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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Superman Action Comics cover, issue 1

Superman's first appearance in Action Comics #1, released April 1938.1

The Board of Free Public Library Commissioners had a staff of just two people in 1938. Even still, the year's annual report writes that 266 visits were made to libraries across the state while staff also carried out regular office duties. Activities varied and included:

  • Attending 11 trustees' meetings,
  • Making 32 assessments of library services and collections,
  • Giving advice to 10 libraries on making building improvements,
  • Presenting 11 addresses, including talks to students at Simmons College, Emmanuel College, and Springfield Training Class,
  • Participating in the Adult Education Institute and attending 12 other library meetings.2

To this day, the MBLC remains a small state agency committed to providing guidance and services to all four corners of the state. The MBLC and its network of partnerships and alliances help Massachusetts libraries to better serve their communities with support to navigate complex 21st century challenges related to technology and resource sharing, preservation, trustee relationships, communications, building improvements, state aid standards, and much more.

What else happened in 1938?

  • Jerry Siegel created Superman in 1933 and then joined forces with his buddy, illustrator Joe Shuster, to hone the Superman image and story. In April 1938, the predecessor to DC Comics published the first Superman Action Comic. Since then, Superman tales have been told through countless comic books and in novels, TV shows, movies, and even a Broadway play. Stories have been serialized on the radio and acted out in video games. Generations have grown up with Superman, and he remains a pop icon into the 21st century.3

1. [link].
2. Forty-Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Free Public Library Commissioners for the Year Ending November 30, 1938.
3. [link].