The Grafton Public Library, located at 35 Grafton Common, is open Monday through Thursday from 10am-9pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am-5pm. A Library card is FREE to any resident in Massachusetts.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Funded at just over 1% of the Town budget, the Grafton Library is pleased to provide superior return on investment of your tax dollars! The Grafton Public Library’s operating budget will cost taxpayers $35.68 per resident in FY2017.
At year end, there were 47,396 items in the collection. This is insufficient to meet demand, and at 2.6 items per capita, is well below the 4.8 items per capita baseline standard for public library service in a town of Grafton’s size; unfortunately we lack the space to maintain an excellent retrospective collection, and the budget to purchase all items in demand. In 2016, patrons requested 23,382 items from other libraries in the C/W MARS network, a 6.5% increase from 2015.
The Library facility continued to be a challenge in terms of space, accessibility, seating, parking and noise. Capital projects brought forward in November included brick repair and repointing, self-check, window repair and deleading, and automated materials handler. Much the year was spent preparing the MA Public Library Construction Program grant application, which if successful, would fund 40-55% of a library expansion and renovation project.
STATS AT A GLANCE
• 82,633 visitors ↑ 12%
• 13,562 program attendees ↑ 45%
• 139,627 items circulated ↑ .6%
• 14,101 digital items circulated ↑ 22%
• 1,173 museum passes picked up ↑ 14%
• 10,056 library card holders ↓ .38%
• 7,306 items added ↑ 10%
• 4,873 Computer Users ↑ 7%
• 5,610 Reference Questions ↑ 12%
• 551 programs ↑ 21%
• 25,288 website visitors ↓ 3%
• 51,459 website hits ↑ 1%
Physical circulation of items increased by less than 1%, but digital items increased by 22%. Visitors, programs, items added, computer use, reference questions, museum pass use, and website hits have all increased, while number of Grafton library card holders decreased by less than 1%.
The formulation and acceptance of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan prioritized six roles for the Grafton Public Library:
- Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces. Residents will have safe and welcoming physical places to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read and will have open and accessible virtual spaces that support networking.
- Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning.
Residents will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest and continue to learn throughout their lives.
- Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing, and Listening for Pleasure. Residents who want materials to enhance their leisure time will find what they want when and where they want them and will have the help they need to make choices from among the options.
- Create Young Readers: Early Literacy. Children from birth to five will have programs and services designed to ensure that they will enter school ready to learn to read, write, and listen.
- Know Your Community: Community Resources and Services. Residents will have a central source for information about the wide variety of programs services, and activities provided by community agencies and organizations.
- Celebrate Diversity: Cultural Awareness. Residents will have programs and services that promote appreciation and understanding of their personal heritage and the heritage of others in the community.
The plan, online at graftonlibrary.org/lrp, identified 53 objectives to meet the following four goals:
Goal I: Provide access to excellent collections of materials in a variety of formats, reading levels, and interests, for all ages.
Goal II: Deliver well-rounded, patron-centric, and forward-thinking services to engage visitors from birth to adulthood.
Goal III: Create loyal, enthusiastic fans of the Library that become our promoters, champions and advocates.
Goal IV: Provide an up-to-date, attractive, adaptable facility that is appropriate for the size, scope and needs of our diverse community.
The strategic plan, reviewed annually, showed at year-end review that we are on target.
The Summer Program exploded this year, with:
- 3,149 participants of all ages, including 2,177 kids at programs;
- 140 teens, up 40% from 2015;
- 759 kids, up 185% from 2015;
- 290 adults, up 625% from 2015;
- 150 programs ranged from Yoga workshops, Night Sky pop-up planetarium, Coding with Minecraft, Mr. Kim in concert, and many crafternoons;
- 12 end of summer reading prizes given away
- 8 storytimes in the park;
- 50 bags of food were donated to the Grafton Food Bank in lieu of library fines;
- 20 pints of blood were donated to Boston Children’s Hospital; 4 bee hives were purchased for Heifer International;
- $84 donated to Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton collected from penny voting for Heifer International.
In addition, the Library:
- Completed annual patron database cleanup.
- Recataloged items to make it easier for patrons to find books in a series.
- Continued to discard damaged, old, inaccurate, and duplicate materials that were not circulating, as space is at a premium.
- Added passes to Southwick Zoo and Davis Farmland;
- Added Hoopla, an online streaming media service;
- Partnered with the Grafton Food Bank to offer two amnesty periods (June-August and November-December), allowing patrons to donate non-perishable goods in lieu of cash.
- Partnered with Willard House & Clock Museum, UniBank, and Grafton Recreation Department for off-site storytimes;
- Partnered with local scouts on dental hygiene, brain exercise, sensory garden, and other initiatives;
- Partnered with local schools to promote summer reading and provide STEAM themed kits for PreK-gr 2;
- Coordinated 49 regular volunteers and a number of non-recurring volunteers, who donated 1,719 hours of service, a 22% increase.
Keeping up with failing systems is an ongoing challenge. The Library made the following building improvements in 2016:
- Improved air conditioning and heating in the throughout the Library;
- Upgraded wireless access throughout the Library;
- Replacement of rotted pipe in the kitchen;
- Performed annual maintenance of air conditioning and heating units, fire alarm system, lift, fire extinguishers, boiler and hot water heater.
In 2016, the Library had 11 FTE and continued to fall short of the lowest baseline standard for public library service of 13.8 FTE for a population of 10,000-24,999 residents.
Valerie Evans resigned her 24-hour position due to scheduling conflicts but agreed to stay on-call for emergency coverage; we split the position into two 12-hour positions. Cyndi Zarriello and Sandhya Shenoy were hired to fill those positions.
