Training Need Analysis Update

MLS is in the process of conducting a training needs analysis to help shape and inform the training services that we will offer over the next few years.  We are working with Dr. Audrey Barbakoff of Co/Lab Capacity to facilitate this training needs analysis.

The first part of our training needs analysis was to conduct an online survey.  We ran the survey from November 30 to December 22, 2023 and received 600 responses.  Dr. Barbakoff is currently analyzing the survey responses and we will provide updates over the coming months. 

Of the individuals who responded to our survey, most worked in public libraries (66.83%), followed by school (20.50%), academic (9.33%), and special (2.33%) libraries.  A significant number were from libraries with service populations under 10,000 (44%), and a majority described their communities as suburban (63.57%).  Most respondents held a full-time position within their library (87%).  Respondents described their position as Librarian or Teacher Librarian (50%), Manager or Supervisor (20.45%), Executive Director (15.81%), Paralibrarian or Paraprofessional (12.37%), and Internal Support (1.37%).  Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!

During the month of February 2024, Dr. Barbakoff will be hosting four focus groups as part of our training needs analysis.  These focus groups will help us gain deeper insights into your training needs.  We will provide information about the results from these focus groups, and additional information from our training needs analysis survey, in future newsletter articles.

Basic Library Techniques - Cataloging

  • MLS is excited to announce that the new Basic Library Techniques in Cataloging is now available! There have been some changes to this course, which we will outline here.

The BLT course is still two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. You must take both to receive a BLT Certificate that can be submitted to the MBLC for either Small Library Director certification or for credit for the BLT series.

  • Part 1 is now an online, asynchronous session that can be taken by ANY library staff member. If you want to learn about some Cataloging basics or need a refresher and do not need to have the BLT certificate, you can take this course! Once enrolled in Part 1, you will have 30 days to complete the course, which will take approximately one hour.You will receive a general course completion certificate at the end with learning time (for those who are earning PD credits).
  • If you want to continue to Part 2 for the BLT Certification, you will need to sign up after completion of Part 1. Priority acceptance will be given to the small library directors who are required to take the Basic Library Techniques classes; all others will be admitted as space becomes available. Part 2 will consist of assignments to be submitted in the MLS Learning Hub, which are then reviewed and provided feedback by an MLS Consultant. After both parts are completed, a BLT certificate will be issued along with instructions for MBLC accreditation.

How will these changes affect the courses going forward?

  • All BLT classes will be online, asynchronous classes. There will be no in-person component or travel to any location.
  • All BLT Part 1 sessions will be available to any MLS library staff who want to take the course. Those who have been through prior iterations of the BLTs can also take Part 1 as a refresher or for continuing education.
  • All Part 2 assignments will be submitted online and reviewed by an MLS Consultant. The Consultant can also provide feedback.
  • Once all the BLT classes have been migrated to the new format, there will be no wait to register for them. They can be accessed at any time and can be taken concurrently.
  • Those looking to receive BLT certification will find they can complete all four classes within a much shorter timeframe than before.

If you are ready to enroll in the Basic Library Techniques in Cataloging, Part 1 is now available!

If you have previously taken a course in the Learning Hub (MLS Learning Management System), proceed to step 2:

To access the Course:

For assistance with registration or enrollment, please contact Hillary Washburn at

iRead 2024: Read, Renew, Repeat

This year’s theme is “Read, Renew, Repeat” with a focus on conservation. In November we hosted an informational webinar on the 2024 iREAD program. If you missed it live you can watch the recording at your convenience (link below). In the webinar we shared how to access the iREAD Resource Guide and how to use your library’s unique voucher code, which can be used to purchase materials from the iREAD store. The iREAD team also announced the 2025 artists and shared how to vote on the 2026 tagline.

Informational webinar recording: MA Libraries Get Ready for 2024 Summer Reading with iREAD

For General summer information click here.

Social Determinants of Environmental Health Series

Join the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) weekly on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 5 – April 2, 2024 for a series of webinars featuring guest speakers discussing a variety of topics surrounding the social determinants of environmental health.

This webinar series explores research-based aspects of environmental health, which may include topics such as: health effects of climate change, indoor/outdoor air quality, natural- and human-caused disasters, toxins in consumer products, and occupational health.

The series includes information on environmental health disparities and populations disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. Each webinar session features expert guest speaker(s), a Q&A period, and may include additional activities and discussions.

This webinar series addresses health information resources and data and/or increasing health equity through information and the NNLM initiative of Environmental Determinants of Health by exploring research-based aspects of environmental determinants of health. The series presentations will include information on populations experiencing the greatest impact of these health disparities.


By the end of this webinar series, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize emerging research about environmental determinants of health.
  • Discuss interventions to reduce environmental health disparities.
  • Identify resources related to environmental health information.

To Register click here.

Welcome to MLS - Jack Martin

The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) is excited to announce that Jack Martin has joined the Consulting & Training Services Department as the Communications Manager. In his role, Jack will develop and manage MLS’ communication and marketing strategies to support the organization’s mission, strategic plan, and core values. 

Jack received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2019. While at UMass, he hosted a weekly radio show at 91.1 FM WMUA and produced a video game news podcast for the Amherst Wire. In 2020, Jack received a Master of Science in professional communication from Clark University. During his time at Clark, Jack worked as an Event and Marketing Intern with the Worcester Cultural Development Division. 

Following his education, Jack joined the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office, where he developed a passion for helping others. Jack served as a Program Assistant, Marketing Officer, and Communications Manager during his time at Treasury. In these roles, he developed internal communication guidelines for staff, coordinated marketing plans to announce new programs, and provided customer service to Massachusetts veterans through the Veterans’ Bonus Division. 

Outside of work, Jack enjoys gaming, running, playing with his cat, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. He hopes to visit every MLB ballpark one day. 

Jack can be reached at For more information about the Consulting & Training Services Department, please visit our resource guide at

Previous articleDecember News and Updates
Next articleFebruary News and Updates
Amanda Fauver is the Membership and BiblioTemps Manager for the Massachusetts Library System. She has worked with MLS for over a decade supporting libraries of all types across the state. Amanda holds a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Suffolk University. Her BA in English is from the University of New Hampshire.