It was established in 1980 by five libraries sharing their circulation system. By 1995, NOBLE served 32,000 college students and 522,000 residents, and kept a database that featured more than 2.3 million items.
NOBLE is governed by its member libraries who approve the annual budget, establish NOBLE policies and elect officers. An executive board, composed of the four officers and five at-large library directors, more closely oversees NOBLE operations. A professional staff manages operations. NOBLE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit
corporation, and is recognized as a charitable organization by the Mass. Attorney General's office.