Director’s Report: April 2014
Much of April was taken up with interviews, second interviews, and calling references for candidates who applied for the Children’s Librarian vacancy. Thanks to Jenny McNeil and Allison Cusher, who participated in the search committee, to Susan and Heidi who provided Library tours, and to other staff who covered service desks so we could conduct interviews. We received 14 applications, invited seven candidates for interviews, and six accepted. One accepted another position, and another candidate declined a second interview because the low salary was unacceptable for position that requires a master’s degree and includes supervisory duties. Four candidates performed a storytime and for Library staff and patrons, and we have narrowed our selection to two candidates. Both are in process of completing their degrees. I made a recommendation to Tim McInerney on Friday May 3.
The other big item for April was the Friends annual Egg Hunt. Betty Wright at the Recreation Department coordinated high school volunteers to fill the eggs, Beth solicited donations from Wegmans and Stop & Shop, and Donna Trainor mobilized the volunteers the day of the event. Girl Scout Troop 30225, along with one other teen volunteer, was a huge help in placing eggs on the Common and providing friendly assistance to the participants. I heard only positive comments, and everyone was respectful of the 6-egg rule. Thanks to Carrie Hogan, Holly Walton, and Dana Wilson who helped the day of the event. Holly and Jeff hid the golden eggs, Carrie made the coffee run, and she and Dana helped replenish craft supplies during the egg hunt festivities. Jenny McNeil says, “thanks to their efforts, I’m sure many Easter centerpieces included a Grafton Library marigold.”
Dana’s pictures went to the paper after the reporter’s camera was stolen on another assignment; as of May 1 they have not been published. A Letter to the Editor from the Friends is in the works.
The March Director’s Report was posted to the Library website—a first. No one has commented to date.
I met with Jen Sclar in the Assessor’s office to discuss redeployment of an unused server. Eric from C/W MARS came out to do a site survey and reported that no traffic is going through their secure connection, so a meeting has been called with C/W MARS and MX to fix the issue.
Per Board request, I began researching all Library trusts; a separate report will be provided. Note that in 2002, the Town Clerk reported no information on 3 trusts. A thorough review of Board minutes is recommended, to see if we can narrow down the date of these bequests.
Heidi and I met with Carolyn Browne, the president of the Garden Club, to talk about putting a garden in the back of the Library between the two walkways. We want to provide a small garden of edible ornamental plants, that will be a component to the science-themed summer reading program. I’ve made several attempts to contact Perrault for landscaping help. The Garden Club does not have members who can commit to caring for the Library’s plants. No one responded to the publicity for a volunteer that could take care of plants and weed.
Another person came in with a census handout in April. We’ve started tracking compliments on our daily reference stat sheet. When looking for contact information for the Grafton country club the patron said, “You are doing all kinds of things the telephone company didn’t do. It is appreciated.” “Thank you for the face-outs and readers’ advisory strips!” said one appreciative patron.
We received a compliment on the DVD selections and said it was amazing. Tim Adams complimented Eileen on her hard work and consistency. Ted Alcarez said “You guys are doing great work. We don’t tell you enough.”
One patron noted “I miss the non-fiction section over here [where the YA is now]. Bigger, glossier, nicer books.” We have been purchasing more popular materials, which are sometimes in paperback format. Many large glossy books from For The Love of Books are on display. The nonfiction is hidden from view around the corner from fiction. Suggestions for a more prominent location are welcome.
During the rainy month, we kept an eye on the Children’s Room floor and report no flooding. It remains cold and damp in the Children’s Room. I requested storm drains get a spring cleaning, and checked in with the gutter cleaners who felt unless we noticed debris or loose tiles, this should be a once-a-year project in the late fall.
Renaud returned to address the issue of spouting water in the Children’s Room radiators again. We need to do an MIIA required fix: a gas valve extension. Renaud quoted the cost of cleaning the trap that runs under the entry to the Children’s room as well, and delivered a proposal to add thermostats for thirteen radiators to address the temperature issue in the building. We could replace these one at a time, but the other two issues need to be taken care of, and this year’s building and maintenance line should cover the cost.
