Skip to Main Content

Basic Library Techniques: Home

Class materials and resources for those participating in Basic Library Techniques courses

Next Session

Fall 2023

To be informed of the next BLT classes, please join our announcement list below.

BLT Announcement List

Click here to sign up for the BLT Announcement List.

Search the MLS Professional Collection!


The Basic Library Techniques (BLT) classes are required for Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) certification of libraries serving populations under 10,000, if the librarian does not have a Masters in Library/Information Science degree. Other library positions may attend the BLT classes if space is available.

PLEASE NOTE: participants must be currently employed (paid, not volunteer) at a Massachusetts library to register.

The BLTs are a series of four classes:  Administration, Cataloging, Collection Development & Management, and Reference.

BLT classes consist of two sessions: an online, self-paced class for 3-4 weeks, then attendance at one in-person session for assignment review and further discussion. Both sessions must be completed to receive a certificate in that topic.

BLTs are still being held once per MLS CE period (spring & fall), but frequency may change once a sustainability plan is created for future offerings. 

Massachusetts State Requirements

The Basic Library Techniques (BLT) are a group of four special training courses designed for public library directors who do not have a master of library science degree. The intent of the BLT program is to provide practical training in library administration, reference, cataloging and materials selection.

BLTs are required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (MGL Ch. 78 Section 22) and overseen by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The Massachusetts Library System administers the courses. Upon completion, participants must apply to the MA Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for certification. The MBLC issues certificates for the completion of the Basic Library Techniques. 

The BLT requirement to receive State Aid to Public Libraries applies only to municipalities with a population under 10,000, and within that group, only to library directors who do not have a master of library science degree. Currently library directors taking classes for certification have five (5) years to complete the classes. There is no time requirement for other library staff taking BLT classes. 


Profile Photo
Kristi Chadwick
MLS - Northampton
243 King St. Ste. 250
Northampton, MA 01060
508-357-2121 x117