Category Archives: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Center for the Book Funding in Jeopardy @MassBook

Please Write to Your Reps

If you live in Massachusetts (the Bay State!) and are a fan of libraries, literacy, the literary life – or all three –  it is urgent to alert your state representative and senator that funding for the Massachusetts Center for the Book has been eliminated from the state Senate’s FY17 budget and you need them to support the reinstatement of Line 7000-9508 with the Budget Conference Committee.

Representatives can only throw in their support for a small number of causes during Conference Committee time, so it is important that we library advocates make our voices heard early and often!

Sample Email to State Legislators

This is the basic email that I sent to my state legislators on Friday. Feel free to take and use anything from it (except the personal anecdote, of course, as that might seem odd!) in writing your own quick email or making your own easy phone call of support:


I know you are a strong supporter of library legislation. I’m writing now to ask you to support line item 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book during the upcoming budget conference negotiations. After 7000-9508 was zeroed out in the House’s FY17 budget proposal, it was put back in by amendment and passed. After it was zeroed out in the Senate budget, there was very little time to advocate for the amendment to put it back into the budget and the amendment failed. A very similar thing happened with the FY16 budget.

7000-9508 For the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc., chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; provided, that the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Inc. shall continue its work as a public-private partnership ……..$200,000

The Massachusetts Center for the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The Center administers the largest state book awards program in the country. (The announcement of this year’s Massachusetts Book Award finalists is on hold at the moment, due to the need for an all-out advocacy effort related to the FY17 budget.)

The mission of the Massachusetts Center for the Book is to develop, support, and promote cultural programming that will advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach potential of Massachusetts libraries. The Center represents Massachusetts at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. every year, and has just rolled out the only online statewide calendar of cultural and literary events happening in libraries in every region of Massachusetts. Check out the calendar and find out more about the Mass Center for the Book at

The Center also administers one of the largest Letters About Literature awards programs in the country every year, engaging students, grades 4 through 12, in writing letters to authors about a book that was meaningful to them. My first contact with the Center for the Book was when my daughter Molly won an honorable mention for her submission to the Letters About Literature writing contest through the Brockton Public Library and she was invited to the State House for the annual awards presentation with her family, where she also received a citation from Rep. Christine Canavan. The Letters About Literature annual writing contest is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate centers for the book, state libraries and other organizations.

If the Center has to cease planning and collaborations for three months of every year while its staff and board of directors fight for basic funding, its mission is compromised. Your support for 7000-9508 Massachusetts Center for the Book will help persuade the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees that this line item must no longer be skipped over or zeroed out when they create their budget proposals.

Thank you!

How to Contact Your Legislators

Put your zip code in on the State House Web site to find your legislators contact info here.

What is the Massachusetts Center for the Book?

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting, and promoting cultural programming that will advance the cause of books and reading and enhance the outreach potential of Massachusetts libraries. (Mission statement taken from the Center’s Web site)

Where Does MassBook Get Its Funding?

The Center (affectionately known as “MassBook” is supported in large part by an appropriation from the General Court of Massachusetts, through budget line 7000-9508, administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.  MassBook also receives grants from the following institutions and organizations:

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Simmons College School of Library and Information Science

Funding Massachusetts Center for the Book @massbook

This plea for support from the small, hardworking staff and board of the Massachusetts Center for the Book was posted Friday on Facebook, after the devastating news that the Senate’s amended FY17 budget proposal still completely left out state funding for the Center:

The Mass State Senate did not include the line which funds Mass Center for the Book in its final budget. We must now advocate for the line with the budget conference committee.

For the past three years, we have tried to proceed with business as usual while we advocated for our funding, but that is no longer possible.

Until we know if we are going to exist in the coming fiscal year, we must put our book awards announcements on hold.

If you are as frustrated as we are about this annual fight for the survival of Massachusetts Center for the Book — our commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress — will you please write to your state Sen and State Rep to say that you want them to support 7000-9508 during the conference negotiations and that you want them to tell both the House and Senate Ways and Means committees that this line must no longer be simply skipped over, zeroed out, when they create their budget proposals?

62 State Reps supported us in the House budget debate. You can find them here:…/Amendme…/House/1015/OriginalText

7 State Sens supported us in the Senate debate: You can see them here:…/Se…/S4/Amendment/Senate/274/Text

Mass Center for the Book thanks all of those legislators for their hard work to ensure our future. Please help us convince the rest of our legislators that funding for 7000-9508 cannot annually be put in jeopardy. If we have to cease planning and collaborations for three months of every year while we fight for basic funding, our work is compromised.

