This month, our library was featured in short write up in an article called: “Teens Talking to the Animals” by Shari Fesko in VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Magazine in the October 2014 issue. Allison shared about a program we hosted for Love Your Pet Day held during February vacation in 2014:
“Allison Cusher, teen librarian at Grafton Public Library in Massachusetts, is a fan of Perler bead crafting. Perler beads fit together in peg board. The beads and a peg board were purchased online at Amazon.com. For templates and inspiration, Cusher looked on Pinterest. Cusher’s animal-related Perler bead board ideas is available at http://www.pinterest.com/allisonsbj3/perler-beads.
The teens brought pictures of their own pets to the program on iPhones and iPads or printed. They created their own designs by trying to replicate the photos of their pets. Once they were finished, Cusher used an iron to melt the beads, securing their designs. Cusher recommends ironing both sides so that images won’t fall apart. There are complete directions on the bead package. Cusher also recommends having a volunteer pre-sort some beads by colors. Many teens spent most of the program searching for specific colors they wanted for their design.”
We celebrated Teen Read Week and our traditional storytimes and adult book discussion groups, but we did a LOT of all-ages programs in October. We hosted a Scarecrow contest with the Recreation Department, the FAIR (Family Adventures in Reading) grant kicked off and Star Wars Reads Day was a big hit, with our Star Wars Symposium having over 40 attendees.
Grafton MOM Jessica Bonetti chaired candy collection for our South Street neighbors, and coordinated candy drop off on Saturday October 25. We collected about 100 bags, and got some great PR. Staff started celebrating Halloween on Monday with literature themed costumes such as the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Fancy Nancy, and Fly Guy, and we had 100% participation on October 31, including a Crazy Cat Lady, a Human I Spy page, the Raven, a Pink Haired Librarian and the Information Wench!
We welcomed over 500 trick or treaters on Halloween and were proud to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, offering non-allergen treats such as comics, stickers, incentives, and nut-free items. Thanks to Marilyn, Jen and Allison who kept the Library open on Friday night!
The Worcester County Sheriff’s volunteer work crew painted the staff room and server room, hung framed pictures and posters, moved bookshelves, installed a mirror in the Children’s Room, disposed of scrap wood, bracketed a shelf, and raked leaves. Peter Freysinger trimmed the hydrangeas. Cyr came to fix the ballast in the mezzanine stacks and looked at the light under the copper apron, which has become water damaged. Carlisle roofing has been contacted to repair the apron, again; the gutter needs to be moved.
The Friends had a contractor in to look at the kitchen and plan to add a full-size fridge, compact and flexible table and seating, and a new sink with a garbage disposal.
The wireless doorbell does not have a strong enough signal to go through the brick/concrete walls and we need to try another set.
Beth Patch cut down the gardens and put the dead plants in the compost pile. Corn husks were harvested for seasonal Library décor.
Several staff have been trained in resetting the timer for the parking lot lights. The top came off one light and LidCo has been called to bring their bucket truck and put the top back on the light as soon as possible.
The work crew could not get to all of the delegated tasks and some work, such as replacing the front door hooks, caulking the emergency door, and will need to be outsourced. It was determined that it was too cold and wet to paint at this point in the season.
I made several calls to National Glass to schedule window repair, and have yet to get a return call.
Doug Willardson informed me there is $30000 left in the accessibility fund. Beth sent a list of related projects, including:
- Repair leaking copper apron and move drain pipe out
- Replace water damaged spot light under copper apron
- Add more directional signage and “van parking” sign to indicate location of lift and accessible washroom (waiting for quote) and better use instructions for lift
- Add automation to new door – may need to widen existing path to door, it’s really not wide enough.
- Finish carpeting in Childrens room – stage needs to be done, I have squares and need to pay someone to do it.
- Add more lighting to staff entrance and apron – it’s dark and potentially unsafe.
- Add changing tables to 3 restrooms.
We have had several issues with the accessible washroom and flushing. The plumber has been out twice, but the problem could not be replicated while he was onsite.
