Grafton Public Library

Library Updates


Posted by bethg on

Doug Willardson, Assistant TA, wrote a request for proposal for the electrical work required to add A/C units. Three electricians came to review the building prior to submitting their proposals; Cyr Electric was the low bidder at $6,878.30 for the increase to 400 amp service and Renaud Electric was the low bidder at $5,350.00 for the additional wiring. Beth has signed off on the various proposals and work is scheduled to begin. Additional A/C units are $12,398 for 2 replacement units for the Main Reading Room and $5198.00for a 9,000 BTU ductless unit for the Server Room. I went with a unit that can heat AND cool for the Children’s Room, for a cost of $8,307, bringing the estimated cost of the project to $38,131.30.

A patron complained to the TA’s office about the “disgraceful” state of the front door. I have submitted a letter to the Worcester County Sheriff’s office, requesting volunteers to scrape and paint windows, sand and refinish the memorial bench, move the privet and signpost, and repaint the staff and server rooms.

We continue to get many positive compliments on the Library garden. Beth spoke with 2 ladies about a memorial bench for Jen White, a community leader who passed away at the beginning of month.   Delegates from her book club will write a proposal to the Trustees for the August 6 meeting.

We posted building plans and evacuation Routes on all floor and drafted an Emergency Evacuation Plan.

I completed an IT inventory at Tim’s request; he is looking into consolidating with the schools. We opened a port to allow for overflow check out and reference work at the Children’s Librarian’s desk (it was a contending, or shared port previously, which meant that we couldn’t have 2 people using Evergreen at the same time). There was no cost associated with this, as we had an unused port from the branches, saving us $600.

Drop down menus were implemented in mid-July. The font is the same as the heading, so it takes up a lot of space. I have contacted our designer to inquire how to switch to a lowercase font.

Although the Board approved the use of State Aid money to increase the wireless bandwidth and cut ties with Charter (soon to be Comcast) by switching to C/W MARS, I have been holding out in the hopes that Cable Commission money might be granted for this purpose. Alternatively, we can utilize the last of the UniBank Wireless grant money to increase our service and switch the C/W MARS as our sole Internet provider, but to add the patron computers to the wireless and drop Charter, we have to add 8 ports at $300 each to our C/W MARS service to the new patron computers onto the service will cost $2,400.00, and still leave us with up 24 slots for patrons.

Patrons with Apple products seem to encounter difficulty connecting to our network. We were pleasantly surprised this summer to learn one may access the Library wireless from the Common; Heidi was able to get into Evergreen and register borrowers, search the catalog and renew items with ease! I did ask for the Town to consider adding a drop as part of the Long Range IT plan. It would be located at the Gazebo for public Wi-Fi where our signal ends.

Outreach and Partnerships
Sarah contacted several day care providers to begin developing relationships. The Grafton Historical Society invited the Library to partner on bringing actor Stephen Collins to Grafton to perform his one man show on Robert Frost in October. Beth will pursue a Cultural Council Grant to fund this event.

Tasha and Stephen Halpert recorded for Storytellers in our first on-site session! Jonathan Hall’s Toto the Tornado Kitten program will be taped for August. Dr. Seuss books are fair game according to Seussville, so if project Gutenberg’s offerings aren’t appealing, please consider a Dr. Seuss title! The Lorax, If I ran the Circus, The Grinch and Green Eggs and Ham are spoken for. Please call GCTV to set up a time to record, and alert me as to what you would like to read.

Heidi set up a table at the Grafton Farmers’ Market on July 17 & 24. She answered reference questions, checked out books, registered a person for a library card (the person had just moved to town and commented that she “was loving the town already”), gave out Grafton Public Library pens  and encouraged people to sign up for Summer Reading. One of our patrons who stopped to chat said that as a result of her attendance at the NaNoWriMo event we held last October, she made a good friend. That friend helped give her the spark to help her get writing and now she’s finished her first novel!  She is planning to write a trilogy.

