due to infection spikes in your community take a look at our page “What your Library can do Remotely” https://guides.masslibsystem.org/COVID19/LibrariesCan.

You may also find our Policy Collection helpful- https://guides.masslibsystem.org/mapolicycollection. If you are working on updating your libraries policies or creating a new one check out our Policy Collection. We’ve added policies on a wide range of topics from libraries all over the state.

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Welcome New Executive Board Members

Our new members have been elected/appointed over the past couple of months, and we’d like to introduce them to you!

Debby Conrad, Commissioner
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

“I was appointed MBLC Liaison to MLS because of my past experience working with multi-type cooperatives both in Massachusetts and Illinois.  I look forward to serving in this capacity as MLS embarks upon its new strategic plan.”

Eric Poulin, 
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of SLIS West
Simmons University School of Library and Information Science


“Educational opportunities and support for new and emerging professionals is very much a passion of mine, and I believe the programming offered by MLS fills a significant need across the Commonwealth.  I’m in hopes that by serving on the Executive Board, I can both raise awareness of the importance of MLS among our student population, as well as encouraging our next generation of leaders to take part in advocacy and service roles on behalf of libraries, archives, and museums throughout Massachusetts and all of the Northeast.”

Timothy Rivard, Director of Learning Services
MassBay Community College


“I am looking forward to working on the Executive Board and advocating for the services MLS provides to the membership.”

Emily Levine, Reference Librarian
Watertown Free Public Library


“I ran to join the MLS Executive Board to lend my voice and experiences towards furthering the progress, cohesion, and success of our wonderful MA library community. I really look forward to meeting new colleagues and working with a variety of library types with diverse needs over the next few years.” 

Elizabeth McGovern, Head of Youth Services/Assistant Director
Westwood Public Library


“I am looking forward to being an agent of change for Massachusetts librarians, specifically for those who serve the youth population. The reality of the pandemic took all our best practices and threw them out the window. But librarians across America did not hesitate to adjust and change tactics; we do what we do best and pivot. I have witnessed first-hand how seriously and responsibly MLS responds to situations/crises that Mass librarians face and develop real life support and strategies to accomplish goals. I think now more than ever it is an honor to be a part of MLS Executive Board and be an active part of its future for the librarians’ of Massachusetts.”

Also joining the board as new members this year Ellen Sulczyki of the Springfield City Library and Jill Westover of Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

For a complete list of board members and 2020 meeting minutes please visit this page-https://guides.masslibsystem.org/executive-board/home

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Library Directory Updates

The Membership team at MLS has been working on a project that will improve the accuracy and quality of our membership database. Having the most current contact information for our members is an essential part of being able to communicate and share important information about our services.

To find a complete list of Member Libraries visit the Library Directory – https://mblc.state.ma.us/directories/libraries/index.php hosted by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.  Every library included on this list is a member of the Massachusetts Library System.

We are currently working on updates to our Academic and Special Library member records. If you are contacted by one of our staff members in the coming months with a request for updated information, please respond.

If you find errors in your library’s record please email directory-updates@masslibsystem.org with the correct information.

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