Central Massachusetts Regional Library System
Central Massachusetts Regional Library System (CMRLS) was a multitype library system serving 244 academic, public, school and special libraries in 72 central Massachusetts communities. CMRLS was one of six Massachusetts Regional Library Systems. Collectively, CMRLS libraries serve 924,491 people who live, work or study in Central Massachusetts. Founded in 1963, CMRLS began as a unit within the City of Worcester, Massachusetts municipal government and served public libraries exclusively. In 1997 CMRLS became a multitype, independent non-profit organization working with all types of libraries. Nearly all services were provided free of charge, with major funding through a contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Due to the collapase of state funding, CMRLS was merged along with four other Massachusetts Regional Library Systems into the Massachusetts Library System on July 1, 2010.
CMRLS promoted and supported resource sharing, professional development, collaboration, and innovation among all types of libraries in Central Massachusetts. CMRLS services strengthened member libraries and staff, creating a collaborative network that is essential to a high quality and accessible continuum of library services for those who live, work, or study in the region.
Public libraries typically receive less than 2% of municipal funding. Academic libraries fare better, but school libraries much worse. CMRLS helped libraries to use their resources more effectively and serve their clientele better than they could alone. CMRLS' vision was to “create synergy among libraries to enrich the quality of life in Central Massachusetts.”
CMRLS capacity building and system development activities were grouped into three categories: resource sharing and collection support; reference services and support; staff and program development.
In addition, CMRLS ran a library temporary staffing service called BiblioTemps, which was suspended in May 2010 and restored by its successor, the Massachusetts Library System, in 2012.