The Library was awarded a Family Adventures in Reading (F.A.I.R.) grant sponsored by Mass Humanities, and will be working with award-winning storyteller Diane Edgecomb this autumn (Oct 18, 25, Nov 1, 15, 22, and 29 at 2:30 pm) to offer a special Saturday storytime series for youth ages 6-10 and their caregivers. The program encourages parents to read to their children at home and makes visiting the library a regular family activity by modeling expressive storytelling and introducing the pleasures and rewards of exploring ideas. Participants learn from one another’s different perspectives. Each session provides an opportunity for caregivers and children to think critically and discuss moral issues. The program also informs and encourages people of all ages to benefit from the resources of their public libraries.

We welcomed Sarah with a staff breakfast on her second day of work, and a small reception on a Saturday July 19. She is meeting individually with staff who work in the Children’s Room; Beth checks in with Sarah daily when possible.

Donna attended a webinar from the Genre Overview Series. Allison attended an all day virtual conference called SLJ SummerTeen where she had the chance to interact with different publishers and find out all about new books coming out in YA.

Two vacancies were posted, for a 12 hour/week and 20 hour/week Library assistant positions. Ads are running in the Grafton News and Worcester T&G. The vacancy notice was posted to the Town website with a link to the online application, to Facebook, Twitter and the Library website as well. We had 2 people on vacation and several people out sick the last week of July; I did an emergency hire of a local librarian who is in the midst of jobhunting. Carol Geary will begin covering in the afternoons on August 1. As she is not a Bibliotemp, this is a significant savings

I reviewed and rated applications for custodian position posted by Doug Willardson and was invited to participate on interview panel for candidates for this shared position that includes 15 hours a week at the Library.

Children’s Room
We checked out 8,571 Children’s items in July, and children’s materials accounted for 57% of the Library’s total circulation in July (last month, it was 6,089 / 50% of the total circ; last year, 6,313 items / 52%). It was necessary to an additional check out station in Children’s Room to accommodate large volume of check outs and returns. Pull list requests and items coming in delivery also increased dramatically in July.

Fizz Boom Read, this year’s summer reading program, has greatly increased Children’s Room attendance. Having Jenny and Allison visit the school helped get the word out about Library programming during the summer months; 301 people registered. Each week, we offered a science-themed prize for reading and an opportunity to vote for an animal (the Friends will adopt three from the World Wildlife Federation in August), as well as a science and craft station. Color mixing, water color relief painting, and grass head guys were popular activities. The Davis Farmland pass has been awarded to 71 individuals who read for at least one hour.

Our programs this month have been very well attended. Storytime in the Park has been drawing a consistent, if not growing, crowd and Dinosaurs on the Common was extremely well attended, with over 300 visitors. Other programs offered this month include weekly Preschool STEM Storytime at UniBank, two sessions of Once Upon a Story at the Willard House Clock Museum, Water Workshop with Susan Thomas, and Mythbusters.

12 Mythbusters (participants ages 8-11 yrs old) gathered outside the Library to perform a variety of hands-on experiments to either bust or confirm 7 different myths. Participants filled out Prediction Sheets before all the experiments were conducted. During the program, participants discovered:

  1. Paper can support a book (if you roll it into a cylinder)
  2. A substance can be a liquid and a solid at the same time (a non-Newtonian fluid: cornstarch and water);
  3. Eggs can bounce (after soaking in vinegar for a day the shell is dissolved);
  4. Pop Rocks and cola will NOT make your stomach explode (creates a gas but not enough for an explosion);
  5. If you drop 2 objects of different weights from the same height, both objects will hit the ground at the same time (gravity accelerates both items equally);
  6. Mentos and cola form a geyser (CO2);
  7. A pencil can go through a plastic bag filled with water and it will not leak (polymers

At the end of the program, we reviewed what happened and participants received handouts which explained all the experiments. The kids really enjoyed the hands-on experience (and getting messy)! One participant said that the program should be a summer camp.

