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 Seventh Congressional District, libraries in Chelsea and Somerville received a combined total of $5,918 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 Seventh Congressional District, the Cambridge Public Library received a $3,245 Summer Learning grant.

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 Seventh Congressional District:

  • Citizenship Corners and Expanded English Language Services - Somerville Public Library

    Somerville has 11,103 foreign-born residents who are not US citizens and 9,395 households in which English is not spoken at home. As federal immigration policies evolve, more Somerville residents are seeking to become citizens. Many, however, have low English proficiency that disqualifies them from enrolling in citizenship classes they need to pass their interview. Local ESOL classes fill quickly and have long waiting lists, and none currently accelerates learning by combining ESOL with civics. Somerville Public Library (SPL)’s Pathways to Citizenship program will train 30 immigrants via a 28-hour combined ESOL/Civics Awareness class, offer four USCIS citizenship workshops to 130 patrons, develop Citizenship Corners in three libraries, provide all SPL staff with Cultural Humility Training, and create and test a Training-of-Trainers program to sustain the ESOL/Civics class with committed volunteer trainers.

  • Protecting Priority Collections - Massachusetts Eye and Ear – Howe Library, Boston

    The Howe Library will improve preservation and access to the collections in the Abraham Pollen Archives by implementing the recommendations from a previous Preservation Needs Assessment. This will improve intellectual control and access to the recently rediscovered, internationally significant, and at-risk medical instrument collection. This project will help the Library provide a safer environment for the Archives and provide increased access to a truly unique special collection, supporting research and engagement from the entire Massachusetts Eye and Ear community, outside researchers, and the general public.