CW MARS Consortium Moves Towards Fine Free

CW MARS continues to embrace our core values of equity, diversity and access by working towards eliminating overdue fines for patrons of all member libraries.  We recognize that overdue fines present an economic barrier to the access of library materials and services and can be a form of social inequity. At a recent governance meeting, our member libraries voted to remove overdue fines from our standard circulation policies.  This means that any new library wishing to join the consortium must not charge overdue fines on circulating items (there are a few exceptions allowed for special items like equipment, museum passes, hotspots, etc). Our current member libraries are working toward removing overdue fines for their patrons.  As of today, over 85% of our libraries are fine free, 84% of our items are fine free, and 86% of all CW MARS patrons are not being charged fines on overdue items. 


We are excited to welcome two new member libraries this fiscal year!  The Hinsdale Public Library in Hinsdale, MA joined CW MARS in July. Hinsdale is a small, rural hill town community located in Berkshire County. The current population is approximately 1900. The Middlefield Public Library in Middlefield, MA also joined CW MARS this summer.    Middlefield is a small, rural town, located in Hampshire County.  The current population is approximately 385. Over the past three years, nine small libraries have joined the CW MARS consortium.  Residents of those communities are now able to more easily access the millions of items held by our 150+ members.  Patrons can place holds via our online catalog and/or mobile app and pickup and return items at any CW MARS library.  


A new catalog experience is coming soon! An updated, modern, mobile-friendly version of the catalog will be here April 19, 2022 . In preparation for the upgrade, the system will be unavailable from Saturday evening April 16 through Monday April 18. While most of what you know already about the catalog will continue to be true after the upgrade, you may find certain buttons or options have moved a little. To help prepare, we have updated all the helpful documentation available at : Searching and Browsing the Catalog | Placing and Managing Holds My Account | My Lists Here are some screenshots to get you excited for the changes! Hint: Click an image to see a larger version.


   CW MARS Announces Over TWO Million eBook and Audiobook Checkouts  in 2021. CW MARS continues to see increases in usage of electronic content. 2021 reached a record-breaking two million digital book checkouts. For CW MARS, this milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of library digital lending of ebooks and audiobooks, especially after a prolonged period of building closures due to the global pandemic. CW MARS, a consortium consisting of 155 libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts, is one of 121 public library systems worldwide that surpassed one million checkouts (complete list here ). CW MARS member libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years through the award-winning Libby app , the library reading app created by OverDrive . Reader interest and usage has grown every year. Member libraries with the highest electronic circulation include Worcester Public Library, Shrewsbury Public Library, Jones Library in A


The top ten highest circulating books in CW MARS for 2021 (includes checkouts on physical books, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos) are: The Four Winds, The Midnight Library, Anxious People, The Vanishing Half, The Guest List, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, News of the World, Time for Mercy, Golden Girl, and The Last Thing He Told Me. 2021 saw a record breaking over 2 million  checkouts from our CW MARS OverDrive digital catalog ! For a more detailed top ten lists by format (physical v electronic), see the TOP TITLES IN 2021 : Top 10 Borrowed Titles (Physical Items) Top 10 Most Requested Titles (Physical Items) Top 10 Borrowed e-Books (OverDrive) Top 10 Borrowed e-Audio (OverDrive)

CW MARS Rolls Out New eCard to Help Promote Digital Equity

  CW MARS recently rolled out an electronic library card (eCard) to allow patrons without a library card fast access to electronic collections. The CW MARS eCard makes library content more accessible for patrons who have difficulty physically getting to the library or who primarily borrow electronic content.  “We want to make sure all residents have access to library content,” said CW MARS Executive Director Jeanette Lundgren. “The eCard aims to do just that by allowing our patrons without library cards to quickly access library content from the comfort of their own home.” eCards give our patrons access to over 170,000 shared eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines as well as access to their local library's eContent.   During the pandemic, our libraries have seen an increase in the usage of electronic materials. CW MARS continues to see checkouts of electronic materials climb. In fiscal year 2021 there were over 1.9 million checkouts on eContent, which was 24% higher than the previous fi


CW MARS welcomed  FIVE new member libraries on July 1st, 2021: Brimfield Public Library  in Brimfield, MA (pop: 3609)  Field Memorial Library in Conway, MA (pop: 1897) Paige Memorial Library in Hardwick, MA (pop: 2990) Leroy Pollard Memorial Library  in New Braintree, MA (pop: 999) Tyringham Free Public Library in Tyringham, MA (pop: 327) The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) offers a Small Libraries in Network (SLIN) program to help Massachusetts public libraries in municipalities with populations under 10,000 afford membership in an automated resource sharing network like CW MARS. The MBLC believes that full participation in a resource sharing network is the best way to fully serve residents and provide equal access to materials state-wide. Over the past six years, fourteen small Massachusetts public libraries have taken advantage of MBLC grant funds to join C/W MARS including the five new libraries listed above plus: Ashburnham: Stevens Memorial Library (pop:


In the light of the recent acts of violence against and ongoing discrimination of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States, the CW MARS Social Justice Committee reaffirms our commitment to anti-racism.   CW MARS stands in solidarity with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission in recognizing and condemning anti-Asian hate crimes. Any type of racism or xenophobia against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities cannot be tolerated.  CW MARS member libraries are encouraged to highlight books and other resources that promote understanding and fellowship among people of different backgrounds. For Asian Pacific Heritage Month this May we are curating a collection of electronic OverDrive titles to celebrate Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander stories

CW MARS Adds over 3000 eMagazines

  CW MARS is pleased to announce the addition of over 3,000 magazine titles now available through our OverDrive Collection and the Libby mobile app . Magazine titles are always available , there are never any holds or waiting! The ten most popular magazine titles, based on current checkouts include: The Economist US Weekly The New Yorker HGTV Cook's Illustrated Women's World National Geographic Clean Eating Good Housekeeping Kiplinger's Personal Finance For help with magazines in Libby, visit our OverDrive FAQ


  CW MARS Announces Over One Million Ebook and Audiobook Checkouts Again in 2020. CW MARS saw an increase of 34% in checkouts on digital content in 2020 over 2019. Each year, our use of electronic materials (ebooks, audiobooks, magazines) continues to grow. 2020 reached a total of 1.808M checkouts on electronic content. This accomplishment illustrates the continued growth and importance of library digital lending of ebooks and audiobooks, especially in a year hit hard by a global pandemic. CW MARS is one of 102 systems around the world that surpassed one million checkouts (complete list here ). "This year ebooks and audiobooks took on a new level of importance for our library and our patrons," said Sulma Rubert-Silva, Associate Director of the Worcester Public Library. "While we were forced to temporarily close our doors and limit some of our services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our librarians immediately went to work to ensure we could still serve the public. A b