Teen Librarian Allison Cusher continued on the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers book selection committee. Many books that Allison received gratis for review and consideration for her committee’s book list were added to the Library collection, donated to the Grafton High School Library, and provided to teens in the community.
All staff met their commitment to maintain their skills by attending professional development sessions on topics ranging from eBooks to reader’s advisory to marketing. The Library was closed for professional development for 3 half days in 2015.
Due to the amount of off desk and outreach work required to complete job duties, we struggle to meet Board of Library Trustees policy of two people per service desk during all service hours. Increased demand for library services still leaves staffing the building thin on some night and weekend shifts.
This year, due to non-benefit staff taking non-paid leave time, we experimented with substitute staff with great success; we are not able to cover all 1,200 hours of leave time, and this figure does not include unanticipated sick time, just personal/vacation time. We reviewed Sunday hours at a Trustees meeting, but need 100% coverage for 58 hours during the week, first.
GRANTS and GIFTS
The Library received over $10,000 in grants. We completed a LSTA Full STEAM Ahead grant to develop science and art themed kits for preschools and daycares, STEM/STEAM themed programs for preschoolers, valued at $7,500.00 for performer and materials. The Library received a $1,000 grant from the State Historical Access Board (SHRAB) to put historical documents such as annual reports and newspapers into acid free storage boxes. The Library received $2,500 from UniBank for two wireless initiatives which will roll out in 2017: circulating WiFi hotspots, including a portable digital projector that is a WiFi hotspot, and implementation of Boopsie, an integrated mobile app that pulls together Library information, a searchable catalog, links to databases and digital resources, and the online event calendar.
Memorial donations in memory of former trustee and longtime Library advocate Henry Saylor Poler are still being accepted by the Friends of the Library. Donations and bequests are always welcome! Contact Beth Gallaway, Library Director, at 508-839-4649 x1105.
The Library received numerous contributions from the Friends for marketing, programs, and staff hospitality. The Friends membership reached 169 members. The Friends hosted a Paint N Sip fundraiser, the annual Spring Egg Hunt, and several Down Under Book Sales. Bookbags are now available for sale at the Library as an ongoing fundraiser.
The Library spent over $1,000.00 with the following vendors in 2016:
Ingram Library Services $28,472.17
C/W MARS network $16,537.00
Renaud HVAC $16,364.75
Findaway World $14,261.01
Midwest Tapes (media) $14,074.00
Kearsage (electric) $6,961.64
National Glass Works $6,429.00
Gale (large print books) $5,210.33
W.B. Mason (supplies) $4,096.71
Recorded Books (materials) $3,689.50
Basch Subscriptions (magazines) $3,557.08
Staples Advantage (supplies) $3,791.53
Midwest Tapes (database) $3,000.00
Xerox Corporation $2,839.32
Allison Cusher (reimbursements) $3,494.25
Proquest (databases) $1,979.00
Town of Shrewsbury (database) $1,763.22
National Grid (electricity) $1,615.23
The Creative Company $1,612.22
Scholastic (books) $1,555.00
Jesse Dowd $1,480.00
Gareth Stevens Publishing $1,418.50
Verizon (phone/alarm/fax lines) $1,260.63
Quality Books $1,233.73
Charter Cable (Internet & Wi-Fi) $1,080.00
Rourke Educational Media $1,023.60
A 24/7 DIGITAL LIBRARY BRANCH
In addition to offering eBooks, music, movies, and online learning at graftonlibrary.org/digital, the Library increased its social media presence across multiple platforms. You can now friend or follow the Grafton Public Library on the following sites:
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
The Grafton Public Library, established in 1876, moved into a dedicated facility at 35 Grafton Common in 1927. The Georgian building featured a vaulted main reading room, Board Room, Director’s office, and basement level meeting space. Subsequent renovations and capital projects relocated the Children’s Corner into the meeting space, repointed brick walls, repaired the cupola and damaged ceiling, replaced water-damaged carpeting, increased electrical amperage, and added furniture and shelving to accommodate the growing collections and population.
We are grateful to the Town for support in CPA and CPC funds for the renovation completed in June 2013 that made part of the building ADA-compliant by adding a LULA and accessible entrance and restroom. This project additionally brought fire protection, safety and security systems up to code. Ice dam damage required repairs in the Main Reading Room and Director’s office in 2015, and the staff kitchen underwent some renovations in 2015 as well.
We are in the unique position to take advantage of a grant award from tax funds already collected for the purpose of library renovations in the commonwealth. In January 2017, we submitted a grant application with a proposal to remove 3,390 square feet of stacks and add 22,597 square feet of new space, for a total of 25,987 square feet to benefit the current population of 18,155 residents, projected by CMRPC to grow to 22,122 by 2035.
The proposed project includes 134 reader seats, shelving to accommodate 20 year growth, and enough parking to serve the community. Thanks to the Town for appropriating $75,000 for DRA Architects to facilitate planning and design, including 3 community forums. These meetings, along with five focus groups, helped us to prioritize a flexible meeting room, tutoring/quiet study rooms, a teen area, a youth services program room, climate-controlled space for historical collections, dedicated staff office space, and self-checkout stations. The submitted design includes a rooftop patio and gardens to extend the proposed facility by providing outdoor space to read, connect, and reflect.
We have been in need of more space for well over thirty years. Our efficiency and excellent service may be underscoring the need for an updated, upgraded facility worthy of the Town’s educated, inquisitive, engaged residents. In my short tenure, the statistics I provide on a monthly and annual basis demonstrate the vitality of your local public library.
I hope you will attend subsequent Town Meetings to learn about and vote on this important project. Whatever the outcome in 2017, I look forward to serving you, and thank you for your continued support.
Elizabeth S. Gallaway,