MX returned to de-partition staff computer hard drives, and we have improved speed and access. Beth ordered 6 new Windows 8 touchscreen all-in-one computers for the public internet access on the Main Floor. They will be available mid-November, with a soft launch (replace half and give patrons—and staff—sometime to adjust.
Outreach and Partnerships
We had 8 visitors, 9 check-outs, 1 new registration, 1 reference question and 1 request at the October BookWagon at the Senior Center. The first visit to Crescent Manor had 14 visitors.
Suzanne set up a trial of Hootsuite, so we can send one message to multiple social media outlets. Beth set up a trial for Constant Contact and did not hear any feedback yet from the people she sent messages to. It’s an opt-in email database that will allow for creating different channels: Parents, Teens, Friends, etc. Both are affordable and easy to use. Hootsuite is a time saver and improvement over the free TweetDeck service that we use currently to schedule Twitter posts in advance.
Beth spent about 10 volunteer hours narrating the LIONS Club Haunted Hayride on Oct 24 & 25 – Bob DeToma form GCTV filmed her version of the narrative to the ride, and it’s currently airing on GCTV at http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T02135&video=214448. The club had 1,400 visitors over 2 days.
The Library partnered with the Recreation Dept to host the annual Build a Scarecrow program. Jen McNeil designed the flyer, Beth assisted Betty with PR and Rec provided straw, stakes and twines for a program on the Common. There are 23 scarecrows on the Common, with 21 of them completed by the Saturday October 25 deadline in time for voting online. By noon on Friday, 15 people voted for scarecrow #8, the Pumpkin, and was declared the winner.
Family Adventures in Reading, a six week grant from Mass Humanities, began on October 18. We delivered flyers to Millbury Street School, North Street School, North Grafton Elementary, and South Grafton Elementary in addition to our regular press releases to let the families of Grafton know about the FAIR program. On October 14 Diane Edgecomb, our storyteller, and Sarah Banister visited North Grafton and South Grafton Elementary for a storytelling program. We saw 125 students at South Grafton Elementary and 227 students at North Grafton Elementary. Our registration for the FAIR program is now full at 50 participants, but we are still taking names for the waitlist in case any families drop out. We were very clear about the limitations of our space upon receipt of the grant, and working around issues such as chairs, inability to prep snacks on site, and closing the Children’s Room for Saturday afternoons have been very challenging issues. Still, the families are enjoying the program and we do feel it’s a worthwhile venture. There have been some complaints about the room closure.
We welcomed Lee McCulloch, a former career nurse, to our team on October 27. Lee is an avid reader and movie watcher and crafter, and has a wonderful warm and welcoming demeanor and strong customer service ethic. She is acclimating quickly thanks to Susan’s training program – thanks to all who are pitching in!
To be prepared for the new staff, we created a Staff Orientation Manual with a GPL organizational chart, staff contacts, information on the region, opening and closing procedures, lists of log-ins and some basic Evergreen points. A copy was given to Sarah so she can add information specific to the Children’s Room. The Staff manual, which contains policies and procedures, is in process of being updated.
I was remiss last month in sharing that Marilyn Wilcox attended a Halloween themed webinar on searching the Gale databases. “Boo! Inspirations from Your Gale Resources” pertained to Gale searches found in on our library website. “Books & Authors” was highlighted: new search parameters of “Who, What, Where, and When” focus more on book details from a patron perspective, rather than library staff jargon (title, author, setting) to cover type of character, subject matter, location, and time period. One may also search via award winners, expert picks, and librarian’s favorites. The subject of Halloween was used as theme for instructing aspects of the search engine.
Did you know that using the “term clusters,” one can enter a topic and a zen diagram appears with facets of the search? The “PowerSearch” allows one to cross search and sort by relevance. One can find articles and books that discuss the search request. Marilyn is still “playing” with all that was learned and have been in touch with webinar instructor to get further clarification and assistance. She has offered to show other staff the tips she picked up.
