Grants boost library technology
- By Nicholas Morehead
- Jul 27, 2001
Massachusetts libraries are getting more than $2.4 million in grants to
improve their technology and accessibility.
The state's Board of Library Commissioners (www.mlin.lib.ma.us)
is dispensing the federal money to more than 80 public, academic, school,
regional and special libraries across the state. The money will fund such
projects as digitizing historical resources, upgrading network systems and
increasing access for people with disabilities.
The money comes from the national Institute of Museum and Library Services
(www.imls.gov), which is mandated under the 1996 Federal
Library Services and Technology Act to promote access to learning and information
resources for all types of libraries and for people of all ages.
"We look for projects that really supplement what a library is supposed
to do, especially projects that link libraries with the greater community
to improve literacy, or link different types of libraries together though
a computer network, or use funds as seed money to create new community-oriented
projects," said David Gray, the board's director of communications.
Boston Public Library, for example, is receiving a grant to digitize
its collection of images of city and state landmarks, combining them with
other digital databases from libraries and institutions around the state.
Public libraries in Palmer and Saugus received grants to participate
in the Homework Zone project, which helps public libraries and schools communicate
so librarians know what books might be in demand, based on school curriculums.
The board works with the State Advisory Council on Libraries to decide
who gets the money. The advisory council is made up of library users, business
professionals, trustees and librarians.
Gray said the board tries to provide money to as many of the state's
1,600 libraries as possible.