We hosted a Batman day with 3 activities: raffle, mask-making, birthday card making, and coloring sheets. Giveaways from DC/Random House never arrived. Jenny wrote thank you notes from Batman to all of the children who made birthday cards and completed a return address on the envelope. An excellent display of comics and autograph photos loaned by Gary Beauchamp added great visual interest to CR for kids and adults.

Patrons have been very busy with required summer reading and we have continuously requested all of the books from the various school reading lists on hold for the Library, as well as for other patrons, to keep up with the huge demand.  A Summer Reading Cart is well-stocked, and organized by school and grade to make browsing easier for our families.

We have received a number of compliments this month about the level of service and programming the Children’s Room staff has been offering. We are pleased that the public is responding well to the summer program, and look forward to continuing to provide exemplary service to our community.

Teen Services
Our summer is off to a great start with our teen summer reading program, Spark a Reaction! Program attendance is high (15 teens at our Catching Fire movie night)! Programs in July included:

  • Hunger Games Monopoly (missed this? check in the fall for another chance to attend)
  • Roving Book Group (Grafton was first to host!)
  • Watercolor Glue Art
  • Altered Book Art
  • Dragon Workshop with Theresa from Worcester Art Museum
  • DIY Bouncy Ball
  • 3 movie nights

The highest rated program so far was the Forensics workshop. Teens spent 3 hours as CSIs learning and solving cases with handwriting analysis, fingerprint analysis, memory and observation challenges, and document reconstruction.

Allison’s book selection this month is Four by Veronica Roth. It contains novelettes told from Tobias’s point of view about his transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his initiation, and claiming his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. This book is perfect for fans of the Divergent trilogy who can’t get enough of Four.

Adult Services
The free “beach books” have been a big hit. Donna brought a beach chair and towel that holds the basket.  We are re-filling it every few days.  It’s just a “good will” gesture for our patrons.

The spotlight display this month is “Coming to America,” highlighting books about immigrants acclimating to life in the US.  Susan refills the cart with a few books every few days. Heidi pulled together nature photography and chickens/livestock displays, to promote July programs, “Science!” to promote Literary Elements, our Adult Summer Reading Program, and Beach Reads, which is popular every summer.

The Southwick Zoo pass has been extremely popular; coupons (one coupon per patron per day, admits one person for free, a $20 value) have been used all but 2 days in July. The Davis Farmland pass was reserved for 18 days but was only picked up 9 of those days, so not as popular as expected, but still well used.

We’ve been getting our water and coffee (both courtesy of the Friends) from W.B. Mason for the past year, and after they did an item by item price report for us, we’ve made the switch from Stapes to Mason for our office supplies as well.  As an incentive, they sold the Friends an ice machine at about a 70% discount so we can provide iced coffee and tea now to the public. We will be doing a marketing push to promote our coffee service and that it benefits the Friends, and are considering relocating the service for higher visibility.

Continuing the purge of ugly, worn out books, Susan finished weeding both Fiction and Mystery, leaving SFF and paperbacks the only collections left to do.  We have about 30 titles into a cart reserved for “upgrades.”  About half of the discards have gone to Better World Books and the rest were recycled because they were too damaged to be accepted by BWB.  A few went on our “free” shelf in the lobby.

We also did a weed of jazz, rock and country music, freeing up much-needed space.   All of the discarded CDs were sent to BWB.

Susan started developing another BookWagon program for Crescent Manor in Grafton, where residents either can’t get out or don’t have funds for the bus. She will be meeting with the activities director in mid-August and we’ll aim for a September start.

Our Senior Center BookWagon brought 5 patrons with 8 checkouts and renewals. One patron was happy to be able to bring a “food for fines” to us directly at Town Hall!

We brought 70 bags of food to the Food Bank, and a volunteer came to retrieve school supplies twice.

