Mass Center for the Book

23 Bradford St
Concord, MA 01742

Date Posted:
November 08, 2018

Eastern Massachusetts



Strategic Planning Consultant


Massachusetts Center for the Book seeks a Consultant who can help the Board define and develop the tasks to perform a streamlined and effective planning process. The Board expects to be active participants in the process and seeks guidance and technical assistance from the Consultant.

The planning process will include the following:

· Development of a workplan and timeline (including roles, tasks, deliverables, deadlines, meetings, decision-making and approval processes)

· Review of the notes from (1) SWOT analysis completed by Board and (2) Focus Groups held by Center Staff with the library community in Summer 2017 and Spring 2018.

· Identification of stakeholders and method(s) for gaining their input

o Creating methods and tools for gathering data from key stakeholders

o Consulting with Center board on agendas, interview questions, or design of survey about Center programs, services, and priorities

Outcomes from this process should include (1) Identification of up to 5 Goals with reasonable and well-defined Objectives, including a timeline for Implementation, (2) Draft plan for Board Review, with a follow-up edit and shorter separate document for external dissemination to stakeholder community, (3) Strategy for use of the plan to help funders and stakeholders understand the mission, goals, and objectives of the Center, and (4) Development of an easy system for regular monitoring, reviewing and adjusting the plan as needed.


Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) was established in CY1999 and formally chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congressin January 2000. It now operates as 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.

MCB, initially organized as a collaborative project of library, cultural, and educational organizations, MCB became an independent 501(c) 3 in FY2006, and in FY2015 secured a small line-item in the Massachusetts budget.

Current Activity

MCB administers several core programs and and participates in several annual events of note. Two of these programs were launched in the Center’s first year of operations (2000-2001):

· Massachusetts Book Awards, an annual series of awards which recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by Commonwealth residents. Center staff and various volunteers administer all aspects of this program. All funders have withdrawn from this program, and the Center has been forced to fund the awards from operating funds since July 2014.

· Letters About Literature, a program which invites young readers in Grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors about books that have made an impact on them. This program is offered in collaboration with the Library of Congress (LOC) and the network of state centers for the book. State winners move on to national competition. A small LOC grant offsets most direct expenses for LAL.

Other Projects: LOC and State-Center Collaborations

· National Book Festival, an annual festival of the Library of Congress, with state centers for the book responsible for programming booths in the “Parade of States” ( An IMLS grant, distributed through COSLA, offsets nearly all expenses for this initiative.

· Route One Reads, an annual multi-state reading promotion of the East Coast State Centers for the Book (

Other Projects: MCB Initiatives

· Commonwealth Events Calendar, a listing of events and programming happening in libraries across Massachusetts

· Mass Book Trails,a native app for developing statewide and local trails and tours of the book community of Massachusetts (offered for use to Mass libraries statewide)

· Outreach and Promotion in the Massachusetts Book Community through participation in commonwealth book festivals (Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Pioneer Valley, and others), library conferences (MLA, MSLA, NELA), and through social media ( and @MassBook)

· Literacy and literary programming for Massachusetts readers to lay the foundations for lifelong reading and to promote books and reading in surprising places


The Center is staffed by a full-time Executive Director (appointed on a part-time basis at the Center’s founding in Nov 1999). A Communications/Program Associate is employed for up to 60 hours per month. MCB has also hired college interns for special projects and contracts out for some services. A small office is currently maintained in West Concord, MA, with a storage area nearby in Maynard.

Funding for the Center has been unstable for most of the Center’s history. In recent years, the instability has not only jeopardized innovation and growth but also affected the Center’s ability to maintain its legacy and flagship programs. While MCB does receive line-item funding, the original appropriation was only 50% of the initial (and modest) ask. Funding of the line-item has been stalled at 80% of the FY14 request since FY16. Delays in funding of the line-item have ranged from one to five months as the legislature relitigates the appropriation in every budget. Beyond the vagaries of legislative approval, the relationship between MCB and MBLC, which administers the Center line-item, has not been smooth. Creating a supportive environment in which MCB can operate is one of the Board’s short-term goals.

The Center is undertaking a Strategic Planning Initiative, focusing on the next 3 to 5 years. The plan will address (1) organizational and programmatic vision and priorities for the coming 3 to 5 years and (2) the Center’s capacity for private fundraising or seeking new grants to support growth. The Center wishes to be nimble, creative and entrepreneurial, and the plan should reflect this spirit. The emphasis will be on developing a strategy for stabilizing the funding of the Center as well as adjusting and/or alteringthe Center’s relationship with its state funding authority.

Planning Committee
Krista McLeod, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, Chair of Planning Committee
Em Claire Knowles, Simmons University, Clerk
Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director
James Wald, School of Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College, Chair of Board

Proposed Schedule

January/February 2019 – Review documents, conduct selected interviews, design survey instrument
March/April 2019 – Conduct Survey, Compile results, and Analyze other inputs.
May 2019 -- Lead planning session for Board. Draft and Finalize Plan
June – Finalize Plan for Board adoption


The Center has been able to budget $5,000 in its current fiscal year for the planning process and so expects to receive inquiries which include a realistic and efficient work plan with clear delineations of responsibility between Board and Consultant so as to calibrate activity and compensation in a realistic fashion.


Given the scope of the project outlined above, the Center seeks proposals from consultants with experience in strategic planning for small non-profits.

How To Apply:

Prospective consultants are asked to review the tasks outlined above and present a brief proposal detailing a work plan to achieve the goal of having a written plan by June 2019. Again, the Consultant is not expected to perform all tasks, but to guide the planning process, assist the Board with assigning tasks, draft and critique the survey instrument, and oversee the production of the final plan document.

The proposal should include the following: (1) Cover letter of interest, (2) Outline of workplan/timeline for entire project, (3) Resume, and (4) References of organizations with which you have facilitated strategic planning.

Interested parties should submit a proposal with budget by December 15, 2018. Direct proposals (email attachment and/or file transfer preferred) to the attention of the Center’s Executive Director:

Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director
Mass Center for the Book
23 Bradford St
Concord, MA 01742
617-872-3718 (office)

Apply by:
December 15, 2018
About this Organization:
The Massachusetts Center for the Book is a public-private partnership, chartered as the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which develops, supports, and promotes cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.