In this months News and Updates:
- Sarah and Rob on the Road
- Open House at Optima Sort Facility
- Language Learning Grant
- ALA Intellectual Freedom Webinar Series
- Resources for Book Bans
- In the News
Sarah Sogigian (MLS) and Rob Favini (MBLC) are planning their 2023 road trips! They’ve had a blast on these road trips, visiting 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 to 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!
Wednesday, May 17th 1-4 Register
Location: West Bridgewater Facility
385 West Street, West Bridgewater, MA 02379
The Massachusetts Library System and Optima Shipping welcome you to an open house at the NEW Sort Facility in West Bridgewater. This is an opportunity for library staff to come and see the facility where Optima handles library materials destined for Delivery to and from libraries in the Southeast. Optima can accommodate approximately 25 people at once, so please RSVP picking a time slot. The time slots will be closed on a first come first served basis. We will hold additional open house(s) if needed. We have chosen the 1-4 PM time period because trucks and vans will be returning from picking up materials which will be unloaded and sorted to their destinations. We expect this will give you a good picture of the daily workflow and the Sort Site environment. We look forward to seeing you!
Register 1-2pm Timeslot
Register 2-3pm Timeslot
Register 3-4pm Timeslot
MLS’s new Language Learning Grant is off to a great start. The grant was launched on February 2 to help staff who work in MLS member libraries take language learning courses at eligible educational organizations. We received our first application only 10 minutes after the grant was announced. So far, we have approved 30 applications.
Approved applications have come from 21 different libraries across the Commonwealth, most of which have been public libraries (93%), in addition to a couple of school libraries (7%). The largest number of approved applications have come from Librarians (40%), followed by Managers/Supervisors (23%), Paralibrarians (17%), Other (13%), and Directors (7%). The most popular languages have been Spanish (60%) and Sign Language (23%), with a few people taking French (10%), Korean and Portuguese (3% each).
If you are interested in learning a language, be sure to check out our Language Learning Grant LibGuide to review the conditions of the grant and to fill out an application. Our goal is to help you reach your language learning goal. We hope to see a Language Learning Grant application from you!
The Language Learning Grant program supports Initiative 1 Goal 3, Initiative 2 Goal 2, and Initiative 3 Goal 1 of the MLS Strategic Plan.
During February and March, MLS hosted a five-part webinar series with the American Library Association on intellectual freedom topics:
- Legal Fundamentals of Intellectual Freedom
- Managing First Amendment Audits and Social Media from the Inside Out
- Transformation: Empowering Community Members and Colleagues to Become Library Advocates
- Intellectual Freedom Beyond the Basics
- Handling Harassment and Prioritizing Self-Care
Three hundred people viewed the webinars live. Attendees came from a variety of library types (including academic, public, school, and special) across the Commonwealth and held a range of positions in their libraries (including director, manager/supervisor, librarian, and paralibrarian).
We conducted a survey after the live webinars. Over 90% of respondents agreed that they learned something by attending the webinars and that applying what they learned would make a positive difference. Over 95% of agreed that they would recommend the webinars to others.
Some sample comments from evaluation respondents include:
- “This webinar will help library workers feel prepared for challenges to our commitment to intellectual freedom when it comes to our physical spaces.”
- “This is an important webinar especially for libraries in the current climate. There are some great examples and tools suggested that will help libraries run smoothly and protect both patrons and staff.”
- “Excellent Webinar, great presentation, with lots of relevant information.”
The webinars were recorded and will be available for 18 months on our Vimeo page. So far, around 190 people have viewed the webinar recordings. We invite you to view the recordings and request that you please complete our short evaluation form after you have viewed them.
With the recent announcement from the American Library Association that the number of reported library challenges nearly doubled in 2022, we want to take a moment to remind our library members of our Intellectual Freedom guide, which is full of resources compiled by MLS, the MA Board of Library Commissioners, the MA Library Association, and the MA School Library Association. MLS is a proud state partner of Unite Against Books Bans, a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
Some of our members, the Mass. Library System, and the Blue Marble Library Blog were recently mentioned in this article by the Cape Cod Times.
Free seeds from Cape Cod libraries? Check out this growing phenomenon.
By Eric Williams