Mass Regional Library Systems merging into Mass Library System July 1

Because of a cut to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners FY2011 Regional Library Systems budget, the six Regional Library Systems are being merged into a single entity called the Massachusetts Library System(MLS) on July 1, 2010:

From the MBLC:

“In September 2009, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners received a mandate to reduce projected FY2011 funding to mid 1990s levels at a time when demand for library services is at an all time high. In October 2009, the Board held several budget sessions to gather input from the public and the library community. In addition, the Board received several hundred emails from individuals who expressed concern about maintaining library services in the wake of drastic funding reductions.”

“To examine how to continue to deliver core library services to the entire Commonwealth, the Regional Transition Planning Committee was formed. Library professionals from across the state and from all types of libraries (academic, school, special, and public), from regional library systems, and from the MBLC participated on the committee. The committee developed a report and recommendations which were discussed at the April 1, 2010 Board Meeting. On April 13, 2010 the Board held a special meeting and after several more hours of discussion, it unanimously voted to designate the Massachusetts Library System as the administrative entity to provide regional services to libraries and residents beginning July 1, 2010.”

From the Transition Planning Committee final report:

In the course of its first two meetings the Transition Team determined that the distinction between core and second tier services was not useful. Through discussion it decided that youth services should be viewed as one of the focuses of continuing education and advisory service, and not as a separate service. Cooperative purchasing, MassCat and research & development were added to the list of services to be sustained. The statewide summer reading program is viewed as an activity under cooperative purchasing. Advocacy is considered to be built into the work of MLS and is not called out as a separate service. Home on the Web (a LSTA-funded Central Region project that provides web sites for 15 member libraries) will receive support for the first 6 months of FY2011 to permit the libraries to make alternate arrangements.”

“The Transition Team has made every effort to preserve core services for all member libraries, however the only service that will be entirely sustained at its current level in FY2011 is delivery. Budget limitations will require that every other service be provided at a reduced level and some services cannot be sustained at all. The following services will not be provided in FY2011:”
• Bibliotemps
• Digital library support
• Fiscal Agent Work (Digital Commonwealth, ARC)
• Home on the Web (not supported after December 2010)
• Interlibrary Loan Net Lender Offset
• Interlibrary Loan Return Shipping
• Performer Directory
• Physical Presence in Each Region
• Regional Reference Centers
• Supplemental Deposit Collections

MLS will have a staff of about 22 FTE in FY2011 (a reduction from about 45 in FY2010). MLS will have an executive director, an assistant director, and a business manager. There will be 8-10 professional advisory positions responsible for continuing education and advisory services in the areas of library management, youth services, technology and MassCat. There will be 3 administrative support staff, and the current Western Region drivers and sorters will work for MLS in FY2011. Some continuing education and advisory services will be provided under contractual arrangements with outside providers.”

For more info on the Regional Transition Planning Committee Final Report:

Info on the MBLC press release on the formation of the Massachusetts Library System:

23 Regional Staff Members are going to lose their jobs because of this consolidation. Interlibrary Loan is going to be affected because there will be fewer ILL centers. I know that one library network ILL person is going to be let go on June 30, 2010. Sigh

There’s a new website called when one library is in trouble, all libraries are in trouble!
which is about libraries facing problems across the country. It’s being hosted by Blake Carver and

For more info:

More news when I have it.

Posted by Rich

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