National Window presented a quote for $3500 to repair the large palladium window and the lite in the window in the Children’s room that is missing a pane. Lidco came to replace the lamp and changed the incorrect bulb, and will be returning after our light bulb order comes in; we now have 2 parking lot lights out. DPW has been working hard to pave the Perrault lot, providing an extra 35 parking spaces to the Town Common. I re-requested a quote for materials to repair the front walkways, and requested someone come to replace the broken textured tile on the ADA ramp to the parking lot, now that the weather has warmed up.
Fire alarms and smoke detectors passed all tests on April 28. Beth submitted the documents for the building inspection for the first time in 10 years on May 2.
I’d like to de-accession old furniture to purchase ergonomic computer chairs and a small table and chairs for our staff room. Old chairs and tables could be given to the Friends, painted by local artists, and auctioned at the September mini-golf fundraiser. I have approached BVT and GHS for volunteer help to wipe old computers so they can be donated or destroyed.
Outreach and Partnerships
We served as donation location for Towels for Tufts, an initiative sponsored by a local Girl Scout troop. We have agreed to donate copier paper boxes to a Hopedale organization, Birthday Wishes; they provide birthday parties to children who live in homeless shelters. The copy paper boxes get wrapped and filled with party supplies for shelters that do not allow outside visitors.
Beth delivered a birthday themed storytime at the Willard House and Clock Museum on the first Wednesday in April. Three adults and four children attended. Participants made a birthday card for Simon Willard, and cards were displayed at the Museum during their open house the following weekend. Beth and Allison were community readers at the North Street Elementary School; On Monday April 14th Allison read the first few chapters of The Name of This Book Is Secret by Bosch to Mrs. Beausoleil’s sixth grade class at North Street Elementary School and Beth read This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen and told a story about hats to second graders. It was great to see the school, visit the Library, and meet some students.
Beth taped a poetry-themed Storytellers episode for GCTV. Volunteers and presenters are needed for May-December! In June, July and August, we’d like to stick to a science-themed stories to promote the 2014 Summer Reading Program.
The Book Wagon went to the Senior Center on April 23. It was visited by eight patrons who checked out 12 items and renewed one item, and requested three holds. We accepted three returns, renewed a library card, and took one reference question. Because of the Monday holiday, Susan wasn’t able to bring the sandwich board to the Senior Center the day before; maybe we would have had more traffic if there had been more advance advertising on site.
Susan completed her Basic Library Techniques (BLT) Certification in Collection Development on April 10; some of the highlights of the continuing education workshops were discovering a variety of resources to help in making selections to purchase; learning selection policy guidelines (will be looking ours over for updates); putting together creative displays (we are already doing most of these!); patron privacy; defending collection choices; weeding (already following most practices, learned at weeding workshop last year); an overview of the Mass e-book Project pilot; discovering BPL electronic resources, and ILL (already had this info).
Heidi attended a Reference Roundtable at the Charlton Public Library and Eileen participated in a webinar from Ancestry.com on “The Best Way to Find Your Roots.” Her sense was that the general purpose of the webinar was to try to interest libraries in purchasing books from their digitized collection. The information in the webinar could be useful, if a patron were to come in looking for genealogical information further back then what Ancestry.com offers, we could recommend Genealogy.com which goes back to 1850.
On April 28th, Allison met with the YA Collaborative at the Milford Public Library. The collaborative is a seasonal meeting of young adult librarians in MA to talk about everything related to teen services and foster relationships with local libraries. One of the things Allison is really excited about is the roving book club being held this summer. Dozens of libraries will be participating by hosting a book discussion each week of summer. Teens are encouraged to visit other local libraries and meet new friends. More information will be available soon including the selected books, host libraries (Grafton will be one!) and dates.
The staff met on and received assignments to post to social media and write book reviews for the website. We should now have a new review every other week, and new content on the three Facebook pages every other day, if not daily.