Marilyn attended a webinar on Overdrive, and more hands on time is needed to practice the theory. As of October 15th, one will need Internet Explorer 10 to utilize new features.
Marilyn also sat in on Let’s Read! New Books for the Newest Readers Webinar. Presenters from Harper Collins Childrens’ Books (I Can Read! series), Capstone, and Holiday House (I Like to Read) highlighted various titles and authors–many of which we already own and circulate. We did change the EZ reader shelving to accommodate browsing and display, weeded the EZ collection, and consolidated series by multiple authors under series name (i.e. EZ Iron man) or by the name of the creator to keep spinoffs together (i.e. EZ/Bridwell, EZ/Rey). She learned that in January, there will be a new Paddington Movie out in theaters which makes a perfect time to introduce new readers to the Paddington books (Harper Collins).
Susan attended the Circ round-table meeting on October 17 in Holden, and the Small Library Forum (organized by MBLC and MLS) on 10/29/14 in Sturbridge. While directed at libraries serving populations under 10,000, Susan found keynote speaker Jessamyn West very inspiring. Action items are to encourage staff to come up with a less than 2 minute elevator speech about something they do at the library to cover this is who we are, this is what we do, this is the result. For example: I’m Susan Leto, and I work at GPL. We have a program called The BookWagon, where I bring a little red wagon full of material to the Senior Center once a month. It keeps us connected to that population. Susan liked the idea of a weekly drop in tech novice program, and will get in touch with NHS to see if they have any teens who want to volunteer their time to help! Innovative programs highlighted at a poster session include stuffed animal hospital, bike-mobile, a repurposed book program, and lending unusual items like a soil tester and ukulele (I’m investigating ukuleles, and our Seed Library should launch this spring).
Donna attended 2 webinars on OverDrive: Explore the OverDrive App and eBooks made easy. She also attended a Mystery Reader’s Advisory program, Fall into a Good Mystery presented by Booklist Online Donna Represented the Library at the CWMARS Cataloging Roundtable at the Sugden Library in Spencer, MA. Time was spent reviewing the MARC record again, and she received handouts with the important tags to look for when cataloging serials. She reviewed how to determine when to use a serial record, and reviewed parts—we are doing everything right!
Allison attended an all-day Teen Summit in Worcester and said it was great seeing and talking with other teen librarians from around the state. She is planning to implement two ideas from the program beginning in January: an art program called the Teen Artists Coalition, which will feature 3-hour sessions for art and craft projects, and Nerdfighters group, which will feature activities and discussions for (self-identified) nerds. This is part of a movement to celebrate individual differences by much adored YA author John Green. More info at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyQi79aYfxU. Primary directives are to fight WorldSuck and Don’t Forget to be an Awesome, which empower teens to make the world, and themselves, a better place.
The second professional development that Allison participated in was an online course through the American Library Association called Collaborating with Teens to Build Better Library Programs. Overall, the course wasn’t as helpful as she had hoped but I will be incorporating advice into future program planning and various aspects around the library.
To brush up on out reader’s advisory skills, we were lucky to have Nanci Milone Hill, the Director of the Dracut Public Library, come in as a guest speaker for our staff development day. She taught us all about appeal factors, appeal groups, conducting reader’s advisory interviews, and genres. This training will prove useful when addressing patrons who request reader’s advisory services, especially as book reports are assigned in school. Sarah found her tip on how to stay up to date with new books and popular trends especially helpful. She suggests that you read as many reviews as you can so that you have at least an understanding of what books and topics are trending and you have a base of knowledge. It can be daunting to have to give a recommendation to a patron who reads a genre that you are not entirely familiar with, but Nancy armed us with valuable author lists and gave us strategies about how to go forward. Jan is compiling notes
Beth, Sarah and Heidi attended the New England Library Association conference. My number one takeaway from the conference was the need to start a signals team: 5 people, who scan for ideas; use a Google page to link & comment, and present ideas and trends quarterly to staff and trustees to make sure we are on or ahead of the curve. The keynote speaker, Garry Golden, is a futurist who assured us the books (and Batman!) would still be popular 100 years from now. He sees libraries positioning themselves more as institutions of life-long learning, and giving out micro-credentials or certifications based on our programs, and making MOOCs (Massively Open Online Classes) scalable (we tried this in Oct—no takers!). He reminded us that kids are an easy sell; we must invest in early childhood brain development & IT WILL FIX EVERYTHING ELSE. The speaker commented that libraries OWN early childhood education yet don’t know about (or how to communicate) the 30 million word gap between low and high income children that we seek to dissolve. Our 1000 Books before Kindergarten campaign that Sarah is working on will help with that. Other trends: mobility (our website is on trend), and mindfulness.
