Friday, June 18, 2010

Massachusetts Library System (MLS) Update

The following message was posted to the WMRLS email discussion list on July 18, 2010

On July 1st the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) will begin operations. All regional library services will be delivered by this new organization. Members of the six former regions will automatically become members of MLS as a result of the merger that has been taking place over the past several months.

This is a sad time as we wish the best to many of our regional colleagues who will not be continuing with the new organization due to budget constraints. We will miss them. They deserve our thanks for the stellar work they have done to allow member libraries to be successful and thrive. And those of us in the regional library systems appreciate the support of our members during this difficult time.

Now it is time to look to the future. We will be developing MLS to continue this important work for all libraries in Massachusetts. Granted our budget and staffing levels are smaller. We will need to take advantage of the streamlined administration designed by the Regional Transition Planning Team and the MLS Executive Board to build an efficient service center and fulfill the MLS mission:

The Massachusetts Library System, a state-supported collaborative, fosters cooperation, communication, innovation, and sharing among member libraries of all types. The MLS promotes equitable access to excellent library services and resources for all who live, work, or study in Massachusetts.

MLS headquarters will be located at 135 Beaver Street in Waltham. We will also maintain an office at 4 Sandy Lane, Whately. You may know these locations as the current headquarters of the Metrowest and Western Massachusetts Library Systems. The other regional offices will be closed in order to reduce operating costs.

MLS Contact Information as of July 1, 2010:

781-398-1819 – We will establish a toll free number too. - This site is live and already includes some information about MLS

MLS will use a new email broadcast tool. Official statewide announcements from MLS will be sent from This mailing list is broadcast only. Recipients can respond to the sender but not to the entire list. We will provide sign up information. If you are currently subscribed to a regional listserv, this new list will include your email address.

The "allregions" listserv will remain available for communications among members.

We will be posting additional phone numbers and email addresses as they are established.

MLS Core Services will include:

Mediated Interlibrary Loan and Journal Article Document Delivery
Continuing Education
Advisory and Consulting Services
Online Content, e.g., databases
Purchasing Cooperatives
Summer Reading Program

Delivery Services will be provided in a familiar way. Former WMRLS members will continue to be served by the same delivery personnel and a small amount of contract work. The current provider, Eastern Carrier, will serve the central region. Eastern Connection will continue to serve both the metrowest and northeast regions. The southeastern and Boston regions will be served by Optima. This will be a change for the Boston region.

Mediated interlibrary loan will be provided by the Thomas Crane Memorial Library in Quincy and the Wellesley Free Library. Libraries will be served by their current provider. The Boston Public Library will continue to provide journal article document delivery service.

MLS staff will begin planning continuing education programs, advisory services, and next year's summer reading program in July. Watch our web site for announcements.

Some of the six regions are renewing their licenses for online content for fy2011. While MLS will not be directly involved in these services, we need to know if you face any issues.

Purchasing cooperative information is being issued by the six regions. MLS will later consolidate this information on our site.

MassCat, a shared integrated library system with about 80 members, will continue as a service of MLS.

MLS will provide many opportunities for members to participate in governance and in providing advice and feedback to assist us in meeting your libraries' needs. I encourage you to participate and to stay in touch with us and let us know your thoughts about our services.

By Greg Pronevitz, MLS Executive Director designee - 888-326-7772 – until June 30th - 781-398-1819 on July 1st

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