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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Plainville Public Library, built in 1988

The Plainville Public Library's building opened in 1988.
(Photo credit: Josh Fecteau [link])

TODAY: The MBLC works to help libraries provide literacy and ESOL programming for their patrons and maintains a statewide directory of these programs.
In 1988: On March 21, Governor Dukakis announced the formation of the Commonwealth Literacy Corps during a press conference held at the Cambridge Public Library. Coordinated by the MBLC and literacy campaign director Gerard D'Amico, the event promoted 46 public libraries throughout the state that would serve as Library Literacy Resource Centers.

Statistics from 1988 showed that more than 500,000 Massachusetts residents had reading and writing skills below the fourth grade level. The governor's campaign aimed to provide well-trained and well-supervised volunteers to "start a new chapter in somebody's life." Participating libraries received a small grant to assist with collection development and implementing literacy and basic education programs.1

What else happened in 1988?

  • February 24: The Supreme Court sided with Hustler Magazine in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, overturning a lower court's decision to award Falwell $200,000 for defamation. The case was featured prominently in the 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt.2
  • November 8: George H.W. Bush was elected president over Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis; Bush was the first standing vice president to be elected to the office in 152 years.2
  • December 21: Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing a total of 270 people. In 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took responsibility for the bombing.2

1. MBLC Notes, March/April 1988.
2. 1988 - Wikipedia entry [link].