Thanks as ever for your support and remember, if you want an easy way to get to the contact information for your Reps/Sens you can visit

~ Sharon, Barrie, Ellen, Gretyl, and the Board of Mass Center for the Book

Graphic showing State House with "In Session" textMy thought as I perused the state senate budget amendments: “Why are so many projects that will serve only a single town’s residents or even just a portion of those residents, funded with thousands or even millions of state dollars, while a statewide cultural and literacy organization – our state’s affiliate with the Library of Congress Center for the Book – with an educational mission to serve all ages with outreach to public libraries in every city and town, has to beg for its $250,000 each and every year, and is grateful to get $200,000 to fund its programs?”

If you didn’t get to call your legislators and you live in Massachusetts, the Center for the Book needs you again! Follow MassBook on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.

Thank you to the state representatives and senators who signed on to support the budget amendment for the Center for the Book, including my own state rep, Michelle DuBois, always a champion of libraries! The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners concentrated its advocacy efforts on three senate budget amendments: 285, 286, and 309. Thank you to my state senator, Michael Brady, also a library champion, for signing on to two of them! Unfortunately, only one passed, so more advocacy is needed there, as well.

However, while very important and still underfunded, these budget lines have not been completely zeroed out, as Mass. Center for the Book has.

The Budget Conference Committee will meet privately in the coming days and hammer out the differences between the House and Senate budget proposals. FY17 starts on July 1, so there’s not much time left to get the budget set.

New England Book Blogger Meet-Up @LoryECBR @charlotteslib

Thanks to the organizing efforts of Lory (She’d be great at herding cats!) of The Emerald City Book Review, we had tri-state representation at the New England Book Blogger Meet-Up last Sunday in Boston. Lory came down from New Hampshire and Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library drove up from Rhode Island, and I (like Lory) got to Boston by car and subway.

Reservoir Station
I hadn’t started out on the Green Line in a long time and had to be shown how to insert my Charlie ticket on the train!
Exterior of Carrie Nation
We met at Carrie Nation for brunch, right down the street from the Boston Atheneum, our next stop.
Stairs leading to opening blocked off by red velvet curtains
The Carrie Nation restaurant, modeled after a Prohibition-era speakeasy, has a Cocktail Club in the back.
Asparagus & goat cheese omelette. Delicious!
Prohibition posters and a shoeshine stand
The hallway in the restaurant was full of photos and memorabilia.
The three of us at brunch
Yes, I was the annoying restaurant patron who asked our server to take a picture! L to R, me, Charlotte, and Lory. Not sure why I look like a giant compared to them in this shot!
photo of Lory and Charlotte at the table with books
Of course, we all brought books to exchange. I ended up going home with one more than I brought! #Konmarifail

After brunch, we walked up the block to the Boston Atheneum. The Art & Architecture tour we had hoped to take at 1:00 was filled up weeks in advance, so we just paid $5 each to take a look around the public spots (photography allowed) and the current art exhibit (no photos allowed in there.) I think I’ll do a separate post with my photos from the Atheneum, because I took so many, but here are a few, for now:

After the Atheneum visit, walked through the Granary Burying Ground nearby, where Paul Revere and several other famous Revolutionary figures are buried.

Next, we walked over to Caffè Nero, in case Katie of Bookish Illuminations had been able to meet us there, but no such luck! There were books there, too, though, and would be a nice place to have coffee sometime.

Bookshelves and comfy chairs
Inside Caffe Nero in Boston

Of course, no book blogger meet-up is complete without a visit to a bookstore! Commonwealth Books was the only store in the area open on Sunday. It was a great place to browse in, but not if you’ve got mobility issues, that’s for sure, due to the massive number of bookcases, packed in higgledy-piggledy!

After the visit to Commonwealth Books where (shh, don’t tell my husband) I bought two used books – Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White and The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksander Hemon.

My main contribution to the day was to lug an umbrella with me, thus guaranteeing that the sun would come out and stay out! I had hoped to get more Boston-area book bloggers to join us, including Audra of Unabridged Chick and Amanda of Opinions of a Wolf, but it didn’t work out to meet them in person this time. 🙁

Others who had hoped to come, but couldn’t make it, were:
Melissa of The Bookbinder’s Daughter,
Chris of Wildmoo Books, and
Brian of Babbling Books

We are hoping to have another New England Book Blogger Meet-Up at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 15, and will share details when we have them, in case anyone wants to join us for that!

Thank you, Lory, for a fun day!

Green Line subway train pulling in
After saying our goodbyes, it was back on the Green Line for me, lugging my bags of books!

Read Lory’s New England Book Bloggers Meet-Up recap here!