Our volunteer doing the internship through the Center for Work and Family is doing well.  His case worker made a visit, and we discussed some strategies to make the experience a value to us as well as a valuable learning experience for him.  The rest of our volunteers have been coming and going regularly.  During the summer, eight of our teenagers are coming just because they like to, not for any kind of school credits!

Adult Summer Reading promotion was very low key, with no program brochure until July, resulting in only 42 registrants. However, to date, they have logged 127 books and posted 109 reviews! Programs were sparsely attended with one exception: the visit with Once Upon a Flock author Lauren Scheuer, whose program highlighting her blog to book success had 21 participants, 10 of whom completed the OBE. 80% reported an increased in their knowledge of chickens; 60% increased knowledge by 40% or more. Consensus was that the program was fun and enjoyable, and the presenter was excellent, engaging and humorous. Facilities comments were generous; we got high marks although people did comment on the lack of space for the amount of people.

Beth and Heidi hosted the Daytimers book discussion of The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kampwamba and Bryan Mealer, a biography about how William created a windmill from junk to bring electricity and irrigation to his African village. Consensus was that the picture book nicely summed up the story and the nonfiction narrative was long and repetitive. We’ll be reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion in August, about a man with autism who seeks a mate in a very methodical way. We discussed Earth Girl, by Janet Edwards, at the “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group on Monday, July 14th.  The Adult Book Discussion book was The Humans by Matt Haig.

We hosted “An Evening with Nature Photographer Peter Christoph.” Those who attended enjoyed it.

Comments from the Public:
We got a very kind letter from Rachel McGrath and her son Carson that was reprinted in the Grafton News. A patron who moved and has a different home library visited and brought a card praising the staff he’s had a lot of contact with. I am continuously made proud of our high-touch customer service ethic.
“Nice article in the Grafton News about you.” (several patrons commented on this!)
[About the library] “This place is awesome. It’s more than awesome!”
[The beach reads display with the free book swap,  in a basket on a beach chair] is so cute. You guys are so crafty.” (Thanks to Susan and Donna).
“Great how all the summer reading books were pulled out downstairs. So easy!”
“Your garden looks so good. You chose the right place. I’m sure you’ll have a good yield.” Someone else commented that she’s been admiring our gardens, especially in the front – “It looks nice.” Another person said she liked the little vegetable garden and that it is well maintained.
“You girls always have surprising things going on here.”
There was a compliment for having the amount of money the patron saved by checking things out at the Library printed right on the receipt.
“It’s nice to see the library so busy on a summer evening.”
At the adult book discussion several people said they’ve really enjoyed the book club books and they weren’t ones they’d have picked out themselves.
“I like that you have a lot more audio books than you used to.”
Someone commented that it was wonderful we were over at the Farmers’ Market.
At the end of a month, a patron made it a point to say that we were much friendlier that a library in a neighboring town. While it’s not a competition, it was very nice to hear that we have a reputation for courtesy and friendliness.

Tech Services
There were 492 items added in July. Donna found the bottom shelf of her bookcase! Many children’s items were cleaned, re-covered, and re-labeled, and Donna fixed “dodgy cataloging.” She also separated a dozen or so BLU-RAY/DVD combos, repackaged and re-cataloged them (new ones come in split). She replaced a number of broken DVD, Books on CD, and CD cases—thanks to staff for being vigilant about the state of our materials. Donna also added to her Staff Picks Pinterest board, posted FB mystery announcements, and put several book reviews on the Adult summer reading site.


Upcoming Events:

Wed 8/7 11am Author Visit: Toto the Tornado Kitten

Fri 8/9 2:00 pm App Chap: Weather Apps

Tue 8/13 6:30 pm Dr. Wexler’s ABCs of Astrophysics

Tue 8/20 Daytimers Book Group: The Rosie Project by

Sat 9/20 Mini-Golf reception

Sun 9/21 11-4 Library Mini-Golf

Tue 9/23 Daytimers Book Group: Mistress of the Art of Death by

Tue 9/23 7pm  Seminar: Maximize Your Social Security

Wed 10/15 7pm  Seminar: Maximize Your Social Security

Sun 10/19 2pm An Afternoon with Robert Frost, South Grafton Community House

Mon 10/21 7pm Graveyard Girls

Wed 2/25/15 7 pm Gardening is Murder: an evening with author Neal Sanders



Please register online at (click on “Workshops”) OR follow the direct links provided. New trustees should attend; seasoned trustees should attend every few years.

