Sarah and Rob are on the road

Sarah Sogigian (MLS) and Rob Favini (MBLC) have been on the road visiting libraries. They’ve had a blast on these road trips, visiting with our member libraries and learning more about their work during the pandemic. They are booking their calendars for more visits; let them know if you’d like them to stop by. They would love to hear and see all that you are doing to support your communities.

They will work with you to find a mutually appropriate date and time, and will adhere to all safety guidelines. They are also available for virtual visits!





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During our July session of MLS Live, we were joined by Ryan Kidder, Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager at MHEC (Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium). The Mass. Library System has been collaborating with MHEC to provide consortium pricing for library supplies and materials for the better half of the past decade. Our discussion at the July Live focused on our members frequently asked questions and the latest news from MHEC.

If you would like to watch the recording of this session you can find it on our Vimeo page –

Key news highlights from this session include-

  • The Library Supplies Contract (L50) is currently being prepared to go out to bid. L50 and all other MHEC contracts will be transitioning to a five-year contract (previously three years with an option to renew). MHEC is looking for input on this contract, suppliers, etc.!
  • MHEC will be getting a branding upgrade with a new logo and colors coming.
  • Also coming soon are new webpages and landing pages for libraries with easier navigation.
  • Mark your calendar for November 4th, 2021 Virtual Member Meeting event with a Library track. More information will be posted on the MHEC website in the coming weeks.
  • MHEC has been working on an eProcurement Platform, which will allow members to search for something by keyword, find who on the MHEC contracts carries it, and help you find the best discounted price. This new platform should roll out in the next six to eight months!

If you would like to follow up with Ryan Kidder you can contact him at 413-992-2576 or


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Massachusetts Public Libraries Outdoors! Environmental Scan

MLS is publishing a blog post about how public libraries provide services, resources, and programs outdoors.  The survey results will also be shared with the MBLC for advocacy.  We’d love to hear from you. 

Please take a few minutes to share your library’s story.  

Complete the survey at:

The survey will close on August 9th.   Hope you will participate. Thank you very much!


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Blue Marble Blog

Plastic Free July: For Kids

by Gabrielle Griffis Assistant Youth Services Librarian at Brewster Ladies’ Library on July 13th, 2021 

The ability to avoid plastic is a class and an accessibility issue. Reducing plastic pollution can feel overwhelming, especially when companies don’t take responsibility for the safety and life-cycle of their products. In these unprecedented times, helping children develop critical thinking skills relative to the short-term and long-term impacts plastics have on their health and the health of the environment is essential, and adults should use safe plastic alternatives for children whenever appropriate and possible. 

Read More 

Zero Waste Book Reviews

by: Laura Gardner, Teacher Librarian at Dartmouth Middle School July 30th, 2021

Ever since learning that recycling is a myth (only 9% of all plastic is ever recycled) and participating in my first brand audit with Break Free from Plastic (learn more here), I’ve been obsessed with the zero waste/plastic free movement. The best zero waste books focus on refuse, reduce and reuse as the three main Rs of sustainability and find ways to help anyone and everyone make positive changes. I’ve read a few books that are elitist and unattainable in their goals. To help the average household reduce their carbon and landfill footprints, we have to meet people where they are and give various options for how to adapt. I’ve read lots of different books and these are my three favorite books on this topic.

Read More

Join the Blue Marble-Discussion List — a communications forum for Massachusetts Library System members. The name for this listserv is inspired by the first image of the Earth taken from the Apollo 17 spacecraft on route to the moon, which generated great awe and reverence for our planet.

Do you have a story that you would like to share with Massachusetts Library System members in this blog? If yes, please contact Michelle Eberle.

Thank you for your interest in joining the conversation and actions around extreme weather preparedness and environmentalism in our communities.


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Touchpoints in Libraries and Reflective Practice

Applications for this fall’s cohort of the Touchpoints in Libraries training are due by August 31. This fall we will have space for four teams from public libraries. Libraries can apply using the form found on the MBLC page here:  

Applicants will be notified about their acceptance into the cohort before the end of September. The overall goal of this program is to provide library staff of all types (not just youth services!) with training that will help them better understand and interact with families with young children.

MBLC and MLS are partnering with Brazelton Touchpoints Center, part of Boston Children’s Hospital. We are beginning the process of becoming an official Touchpoints training site for Massachusetts libraries. This will allow staff from the MBLC and MLS to offer the Touchpoints in Libraries training, the aim of which is to support more effective family and caregiver engagement in libraries.

We anticipate MBLC and MLS staff will be able to start offering Touchpoints in Libraries training by the fall of 2023.

