Friday, April 27, 2012

Accessing BPL Services - WMLA Spring Meeting in Stockbridge

Michael Colford, Director of Library Services – Boston Public Library (BPL), and Laura Imrscher, Collection Development Manager – BPL, presented a new model for services from the BPL at the Western MA Library Advocates Spring Meeting on Thursday, April 12, 2012.  Their presentation on the new 3 pronged model emphasized a truly "digital commonwealth" library, statewide reference and research, and statewide collection development and access.  A partnership with The Digital Commonwealth (DC) will provide BPL a platform for ongoing digitization projects and archiving.  A grant from LSTA to fund a feasibility study project to aid local libraries and institutions with digitization projects is underway.  BPL is accepting applications for the 2nd year of the project.  The DC has the organizational structure with little money while BPL has the funding ability and technological requirements to offer these services.

BPL has subscribed to Overdrive for audio and e-book access with limited video as well.  The biggest problem with e-books is the refusal of the 6 largest publishers to sell to libraries.  BPL is also launching a new online catalog NEWCAT developed by BiblioCommons/Toronto.  ILLiad is the journal article delivery service to patrons and can be initiated by the patron.  Anyone living or going to school in Massachusetts can obtain a BPL library card online which is good for 3 years.  BPL also intends to revitalize 24/7 reference service.  Laura emphasized BPL’s collection development aspirations and ease of access to online BPL services.   
After a brief break, President Eric Poulin chaired the Business Meeting.  Eric reported on activities of the Board in the past several months and plans for the future.  Greg Pronevitz, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Library System, gave an update on activities and lead a lively discussion with attendees.  Minutes of the meeting will appear soon on the WMLA website.   

Representative 'Smitty' Pignatelli (Lenox) attended the program and part of the business meeting.  He is very pleased at the level of advocacy and cooperation in western Massachusetts and encouraged libraries to continue their participation in WMLA programs and activities.  He is enthusiastic about the resources that BPL is making available to libraries and users throughout the Commonwealth.  He is also pleased to see that the MLS is working together with WMLA and western libraries to protect and improve services.

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