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Consulting and Training Services: BLT Series

Welcome to Consulting and Training Services at the Massachusetts Library System. On this page, you'll find info about our staff, our services, and links to guides about classes, topics, and services we offer.

Next Session

Available Courses

  • Cataloging Part 1
  • Cataloging Part 2
  • Administration Part 1
  • Administration Part 2

Coming Next

  • Materials Selection and Management: Parts 1 and 2
  • Reference: Parts 1 and 2

To access our current classes, or to be informed of the next BLT class available, please join our announcement list below.

BLT Announcement List

Click here to sign up for the BLT Announcement List.

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What is the BLT Series?

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 enroll as desired.

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

BLT Courses

The BLT series consists of four courses: Administration, Cataloging, Materials Selection and Management, and Reference. The full series is currently being transitioned into online, asynchronous courses consisting of two sessions:

Part 1

This online, asynchronous session is open to all library staff members. It offers an overview of administrative basics and serves as a valuable refresher. The course takes approximately one hour to complete, and participants have 30 days from enrollment to finish it. A general course completion certificate will be provided, indicating the learning time for those seeking professional development credits.

Part 2

After completing Part 1, participants can enroll in Part 2 for BLT Certification. Priority is given to required small library directors, with others admitted as space allows. Part 2 involves submitting assignments online for review by an MLS Consultant using a standard rubric. Upon successful completion of both parts, a BLT certificate will be issued.

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. 


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Hillary Washburn
MLS - Northampton
243 King St. Ste. 250
Northampton, MA 01060
508-357-2121 x326