Want to know more about Touchpoints in Libraries and Reflective Practice?

This is foundational training to support more effective family and caregiver engagement in libraries.  It focuses on implementing a set of strength-based practices such as careful observation of children’s behavior and parents’ strengths to improve library-family-caregiver relationships that promote family wellness.

Touchpoints in Libraries introduces participants to the Touchpoints approach and explores how it can enhance and expand the important work they already do with families and caregivers.  The Touchpoints in Libraries professional development training supports library staff to:

  • View children’s development as a process characterized by ups and downs
  • Identify opportunities to connect with and support families through routine library interactions, programs and services
  • Use intentional strategies to connect with and support families and other caregivers
  • Create a shared language and understanding of child development, a strengths-based approach to engaging families, and a community of practice and professional support for library staff

Core Components:

  • Developmental Framework – provides a lens to view children’s behavior and better understand a child’s developmental process as one characterized by disorganized behavior and how it impacts caregiving relationships.
  • Strengths-based, Relational Framework – provides concrete relationship based strategies and practices for building strong partnership with families, staff and community partners.
  • Reflective Practice – provides a method that can be used to examine library staff practices with children and families that intentionally supports efforts to continuously improve.
  • Culturally Responsive – provides strategies to be open to and discover what is important to families 

Format: 22 hours of virtual training delivered over 8 weeks.  Each week includes asynchronous activities along with a 1.5-hour live session that all participants attend.  Training is followed by 6 one-hour reflective practice sessions that take place over 6 months.  


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Teen Summit Save the Date

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (RIOLIS) are pleased to announce a new partner for Teen Summit 2021, the Connecticut State Library. April Mazza (MLS), Christi Farrar (MLS), and Danielle Margarida (RIOLIS) are thrilled to welcome Kym Powe, Youth Services Consultant at the CT State Library, to the Teen Summit team!

Save-the-Date: Friday, October 8, 2021 – all day, all virtual, all free!

Check out our Teen Summit page for updates.

Teen Summit is for any library staff who work with teens and young adults, including school and academic libraries! Stay tuned for more program details coming soon!


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Case for Support Project

With so many “M” organizations supporting libraries in Massachusetts, understanding who offers what can be confusing. This summer, MLS is working with an organization called Campaign Counsel to write what’s referred to as a “Case for Support”; an overview of how our services benefit libraries and their cardholders throughout Massachusetts. This document will be used in a variety of ways including marketing, advocacy, and grant applications.

In our current phase, we are scheduling virtual interviews for Campaign Counsel with representatives from our membership. We welcome your participation in this phase of the project and invite you to contact our Membership Manager – Amanda Fauver Interviews will take about 30 minutes and can be performed either over the phone or online using GoTo Meeting. Interviews will conclude after the second week in August.

Examples of the questions that may be included in this interview include-

  • What do you anticipate MLS’s short- and long-term plans/vision are?
  • What are the most essential elements of MLS’s services? If MLS wasn’t an organization anymore, what would the impact be on the libraries within Massachusetts?
  • What do you see as the weakest element(s) of the MLS services?
  • What is MLS’s most significant impact in the community?
  • As you know, the majority of MLS’ funding comes from state budget line 9401. If MLS were to receive additional funding from a source other than the state, what opportunities would this new source of funding address?
  • What else do I need to know about what makes MLS special and unique?

The next phase of this project will include a member survey that will be sent out to the primary contact at each of our member libraries. If you receive this survey from us, please take a moment to fill it out. We want to ensure that voices from all our member types across the state are represented in this projects final product.


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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…

Dodie Gaudet
As MassCat Cataloger, I find bib records in OCLC for MassCat libraries and import them into the MassCat catalog. I also merge duplicate records, upgrade skimpy records and correct typos (some early records were hand keyed)
Read More

Sarah Donnelly
As MLS Event & Project Manager, my main responsibility is to support the Consulting and Training Services team, primarily with planning our Continuing Education programs. I feel very fortunate to be part of this team – our Consultants rock! 
Read More


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National Voter Registration Day – Sign Up Now to Partner!

The Massachusetts Library System and Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are excited to share that we are collaborating on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) for a second year. We encourage your library to participate, too!  Libraries can partner by hosting a virtual or in-person event for National Voter Registration Day, or publicizing NVRD social media copy and graphics.  National Voter Registration Day provides an excellent toolkit for organizations to support your voter engagement efforts. Register with this link to help ALA track how many libraries partner for NVRD.  We hope that your library will take part in this important collaboration.  Read the official invitation from ALA to partner on NVRD.


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