Thu 8/28 6-8pm Southbridge, Jacob Edwards Library
Register here:

Thu 9/1 6-8pm Newbury Town Library
Register here:

Mon 922, 6:30-8:30pm Foxborough, Boyden Library
Register here:

Wed 10/1 6:30-8:30pm Bolton Public Library
Register here:

Tue 10/14 6:30-8:30pm Pittsfield, Berkshire Athenaeum
Register here:

Thu 11/13 6:30-8:30pm Brookline Public Library
Register here:


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Green Cleaning Coach & Author Leslie Reichert’s visit postponed

Posted by switham on

Leslie R 14March06

POSTPONED!  The new date will be announced as soon as it is known.  Thank you for your interest.

This program will be held at the Historical Society Museum Annex at 7:00 p.m. (please enter from the back of the building).

Celebrate science this summer with the “Martha Stewart Of Green Cleaning”, Leslie Reichert on Tuesday, August 12th at 7:00 p.m. She is a cleaning expert that uses her sparkling personality, great sense of humor, and contagious passion to encourage her fans and followers to think differently about their cleaning products.

Leslie Reichert is known as a Green Cleaning Coach and she is changing the world – “one spray bottle at a time”. She is a national lecturer, a frequent home keeping expert on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Kmart’s Cleaning Expert and author of the book: The Joy Of Green Cleaning– a handbook for DIY cleaners. Using a cooking show format, Leslie will demonstrate how to mix up your own cleaners and will give participants samples to take home and try.

This program is sponsored by the Grafton Public Library, Town of Grafton, Friends of the Grafton Public Library, Massachusetts Library System, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and the Boston Bruins.

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Amazing model of the Grafton Public Library!

Posted by switham on

As part of her 3rd grade Grafton History Project, Francesca Valverde created this amazing model of the Grafton Public Library. Francesca did an outstanding job of capturing the detail of this 1927 historical building located on the Grafton Common. Her model is on display in the Main Reading Room of the Library. Francesca recently completed Miss Tilvia’s 3rd grade class at Millbury Street Elementary School. Great job Francesca!

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Review: Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter

Posted by jparise on

A variety of books have been published recently touting the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet. The research on this, however, is not new. Scientists have known for years that carbohydrates, even supposedly “good” ones like whole wheat, can cause serious health problems. The fact that humans are not genetically wired to tolerate a high amount of carbohydrates in the form of sugar and gluten, especially when they come in the form of genetically modified and highly processed items, has led to an epidemic of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. These books contain an array of scientific jargon and statistical data, but the main thrust is that these bad carbs spike our blood sugar and send us on a vicious cycle of hunger, craving even more of that which is bad for us, as we pack on the pounds. We don’t get the nutrients we need and we gain weight, suffering the health risks associated with obesity. In essence, fats don’t make people fat, carbs do.