I attended a session on programming for Millennials and want to do more Library programs on Friday nights. I have reached out to the Grafton Inn and Stir Crazy for off-site programming. More to come! I also went to a Director’s roundtable to hear about succession and managing staff and buildings, and went to session on young leaders that encouraged relationship building. Above all, we were encouraged to be bold and create a culture of risk-taking. A session on the Center for the Book with all 6 New England states represented made my head explode with ideas for programs.
The Intellectual Freedom committee offered a privacy audit that was very interesting, with great policy samples to review. I won an original signed piece of art by Peter H. Reynolds that will hang in the Children’s Room as soon as I get a frame. I talked with a lot of vendors about furniture (we really need audience seating, but have no place to store it). I set up an appointment and met with a vendor to talk about RFID and self-checkout, and I spoke with several architects and learned we could renovate by scooping out stacks or building over parking lot – or both!
My NELA conference notes are online at https://twitter.com/infogdss29 and conference bloggers posted to http://nelib.org/category/nela2014/.
Susan was asked to write college application reference letters for 3 outstanding NHS volunteers!
We are launching an English Language Learners tutoring program. Susan put an ad in the paper and also on Facebook, and heard from 6 people interested in becoming involved. We then created a new volunteer application specifically for ELL tutors which was sent to those people. One has already come back, and that person has been matched with a student!
We had all of the third and fourth graders at the North Street School walk to the library to visit us this month. We saw 94 third grade students and 18 chaperones and 93 fourth grade students with 20 chaperones. The third grade classes received a library tour and the fourth grade classes elected to participate in a library scavenger hunt. Our new collection of PlayAway Views and our regular PlayAway audio books were highlighted in an attempt to raise awareness and increase circulation. Library card registration forms were sent to the school to be distributed and encourage library card sign up to those members of the third and fourth grade classes that did not have a library card. We issued 26 new cards to the third grade and 18 to the fourth grade as a result of their visit. Several children had books set aside, and then came in after school to check them out.
The Children’s Room has undergone further reorganizing in an attempt to make the best use of the space we have available and to make more room to shelve our picture book and fiction collections. We will be shifting over the next few weeks to make use of the extra space.
Library storytime programs continue through the end of October and into November. Toddler Time continues to draw in a crown of 30 or more, so we offer an additional time on Wednesday or add a session on Thursday morning when sessions resume in December.
We have received numerous requests from patrons this month requesting a changing table for the library. Families who visit with small children don’t have a place in the library to change their children and often have to cut their trip short or change their child’s diaper in the back seat of their car. In the spirit of creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for our patrons, I asked if we could purchase a table, and was given the go-ahead by Doug Willardson. We will designate the Ladies Room as a Family Restroom.
Successful teen programs held in October included: Soul Surfer Movie Night, Journal Decorating, Mini Pumpkin Decorating (an all-ages program) and Day of the Dead Skull shirts. We also had a successful Star Wars Reads Day that included origami, games, activities and giveaways from Star Wars book publishers (including posters, stickers, and trading cards). In the afternoon Star Wars expert Peter Struzziero held a symposium of Star Wars history, trivia, and a costume contest.
This month we added some new games to our video game collection. We’ve also started ordering some Xbox One and PS4 games for the new video game systems. Allison purchased a new box set of 22 books in the One Piece manga series. Next month we will be expending the “Alice in” manga series.
