Management and Leadership Training in Massachusetts Libraries: Report

Executive Summary

In the spring of 2019 MLS Consulting and Training Team members Amanda Fauver (Membership Manager) and Christi Showman Farrar (Consultant) were assigned the task of researching and evaluating the need for management and leadership training within our library community. This project was sparked by the “Call for Topics” survey performed by the Consulting Team in the Fall of 2018.  After a year of gathering data, researching, and talking to our membership Amanda and Christi have prepared a final report.
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PDF Version of Report-

Essential Competencies for Library Leadership-

Would you like to learn more about this report? Or do you have questions? Attend our May 25th, 2021 session of MLS LIVE – Amanda Fauver and Sarah Sogigian will discuss our findings.

Register on ZOOM 

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Leadership Development Training Series

Leadership is an activity, not a position. You do not need to be a manager to be a leader. Rather, leadership is a skill that can be developed and practiced from any level or position. In this series we are offering a variety of leadership development trainings that will be of interest to those who hold management roles and those who do not. If you are interested in growing your leadership skills, we hope you will join us. We’ve lined up fantastic leadership development trainers who can help you become the leader you want to be. 

The Leadership Development Training Series is being offered in support of Strategic Initiative 2 of MLS’s new strategic plan (

All Staff Workshops: The following workshops are appropriate for library staff at any level or position:

Managers & Supervisors Workshops: The following workshops are designed for managers and supervisors, but staff from any level or position are welcome to attend:

You can find a listing of workshops in the Leadership Development Training Series on the MLS events calendar:

Given the topics and interactive nature of these workshops, many have small enrollments and they will not be recorded.

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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Social Justice (DEI) Training Series.

Are you looking to deepen your knowledge of DEI concepts?  Or are you wondering how to incorporate DEI concepts into your library work?  We are working with a number of outstanding DEI trainers who can help you reach your DEI learning goals, regardless of where you are on your DEI journey.

The DEI Training Series is being offered in support of Strategic Initiative 3 of MLS’s new strategic plan ( 

All Staff Workshops: We have scheduled a number of DEI workshops that are appropriate for library staff at any level or position:

Managers & Supervisors Workshops: In addition, we have scheduled some workshops that are designed specifically for managers and supervisors, but staff from any level or position are welcome to attend:

You can find a listing of all workshops in the DEI Training Series on the MLS events calendar:  We are in the process of adding a couple additional workshops, and those workshops will also be placed on the MLS events calendar once they have been scheduled. 

Given the topics and interactive nature of these workshops, many have small enrollments and most will not be recorded.

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Statewide Database Survey

Our current statewide database offerings from MBLC (in partnership with MLS) are coming to the end of their contract cycle, so we’re gearing up for a new round of purchases.

Many of you were able to join Kate Butler from MBLC and Tressa Santillo from MLS at one of our live database feedback sessions – a big thank you to everyone who was able to come and share their experiences with us.

The next step is a survey for all Massachusetts Library Staff. We’ve done our best to distill the questions down to the most essential, so we don’t expect the survey to take longer than about 10 minutes to complete. We ask that each individual take the survey only once, but as many staff members at a library who wish to take it should do so – we want to hear from front line staffers all the way up to administration, as well as everyone from all library types (academics, schools, special libraries, and public libraries). The survey requests general information about library type and service population, but is otherwise anonymous.

The survey will remain open through May 5, 2021.


Please feel free to share this survey. We want to hear from as many people as possible!

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This Podcast is Overdue

Two of our Consulting and Training team members, April Mazza and Christi Showman Farrar, just recently launched a podcast for library staff and book lovers. The podcast is called “This Podcast is Overdue” and has been something April and Christi have talked about for quite some time (hence the name). On each episode they recommend books, talk about things they’re loving and learning, and answer questions from library land. In their first episode they each discuss picture books and then tackle the burning question, “why don’t people pay attention to out of order signs in the library?” Both of the hosts see the podcast as a way to share insights about books and libraries, but also to connect with the larger library world on important topics like social justice and self-care. The plan is to release new episodes every two weeks until the summer, with each episode clocking in around 30 minutes long. Episode 2 was just released on April 14 with Episode 3 planned for April 28. If you’re interested in listening and subscribing, you can find the podcast on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, and Spotify. You can also follow them on Instagram @thispodisoverdue where they post pictures of the books they discuss as well as other relevant images (there may be a recent picture of a deep-dish cookie pie for the bakers out there.)

Apple Podcasts:

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BiblioTemps Presents: The Career Series for Library Workers

Build skills to improve the success of your job search! We currently have 7 webinars scheduled and open for registration. Titles, dates, times, and descriptions are included below. All sessions will be recorded and available on our Vimeo Page. Registration is open and free to all participants. To view the full calendar listing click here.

This webinar series has been made possible through CARES Act funding to the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Included Sessions:

  • Resumes Panel
  • Evaluating New Positions/Employers
  • The Job Search Part 1 – Start with Strategy
  • The Job Search Part 2 – Mindset & Self Care
  • Salary Negotiation for Library Workers
  • We’re All Librarians Here: How to Stop Talking Yourself Out of Things You Can Do
  • Creating a Professional Network: Tips and Tools that work for everyone, but especially Introverts!

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Staff Profiles

Each month we will be highlighting two MLS staff members and sharing a little bit about them. This month we would like to introduce you to…

Scott Kehoe, Library Resources Director
As Library Resources Director, Scott leads the six-person Resource Sharing team, coordinating services and support for: Commonwealth eBook Collection; Interlibrary Loan; MassCat; and state-wide database support.
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Michelle Eberle, Consultant
On a typical day, Michelle will present, host, or plan professional development programs, respond to inquiries from our members, and coordinate partnerships.
Learn More

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Seeds of recovery: seed libraries in the aftermath of covid-19

If your library hosts a seed catalog or was intending to add one in 2020, you probably found you a sudden need to totally redesign how you lend seeds. If you read Laura’s 2019 blog post, “Growing your patron base,” you already learned from expert librarians they interviewed about setting up a seed library in the pre-covid era. Laura spoke with these experts, as well as others, again, to learn how they adjusted to the new needs of the community while keeping safe.

Read Laura’s full post here –

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Congratulations to our Member Libraries!

Several of our member libraries are the recipients of the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small & Rural Libraries grant. From the ALA press release: “The funding will enable libraries to lead community engagement efforts in more than 300 small and rural communities on topics like the COVID pandemic, mental health, public land use, the climate crisis and Black history. Grant funds may be used to cover a range of expenses, including staff time and collections and technology purchases.”

  • Belding Memorial Library (Ashfield, MA)
  • Cotuit Library Association (Cotuit, MA)
  • Dighton Public Library (Dighton, MA)
  • Elizabeth Taber Library (Marion, MA)
  • Field Memorial Library (Conway, MA)
  • Fobes Memorial Library (Oakham, MA)
  • Griswold Memorial Library (Colrain, MA)
  • Hamilton Memorial Library (Chester, MA)
  • Millbury Public Library (Millbury, MA)
  • Millville Free Public Library (Millville, MA)
  • Otis Library and Museum (Otis, MA)
  • Porter Memorial Library (Blandford, MA)
  • Randall Library (Stow, MA)
  • Sargent Memorial Library (Boxborough, MA)
  • Scituate Town Library (Scituate, MA)
  • Southborough Library (Southborough, MA)
  • Whelden Memorial Library (West Barnstable, MA)

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