The Children’s Staff delivered 25 programs to 174 attendees in April. Ten young detectives searched the library during the Clue game. Future engineers designed structures with gumdrops and marshmallows-after, of course, sampling the materials.
Although we’ve had to compete with the great outdoors on sunny days, afternoon attendance seems to be picking up, as school-aged kids hit the library after three to study, have play dates, or work on projects.
Several of our regular storytime families came to our special storytime featuring children’s librarian candidates. Our patrons are very invested in their Children’s Room, and were very pleased to be a part of the process.
LEGO Club was a HIT, with attendance tripling to over 35 participants by the end of the third and final session.
Projects included cavalry scenes, vehicles, a mini-hot dog, and even model of the Grafton Public Library (built by yours truly). Check out more photos at www.facebook.com/libraryLEGOlady. We are planning to offer a DUPLO day soon for ages 2-6, and have added DUPLO building kits that come with stories. For example, you can read the farm book and then build a sheep, cow, horse, and pig.
The Library would love to offer a creative and fun LEGO Brick Builder’s Club on a regular basis, and branch out into story prompts and STEM programs with LEGO. We are seeking donations from the community to get started, and will be issuing a press release soon inviting community members with LEGO bricks in the basement or attic to drop off LEGO in good condition. We will also accept donations for new LEGO, and they can be purchased online through our Amazon.com wish list at www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/15KP1LOVKYJDN. If we do not get donations, this might be a programming expense to pass along to the Friends or consider State Aid money. It’s an investment that will pay for itself quickly; the LEGO lady costs $50/hour for library programs.
After the Egg Hunt on the Common, 95 people came to the Children’s Room to hear a story and complete a spring craft. Jenny and Marilyn handled the crowd with ease and noted ways to improve for next year; hosting the stories outside or upstairs to leave ample room for crafts or browsing is top of the list. The Easter Bunny was on the Library lawn, which was a better place than at the entrance of the Common; people naturally navigated to the Bunny, and then into the Library.
We had a variety of teen programs this month including Peep Diorama Building, Upcycled T-shirt into Bag (for Earth Day), and a Jelly Bean Taste Test. And there were a bunch of new faces to the programs!
The teen collection and area are expanding! The new teen books will now be on display to the left of the music CDs. With the new teen books moving and a little shifting and rearranging, Allison managed to add nine new shelves for the collection. These will fill up fast with over 200 new teen books coming in through June. With so many new titles coming in, it’s hard to pick a favorite. The book I couldn’t wait to check out was Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell. Kit, a seventeen-year-old “moral serial killer”, chooses who to kill based on anonymous letters left in a secret mailbox, while simultaneously maintaining a close relationship with the young detective in charge of the murder cases. Check out our Pinterest page to stay up-to-date on all our newest books!
Susan protected a test in March, and got a nice thank-you note back from the person she proctored. We also received 3 separate compliments from patrons in the last week of April about our service.
We have been making more time for one-on-one help with resumes and papers for various patrons who have requested this service. At some point, we’d like to start a human resources library so patrons can check out an expert, relieving staff from this time-intensive task. We LOVE to help, but it’s not always the most effective use of our time. So long as we can still get our library work done, we are happy to proofread.
Susan continued to weed old and worn-out material from the fiction collection and is through the letter K, removing Large Print titles and music CDs to make room for new YA materials. Beth weeded nonfiction through the 300s.
Non-fiction DVDs have been interfiled with nonfiction books upstairs with the hope that they will have more visibility to patrons. Susan put a post on Facebook and the website to highlight the non-fiction DVD collection and alert people that it has been relocated and interfiled. She also ran a full list of our DVDs (we have over 1500 DVDs for teens and adults!) and put them in a folder at the desk with a list of just nonfiction given to Heidi to post upstairs. Patrons have been asking for just such a list. We also pin new DVDs and BluRays to our Pinterest account for a visual guide to what’s new.