My favorite new teen book this month is from a series by Jasper Fforde. The series is called The Chronicles of Kazam (although it’s also referred to as The Last Dragonslayer series). The series, so far, consists of The Last Dragonslayer, The Song of the Quarkbeast, and the newly released The Eye of Zoltar. This is his first series for young adults. He’s also written the Thursday Next series, the Nursery Crime series, and Shades of Grey (which will be a series too). The teen series stars Jennifer Strange, an orphan who runs Kazam, an employment agency for sorcerers. Magic used to be important but now drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and even magic carpets are now reduced to pizza deliveries. This is a great series for teens and adults who like their worlds a little strange.
We completed the quarterly MLS delivery survey for the week of October 20-24, receiving 24 bins with 694 items and sending 23 bins out. (The 2013 survey totals for the same week were 23 bins received with 488 items and 20 bins sent.)
A report of all items with alert messages (a popup appears when the item is checked in, to alert staff to check for discs or put an item on display) was run so we can clean up old and outdated messages. Donna volunteered to take on the project, and is using the opportunity to correct any other errors she finds on the records.
This month’s fiction display is on Award Winners, featuring Man Booker Prize and National Book Award finalists from the past 5 years. The Man Booker Prize was awarded this month, and the National Book Award finalists were also announced in October. Other display topics included Harvest, Robert Frost (for the program in co-operation with the Grafton Historical Society), Cemetery (for “The Gravestone Girls” visit), Halloween, and books with pink covers, for breast cancer awareness month.
We discussed The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, at the “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group. The Adult Book Discussion book was The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay. (One of the participants said she liked it so much she read it twice). Heidi also facilitated at the Daytimers book group. We talked about The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe.
Dr. David Nowell presented a program called “A Parent’s ADHD Overview: 11 Strategies for Common Home and School Challenges.” It was well attended.
We welcomed the Gravestone Girls on October 21. The folks that turned up really seemed to enjoy themselves. The speaker said we were a very vocal group. Often the people she presents too seem to enjoy it, but are very quiet during the question and answer period. She taught us about graveyard history from Colonial times to the present, with a power point presentation of photos taken in Grafton cemeteries. It was interesting.
In October, we added 422 items. Donna continued clean-up of Picture books, and re-cataloged Caldecott award books so we could merge that collection. She worked with Susan on the alert field clean up and after the EZ collection was weeded, recataloged a number of items so series by multiple authors are together, consistently (i.e. LEGO, Star Wars are together, and all the Clifford books are under Bridwell).
- Where do Librarians file their marshmallows?
A: Under the Gooey Decimal System! Just had to throw that in there!
Speaking of marshmallows, we are happy to advertise an upcoming author visit and program focused on Marshmallows Galore by Donna Mae Pasiczniak on Saturday Nov 8.
Comments from the Public:
- I’m so glad you are patient. (about helping a lady use the internet and set up an email account).
- I think your pumpkins are cute.” (three different people said so about the pumpkins on the front steps that we carved at our staff development day, and we got several other comments as well.
- The pumpkins decorated at the mini pumpkin decorating program on October 25 and on display at the library, encouraged a patron to share her story about being encouraged to read with the use of paper dots (one of the items used to decorate the pumpkins). She got a dot for every book she read at South. She has fond memories of it, or so it seems.
- “You have one of the cleanest and nicest bathrooms in any library!”
- “Can I take a general picture of the [inside of] the library? It’s so cute. (She’s from Texas).
- “Just noticing your garden. What a good idea.”
- About the Star Wars Day when coming to collect the prizes her kids won: “It was awesome. Can’t wait for next year. We never win anything. But my kids do a lot with the library and they’ve won things, which reinforces and rewards their reading. I’m a teacher so I really appreciate it.” The cardboard cut-out they won even fits into their plan to redo her son’s bedroom in a Star Wars theme.
