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
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.
stakeholders and method(s) for gaining their input
and tools for gathering data from key stakeholders
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
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funders have withdrawn from this program, and the Center has been forced to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
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” (http://loc.gov/bookfest).
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 (http://route1reads.org)
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 (http://facebook.com/masscenterforthebook and @MassBook)
Literacy and literary programming for Massachusetts readers to lay
the foundations for lifelong reading and to promote books and reading in
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
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
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.