Most days, you’ll find me sitting behind the Reference Desk here at AFL. I’m always happy to be there to help you tackle technology troubles, find just the right book for research or entertainment, or to share some details about the history of our building. But earlier this week, I temporarily abandoned my post to take a field trip!
I joined our Assistant Director, Jessica Block, at the State House to participate in Library Legislative Day. Co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Association and the Massachusetts School Library Association, Legislative Day is an annual event for librarians, library trustees, and friends from around the Commonwealth to gather and advocate for increased state library funding. The day was a chance for us to hear from state officials and librarians about the important programs and services that are supported by this funding. It also provided the opportunity to sit alongside some other librarians with State Senator Walter Timility to share stories about our communities. Jessica and I shared information about a number of AFL services, including Babytime and our growing home delivery program.
Enjoying some sun on the balcony with Senator Timilty
Why did we think it was important to attend? What exactly does state library funding provide? If you’ve ever picked up an item at AFL that came from another library in the SAILS network (or even from a Massachusetts library outside of the network), you can thank state library funding. The delivery system that allows us to bring materials from other libraries to you is funded by the state. Additionally, state funding provides:
access to databases including Vocations and Careers, Opposing Viewpoints, and archives of The Boston Globe, among many others. To put it plainly, it would be cost prohibitive for AFL to offer even one of these databases. State library funding provides access to these resources for patrons throughout the Commonwealth. Stop by our Research page to see everything that’s available just a click away with your library card.
access to digital reading materials. State funding supports library networks, including SAILS, in purchasing licenses for eBooks and audiobooks to meet the needs of increased digital readership.
resources through the Boston Public Library that are available to all Massachusetts residents
And that’s just some of the ways state funding supports libraries and their patrons throughout the Commonwealth!
Stained glass in the ceiling of Memorial Hall and flags hanging in the Great Hall at the Massachusetts State House
Although our visit was brief, we were lucky enough to have a bit of time to take in some of the art, architecture, and history at the State House. As librarians, we’re suckers for the chance to learn something new! We loved exploring Memorial Hall (if you’re not able to visit in person - which we highly recommend - check out the virtual tour) and were delighted to find a bust of Governor Oliver Ames nearby. We’re never too far away from some Easton history!
Bust of Governor Oliver Ames, nephew of AFL’s original benefactor
Overall, it was an interesting and informative day. But even though I now know my way around the State House (sort of) and learned a great deal from my fellow library lovers, I’m happiest back with all of you at AFL. If you want to learn more about what’s available at libraries throughout the state, visit Massachusetts Libraries. And if you aren’t already, be sure that you’re subscribed to AFL’s newsletters and following us on Facebook or Instagram for all the latest news!