- “The bride outside is neat. You’ve transformed this place. I don’t want to say it’s more friendly (because it wasn’t unfriendly before)….welcoming maybe. The kids activities, it’s nice and bright and welcoming. Lots of nice things you’re doing. I don’t know how to describe the difference, but I felt I had to say something. “
- Two people have said they love the skeleton bride.
- “Was it Heidi that came up with the bride idea?”
- “You guys are wonderful.” (about computer and printing help).
- “The more I stay here, the more I want to check out.” (A lady who attended the FAIR program and then came upstairs).
- “These computers are frustrating.”
- “My computer is so slow.”
- “It’s frustrating to not be able to do what I need to do [on the computer].”
- Nov 1-30 NaNoWriMo – creative writing events for all ages!
- Sat Nov 15 – International Games Day & World of Warcraft Petting Zoo
- Tue Nov 19 2-3:30 pm Exploring Business Ownership workshop
- Nov 19 7:00 pm Fan Fiction Discussion
- Nov 18-22 Hunger Games Week – Monopoloy, Craft, & Mockingjay Book Discussion
- Mon Nov 24 6:30 pm Teen Writing Program
- Sat Nov 29 2:00 pm Last FAIR storytelling session
Circulation of library materials is down less than 2% compared to September 2014, and up 11% compared to October 2013.
OverDrive eBook downloads decreased 26% compared to September 2014, and increased 14% compared to October 2013. eAudio remained the same, but increased 36% compared to October 2013. eVideo downloads and streaming decreased by 50% compared to September 2015, but increased by 200% compared to October 2013.
Museum pass checkouts decreased 1.5% compared to September 2014 and decreased 1.5% compared to October 2013. Jan Parise is now in charge of reviewing no shows, looking for a pattern, and calling repeat offenders.
VISITORS, REFERENCE QUESTIONS & COMPUTER USE
Library visitors decreased .4%, to 6,810, compared to September 2014, and increased 53% compared to October 2013. We were a presence at Octoberfest at South Grafton Elementary School and had too many visitors to count, but did register 18 new borrowers at that event.
We answered 447 reference questions. Questions decreased 13% compared to September 2014, and increased 14% compared to October 2013.
Computer use increased 10% compared to September 2014 and increased 8% compared to October 2013. We anticipate a continued increase in use with Shrewsbury’s relocation and Auburn’s closing for renovations. We had several complaints about speed and functionality. New machines arrived at the beginning of November and will be set up ASAP. At that time, wireless will also be upgraded.
Programs increased by 242% compared to September 2014, and 392% compared to October 2013, due a steady storytime schedule, our popular First Friday with Mr. Kim, the FAIR grant, which included off-site assemblies, numerous classroom tours and visits, and a phenomenal response to our presence on Halloween. Sixteen volunteers donated 70 hours of service, including Beth Patch and her granddaughters who contributed their time to clean the garden and put up cornstalk decorations. The Sheriff’s Work Crew had 4 men donate 5 hours a day for a week, totaling an additional 20 volunteers donating 100 hours of service to clean up the grounds, paint, and relocate shelving. They were not able to get to our long list of projects and will return in the Spring. Thanks to all who donated food and snacks, and thanks to the Friends for funding several days worth of lunches for the work crew
Gale database use is up, with over 500 hits, new databases BookFlix, TrueFlix and Zinio got less than 20 searches each. I requested more bookmarks for BookFlix and TrueFlix and will provide training for staff. I have also asked for a quote to include access to the schools so we can demo and promote it there. We began promoting Zinio and have an issue with some library card barcodes reporting as already in use, and I am investigating. We used our Mango points to get some Mango Languages promotional items and are trying to come up with ways to use the incentives.
Website hits totaled 3,379—a decrease of 14% compared to October 2014. Facebook friends total 243. The Teen Facebook page appears to have stagnated, so we signed up for instagram and started posting teen events on Twitter. The Letter to the Editor got over 500 shares in November! Our posts reached 1,608 people, thanks to reposting. Information about family programs and current events seem to be very popular. We added one new Twitter follower and broke the 200 mark for Pinterest.