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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Boston Public Library drawing postcard

Boston Public Library postcard, circa 1930s.

The Board of Free Public Library Commissioners developed and maintained a lending library for libraries across the state. It consisted of three collections: the general collection of adult non-fiction, books for foreign-born readers in 32 languages, and books for elementary school students. The total number of circulating books for 1935 was 22,473; eighty percent of the public libraries in the state borrowed or more items in that year.1

Today, the MBLC no longer has a lending library in the conventional sense, aside from its professional collection. However, the Agency financially supports a strong interlibrary loan program and robust delivery system managed by the Massachusetts Public Library System (MLS). With the cooperation of all types of Massachusetts libraries, print and non-print materials are shared across the state.

MBLC and MLS partnered to launch the MA eBook Project, a pilot project providing access to eBooks on a statewide level. In addition, the Boston Public Library, as the Library for the Commonwealth, makes a wealth of collections, including eBooks, available free of charge to Massachusetts residents.

What else happened in 1935?

  • On opening day at Braves Field, the aging baseball icon Babe Ruth proved his worth when he singled off Giants ace pitcher Carl Hubbell and helped to win the game for Boston (4-2). Despite the strong start, the rest of his final season went downhill quickly. In June, after his 714 career home run, the Babe officially announced his retirement.2

Boston Public Library postcard: source unknown, retrieved 06/10/2015 [link].
1. Forty-Fifth Annual Report of the Board of Free Public Library Commissioners for the Year Ending November 30, 1935.
2. [link].