One of the newest additions to the conversation is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by renowned neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter. While many previous books have concentrated on weight loss and other potentially devastating consequences of gluten intolerance, Perlmutter’s research hones in on the effects of all these bad carbs on our brains. He is convinced the research shows that the current emphasis on low-fat and low cholesterol diets to achieve weight loss, combined with a push for “healthy grains,” in addition to the detrimental results of eating processed foods full of sugar and bad carbs, is robbing our brains. He maintains we need fats and cholesterol to support healthy brain function. Permutter establishes carbs as the culprit in causing such afflictions as dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches and depression among other ailments. In one particularly disconcerting chapter he presents at length the evidence he proposes exists between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This work is very timely as scientists continue to grapple with offering correct advice to the public in a field which notoriously produces conflicting information on a weekly basis from a variety of authorities from the government to the American Heart Association. The June 23, 2014 cover of Time Magazine ran the story “Eat Butter: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” So the conversation continues! Whether you agree with the author or not, Grain Brain is a highly informative, thought-provoking and rather frightening presentation of the price we pay for our modern American diet of highly processed and genetically modified food, chock full of carbohydrates, while experts continue to insist that low-fat diets are the answer. Perlmutter does sometimes get a little overly technical for the average reader, but not so much that if you are really interested you can’t get through it. He presents his “Revolutionary 4 Week Plan” to heal the damage through better dietary and lifestyle choices, which includes a small collection of recipes, as a guide to “reprogram our genetic destiny for the better.”

Other recent books on the carbohydrate debate are worth checking out as well: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD and The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better by Jonathan Bailor

Download Grain Brain e Book

Request Grain Brain in regular print

Request Grain Brain in large print

Request Grain Brain on CD

Request Grain Brain on a Playaway

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Batman Day at the Library, July 26th!

Posted by switham on

batman 2
The Library is celebrating the caped crusader in honor of his 75th anniversary! Stop in for activities, giveaways, and fun for kids, teens, and adults! A few lucky people will win prizes donated by the Friends of the Grafton Public Library.

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Bring in school supplies and waive bye-bye to late fines!

Posted by switham on

Help Grafton Middle School Students get ready for school! The Grafton Food Bank is having a school supply drive from July 27th through August 16th and the Library is one of the selected drop-off locations. Suggested items for donations are: index cards, #2 pencils, highlighters, 2 pocket folders, one subject notebooks, glue sticks, graph paper, and scientific calculators.

When you bring in your donation, the Library will waive any late-fines equal to the amount of the donation. It’s a win-win situation! This does not apply, however, to any fines related to a lost or damaged item.
The Library is also continuing their Food for Fines program through the end of August. Similarly, when you bring in any non-perishable food items for the Grafton Food Bank, the Library will waive any late fines equal to the amount of the food donation.
Thank you so much for supporting Grafton students and the Grafton Food Bank with your donations!

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Water, Water, Everywhere? Water Workshop for Kids July 24th!

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We use it every day…for drinking, cooking, bathing, swimming…have you guessed it? Yes, we are talking about water!
Susan Thomas, Project Coordinator with the Blackstone River Watershed Association (, will lead a water workshop for kids on Thursday, July 24th at 2:00 p.m.

Kids ages 6-12, will have a blast learning about the Blackstone River Watershed through the use of an interactive model. During this hands-on program, participants will help build a watershed containing various land-uses; witness different types of water pollution from each of these sources; and be part of a brain-storming team that cleans up the watershed.

You’ll learn what can be done in your back yard, your neighborhood, and beyond to help protect plants and animals by keeping our waterways healthy. For more details about the program, please call 508-839-4649 or email

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Nature Photographer & Author: Peter Christoph, July 15th

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Peter Christoph photographer
Tuesday, July 15th 7:00-8:00 p.m.

This one-night event for birders, bird photographers and nature lovers will provide participants with photographic techniques for capturing birds. The program will be illustrated by Peter Christoph’s masterful photography and seasoned with lively anecdotes, this narrated slideshow will bring you both instruction and inspiration.Peter will have available the companion book Birds, which he published to accompany his presentation. There will be a book signing immediately after his talk.

Peter Christoph is one of New England’s best known wildlife photographers, having presented for Mass Audubon, the national wildlife refuge system, and numerous libraries, camera clubs and schools. His passion for capturing birds in their natural habitat, his technical excellence, and his environmental responsibility are revealed in his compelling images. He is set apart as one of the very few photographers willing to share both his photographic knowledge and his favorite locations with other photographers. His images have appeared in many books and magazines and he has authored two bird books, which are available at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary and online at

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