Virtual Programming Grants

CARES Act funding was used to create grant opportunities for libraries in Massachusetts to increase virtual programming in their communities. Libraries applied for grants to purchase recording equipment including cameras, microphones, and editing software; materials to create crafting and science kits that residents could pick up curbside; and to hire professionals to host events that were available to all Massachusetts residents through the MBLC’s Virtual Events Calendar.

In the Fifth Congressional District, libraries in Framingham, Natick, Waltham, and Wayland received a combined total of $8,901 in these grants.

Summer Distance Learning Grants

Libraries needed to adapt quickly to continue providing summer services that are expected by communities in a safe and accessible manner. To assist them, MBLC provided a total of $117,500 of CARES Act and LSTA funding to libraries that requested it to purchase summer reading tracking software Beanstack. This allowed summer reading to continue while children, teens, and adults were at home.

In addition, LSTA funding was used to support expanding the concept of summer learning in libraries beyond reading. In the Fifth Congressional District, the Waltham Public Library and Cambridge Public Library received a combined $3,245 in Summer Learning grants.

LSTA Direct Grants to Libraries

Massachusetts uses LSTA funding to provide libraries with direct grants to meet the needs of their communities. There were 36 LSTA direct grants totaling $404,305 across the state in 2020.

Below are examples of direct grant funded projects in the Fifth Congressional District:

  • Mind in the Making - Wayland Free Public Library

    Wayland families are busy and overscheduled and have very little downtime to play with their children. Play is incredibly important for healthy early childhood development. As outlined in Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making, it is during play time that children start to develop crucial executive functions, like focus and self-control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, and taking on challenges. Wayland will create a new play area that will offer rotating play environments on five different themes and will be open whenever the Library is open, thus accommodating busy schedules. It will provide an enriching and flexible space in which parents and caregivers can spend precious downtime with their children and engage in developmentally appropriate brain building play.

  • Dig In - Southborough Library

    There is strong local support for garden programming in Southborough. This project will help expand both monthly and seasonal community gardens as well as nature programs at the Library. The outdoor garden spaces will serve as educational initiatives of seed-to-plant growth in action which will benefit a multi-generational Southborough community. Library garden programming will be augmented and expanded to include teenage students, adults, and seniors specifically.