We frequently review the list of most requested items that C/W MARS provides to guide us in our collection development; DVDs are very prominent on the list. Patron Tim Adams made a point of complimenting staff on the depth of the selection and availability last week; he came to the Library expecting to place holds on two titles he didn’t think we would own, and they were sitting on the new shelf. Staff kindly credited the director with the change in ordering more popular materials, and told him they were now allowed to assist with collection development.
We got a new museum pass for free: Biomes Marine Biology Center & Aquarium in Kingston, RI. It holds the largest collection of New England marine life in the world. Passes to Davis Farmland and Southwick Zoo have been ordered; we’d love to get a LEGOLand Boston pass as soon as one is available.
Following a request from two different patrons, Susan asked Donna for help with mystery readers advisory. Donna came up with some great resources which she also posted on FB. Thanks, Donna!
ADOPT-A-SHELF has been initiated; five staff members that work at the front desk have been assigned a section of our fiction, DVD and audio collections to be responsible for. The goal is for each section to be kept neat, organized, face-outs updated, and old and ugly books pulled. Susan reports she can already see a difference! Thanks to Keith, Eileen, Donna and Jan. Beth and Heidi are working on nonfiction, and it was suggested the Children’s Room undertake a similar scheme.
The young man who signed up for 10 hours of service for a Boy Scout badge completed his requirement, yet continues to come in on occasional Saturday afternoons, because he “likes it here.” We’ve found that the young people (aged 13-14) make great volunteers; they are eager to do a good job and their parents seem to enjoy an excuse to sit and read! (Parents are required to stay for kids under 15). We acquired a second adult, not as a senior tax write-off, but for her own pleasure. She comes in one afternoon a week during the busy late afternoon and handles a bulk of the shelving. Our NHS student completed her Independent Service project (The Book Wagon) and continues coming on Saturdays for shelving and other projects.
We discussed Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi, at the “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group on Monday, April 14th. The Adult Book Discussion book was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. We had two new participants. One of them bought a flower dictionary for her mother-in-law (we think) as a Mother’s Day gift this year, as a result of reading this book.
Heidi was an official “giver” for World Book Night. “World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.” Heidi visited the folks at the Municipal Center looking for homes for her books. Her official book was a young adult novel, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. Heidi was also given a few copies of The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett. While there, Heidi convinced someone from the Clerk’s office to check out one of our audio books to give listening a try. She also got someone from the Assessor’s office to take a library card application so she can learn to use the library’s eBook collection.
In honor of National Library week, we held an “Altered Book” program. We learned from Donna Rodonja how to turn an unwanted book into a decorative bird house. It is very easy, but the results are striking.
We had two “In Memoriam” displays one for Peter Matthiessen and one for Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Heidi put up a library-themed display for National Library Week. We also had a poetry display for National Poetry month.
We participated in Massachusetts Library Snap Shot Day on Tuesday April 8th (it was also Pajama Day, to promote the Tuesday evening PJ storytime). We took pictures of patrons using the library in various ways and posted them to our Flickr account with a tag that allowed our pictures to show up with other participating libraries photos when people search for Snap Shot day. We shared on social media, too.
Patrons give rights to the pictures to MBLC and the pictures are pooled to be used by any MA Library for advocacy and marketing purposes. Beth was part of the planning committee and provided technical support with several other librarians during the event. Heidi submitted usage statistics for Grafton’s Snap Shot Day to MBLC.
525 items added were added, and 124 deleted in April. Donna is participating in our staff “Adopt-a-Shelf” project and has taken on maintaining the Mystery and Science Fiction shelves. She is posting weekly to FB (trying to reach the mystery fans this month), and compiling a reader’s advisory list of mystery sub-genres and their authors for the Circ. Department. This came about after a patron’s request for some “humorous” mystery authors. We weeded the CD collection and she is researching how best to re-cat the music collection to something more user-friendly. Our collections should not require a directional cheat sheet to locate materials.
Reference Questions: 540
Program Attendance: 479
Computer Users: 299
Website Hits: 3,525
Museum Pass Checkouts: 35
Library Cardholders: 8,547
Items in Collection: 41,001
Value of materials circulating: $134,896.15