Leominster Public Library (Photo courtesy Library Land Project)

The Library Land Project announced on Oct. 22 that it has received its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS and formed a board of directors.

These two developments will help further the project’s mission to explore, document and promote public libraries in order to educate people about the important role these institutions play in our communities.

Founders Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti met at the Newton Free Library and launched the first Library Legislative Day in March 2019.

“We came to appreciate what incredible ‘opportunity engines’ libraries are in our communities,” said Peverill-Conti, the project’s executive director. “Sadly, many people have wildly outdated perceptions of these institutions. We want to update and expand the way people think of public libraries.”

Joining Peverill-Conti and Zand on the Board of Directors are Monique Byrne, Eric Davies, Sandy Ho and Debra Spratt, director of the Lawrence Library in Pepperell.

“Since late 2017, the Library Land Project has visited almost 300 libraries across Massachusetts … and traveled around the country to visit, learn and document,” said Zand, the project’s president. “The common thread is the energy and innovation we see in these public ‘palaces’ of knowledge, service and inspiration.”

Peverill-Conti and Zand said libraries have an important role to play in strengthening and supporting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and amid calls for racial justice. Davies said libraries play a key role in “championing facts and science [and] serving as a glue that can bond together diverse communities.”

The Library Land Project’s objectives include:
• Visit, evaluate and meet with library directors, workers and patrons on an ongoing basis
• Document these experiences, conversations, research, library lore and more in reports, photographs, articles and other media
• Educate the public through its website, social media channels (Instagram, Facebook), media relations, partnerships, and public appearances

The Library Land Project has met with members of the Legislative Library Caucus, MassHire, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissions, Massachusetts Library System, the Massachusetts Library Association and other organizations.

The project hopes its efforts will result in greater financial support for public libraries. The project offers a range of services intended to help public libraries engage more successfully with their patrons and communities, including consulting, strategic planning, custom content development, original research, grant writing and speaking.

The Library Land Project is starting fundraising efforts to expand its work.