Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (est.1890) is a state agency that supports libraries in Massachusetts. The governor appoints each commissioner. The current board consists of librarians, academics and library trustees: Carol B. Caro, Mary Ann Cluggish, George T. Comeau, Mary Kronholm, Frank Murphy, Roland Ochsenbein, Janine Resnik, Gregory J. Shesko, and Alice M. Welch.
The agency originated as the Massachusetts Free Public Library Commission "to encourage the establishment of libraries by direct aid and to give advice relating to the maintenance and administration of libraries" in Massachusetts. It was the first of its kind in the United States. In 1890, the board consisted of Caleb Benjamin Tillinghast, Samuel Swett Green, Henry Stedman Nourse, Elizabeth Putnam Sohier, and Anna E. Ticknor. Elizabeth Putnam Sohier and Anna Eliot Ticknor became the first women appointed to a United States state library agency when they were appointed to the agency in 1890. Other early members of the commission included Mabel Simpkins Agassiz, Anna Sears Amory, Deloraine P. Corey.
In its first years of existence, the board accomplished significant fulfillment of its mission. In 1890 "105 towns in the Commonwealth were without a free public library. Twenty years later, in 1910, every city and town, with one exception, had a library of its own."
The name of the agency changed in 1952 from the "Massachusetts Board of Free Public Library Commissioners" to the "Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners." As of the 1990s it was "responsible for library development and resource sharing." As of 2010, "the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board also strives to provide every resident of the Commonwealth with full and equal access to library information resources regardless of geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability, or cultural background." It operates from offices in Boston's North End.
- Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. "About MBLC: Commissioners". Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Sanborn. League of Library Commissions Handbook. Chicago: American Library Association Publishing Board, 1915. Google books
- An act to promote the establishment and efficiency of free public libraries. Massachusetts, Acts of 1890, Chapter 347.
- Paula Watson. "Valleys without sunsets: women's clubs and traveling libraries." In: Robert S. Freeman, David M. Hovde, eds. Libraries to the people: histories of outreach. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2003
- Samuel S. Shaw. Memoir of Henry S. Nourse. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 18 (1903 - 1904)
- For more information on Sohier, see: Danton, ed. Pioneering Leaders in Librarianship: First Series. Chicago: American Library Association, 1953.
- Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. 1898, 1908
- "Newbury, the exception, appropriates money toward the support of the Newburyport library and enjoys its rights and privileges." cf. Sanborn. League of Library Commissions Handbook. Chicago: American Library Association Publishing Board, 1915.
- "By amendments to Massachusetts library legislation provided under Chapter 585 of the Acts and Resolves of 1952," cf. Library Journal 77, 1952
- Ethel Himmel. "State library agencies in the United States." Encyclopedia of library history. Taylor & Francis, 1994
- MBLC website. Retrieved 2010-12-29
Issued by the Commission
- Annual reports. v.1-8 (1891-1898); v.9 (1899); v.10-18 (1900-1908); v.19-24 (1909-1914); v.25-27 (1915-1917); v.28-51 (1918-1940); 1998-present.
- C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1891.
- General library legislation of Massachusetts, [1798-1890]. ca.1891.
- Henry Stedman Nourse, ed. Free public libraries of Massachusetts. 9th Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1899. Google books
- Zaidee Brown. Directions for the librarian of a small library, rev. ed. 1911.
- John Foster Carr. What the library can do for our foreign-born. 1913
- Alice G. Chandler. Country library versus the donor and the architect. Boston: 1915.
- Jane Maud Campbell. Selected list of Russian books. Compiled for the Massachusetts Free Public Library Commission. American Library Association Publishing Board, 1916.
- Free public library buildings of Massachusetts: a roll of honor, 1918. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1919
About the Commission
- "Books for the masses: success of free libraries in Massachusetts; their establishment encouraged by gift of money from the state - only 53 towns unprovided - work of the Free Library Commission." New York Times, Jan. 30, 1893
- Thurston Taylor. Review of Verschoor and Bundy's Regional Library Systems Development in Massachusetts: A Report of an Investigation with Recommendations (Boston: Massachusetts Division of Library Extension, 1963). In: Library Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1965), pp. 68–69.
- Patricia Nealon. Libraries welcome release of state funds; cramped, aging facilities await work. Boston Globe, Aug 26, 1990. pg. 1
- Sandy Coleman. Underfunded libraries losing grants Unable to meet state budget standards, towns face decertification and loss of aid. Boston Globe, Feb 16, 1992. pg. 1
- Alison O'Leary Murray. Libraries await decisions by state board. Boston Globe, Jan 28, 2007. pg. 4
- Kathleen Burge. State's grants elude libraries; Some did, some couldn't; Communities find matching funds are casualties of recession economy. Boston Globe, Nov 18, 2010. pg. 1
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