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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


ebook legislative postcard; asks for address and a checkbox to denote support for the library ebook project

The MA eBook Project started in November 2013. To coincide with the MBLC's FY 2015 legislative agenda, librarians and patrons throughout the Commonwealth filled out these postcards to voice their support for eBooks in libraries.

Statewide eBook Pilot Project Launched
The Massachusetts Library System (MLS), in cooperation with its vendor partners - Baker & Taylor and BiblioLabs - announced the launch of the MA eBook Project. Beginning November 21, 2013, 51 libraries began to offer eBooks to their communities for a six-month pilot project to explore different models for eBook lending, different platforms, and user experiences.

The pilot project, involving multi-type libraries, was conceived by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners' (MBLC) Statewide Resource Sharing Committee to respond to growing interest in the Massachusetts library community to explore new models and to expand the reach of eBooks for Massachusetts library users. The automated resource sharing networks in Massachusetts have also been essential partners in their work with pilot libraries and vendors.1

Rob Maier Retires
Robert Maier, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), retired in March 2013. In a career that spanned more than 40 years, Maier's work was instrumental in moving libraries forward and shaping the access and services available to Massachusetts residents through the Commonwealth's libraries.

Throughout his career, Maier learned valuable lessons and experiences that he brought to bear during his decade as director of the MBLC. His first job was as a reference librarian and later branch librarian at the Cranston (Rhode Island) Public Library System, which was working to bring six formerly independent public libraries together. As director of the Bedford Public Library in Massachusetts, Maier capitalized on the opportunity to improve library service through automation. He worked with other area librarians, trustees, and town officials to develop what became the Minuteman Library Network.

Maier came to the MBLC as head of library development in 1991. In 2000, Maier was designated deputy director in addition to his current position. Two years later, Maier was named interim director. Under Maier's direction, the MBLC strengthened the State Aid to Public Libraries program by finding ways to keep it relevant as a force for public library development in a constrained fiscal environment. Support for regional library systems was maintained. State-funded online database offerings were expanded and a sophisticated website and a consumer web portal were created.

During Maier's tenure, the MBLC helped libraries start literacy programs, kept the federal LSTA grant program vibrant, brought the Equal Access Libraries program to Massachusetts, and facilitated five Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant programs supporting public access computing. He also mounted a dynamic marketing effort that engages libraries and library users.2

What else happened in 2013?

  • Pope Benedict resigned as Pope, the first pope to do so voluntarily since 1294.3
  • A bomb is set off at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 250 others.3
  • NSA contractor Edward Snowden released information about dragnet surveillance programs to the media.3
  • The Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the third time in 10 years.3

1. MBLC news release from December 3, 2013 [link].
2. MBLC news release from January 4, 2013 [link].
3. 2013 - Wikipedia entry [link].