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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Newton Library after the Blizzard of 1978

The Newton Library after the Blizzard of 19781

A new library opened at the Norfolk County House of Correction. The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on November 19, 1978, marking one of the first such projects nationwide and certainly a first in Massachusetts. The prison library concept is not new, but this was the first time a cooperative effort was been made to establish such a facility.2

The BLC issued new regulations clarifying annual report procedures for public libraries. Annual reports would now be collected by the BLC to determine whether the standards libraries must meet for direct state aid grants were fair and adequate, and whether or not libraries were able to adhere to these standards. The information gathered would also be useful to local libraries to determine how they measure up to libraries in towns of equal size.2

TODAY: Public library directors can now report data for circulation, demographics, staffing, and more via LibPas, a public library statistics reporting tool from Counting Opinions. Statewide reports are readily available via the MBLC's website.

What else happened in 1978?

  • The median household income in current dollars was $15,064.3
  • Sony introduced the Walkman, the first portable stereo.3
  • Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born at Oldham Hospital in London.3

1. Digital Commonwealth [link].
2. MBLC newsletters, 1978.
3. [link].