The Grafton Public Library, located at 35 Grafton Common, is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.– 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. A library card is free to any person who lives, works, or owns a business in Massachusetts; proof of residency is required.
BENEFITS OF THE LIBRARY
The Grafton Public Library celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017, and 90 years in its location at 35 Grafton Common. The Library loans books; magazines; audiobooks; music CDs; movies and television series on BluRay and DVD; board, card, and video games; and a variety of kits and equipment, such as a telescope, lawn games, programmable robots, and more.
The Library provides programs for children, teens, and adults, including an all-ages summer reading program, seven story-time sessions per week, Dungeons and Dragons once a month for teens, and five book-discussion groups for adults; free public access word processing and internet access; online tutoring daily from 3–9 p.m. via Tutor.com; test proctoring; reference and research assistance in person, by email, and by phone; home-bound delivery service; one-on-one technology help; access to a scanner, laminator, paper shredder, and other office supplies; faxing and photocopying for a fee; streaming music and movies via our Hoopla database; online art and music instruction via ArtistWorks; eBooks (including eAudio) via OverDrive, Hoopla, BookFlix and ComicsPlus; online access to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette; and access to 52.5 million items statewide via the Commonwealth Catalog online at commonwealthcatalog.org/.
2017 STATS AT A GLANCE
• 77,099 visitors — down 6.7% compared to 2016
• 10,164 library card holders — up 1% compared to 2016
• 11,704 program attendees — down 13% compared to 2016
• 477 programs — down 13% compared to 2016
• 139,627 physical items circulated — down 3% compared to 2016
• 16,494 digital items circulated — up 17% compared to 2016
• 2,771 museum passes picked up — up 136% compared to 2016
• 6,590 computer users — up 35% compared to 2016
• 5,689 reference questions — up 1.4% compared to 2016
• 29,830 website visitors — up 18% compared to 2016
• 46,716 website hits — down 9.2% compared to 2016
Visitors and program attendance decreased due to fewer summer programs offered and many programs held offsite; this also affects circulation of items. Although circulation of physical items (such as books, music, and movies) decreased by 3%, digital item circulation increased by 17%.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
The Grafton Public Library’s operating budget cost taxpayers $42.28 per resident in FY2018. Given that the price of the average hardcover book for adults is about $30, using the Library saves patrons a lot of money. You can calculate the value of your household’s library use online at ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/makingthecase/library_calculator.
At year end, there were 48,820 items in the collection. This remains insufficient to meet the demand of borrowers. Also, at 2.6 items per capita, Grafton remains below the 5.5 items per capita minimum standard for public library service in a town of Grafton’s size; this baseline standard for public library service was established by Wisconsin in 2010 and is used as a national standard. In 2017, patrons requested 22,382 items from other libraries in the C/W MARS network, a 4.2% decrease from 2016. The value of Grafton Public Library items circulated in 2017 was $1,613,251.42.
We continue to make progress on objectives outlined in the 2016–2020 Strategic Plan. The plan, online at graftonlibrary.org/lrp, identified 53 objectives. The Trustees’ annual review of the strategic plan was deemed to be ambitious and on target. In 2018, we will implement a comparative religions lecture series, the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading incentive program, and technology workshops for the public.
In 2017, the Library accomplished the following:
• Offered 58 summer programs for 2,843 participants of all ages and increased summer reading participation.
• Added passes to Old Sturbridge Village and offered free passes to the New England Aquarium and Museum of Science, thanks to a generous donation via the Friends of the Grafton Public Library.
• Partnered with the Grafton Food Bank to offer two amnesty periods (July–August and November–December), allowing patrons to donate non-perishable goods in lieu of cash. This is repeated annually.
• Partnered with Willard House & Clock Museum, UniBank, Grafton Recreation Department, and Busy Bee Academy for off-site story times.
• Partnered with scout troops, the National Honor Society, and teens on donation initiatives for pets and clothing.
• Partnered with Friends of the Grafton Library on Community Reads.
• Partnered with Recreation Department on Fun in the Sun & Scarecrow Contest.
• Partnered with Grafton Public Schools on Parent Teacher nights, Community Reads Day, EdCamp, library visits, and Summer Reading.
• Participated in Town-wide initiatives such as National Night Out, Grafton Celebrates the Holidays, and Halloween trick or treating.
• Celebrated Jerome Wheelock’s birthday and the Library’s 90th anniversary with a Gala on the Common, assisted by Boy Scout Troop 107.
• Coordinated 37 volunteers who donated 1,966 hours of service.
• Launched a Capital Campaign–donations are accepted at any UniBank location.
A 24/7 DIGITAL LIBRARY BRANCH
In addition to offering eBooks, music, movies, and online learning at graftonlibrary.org/, the Library continues to increase its social media presence across multiple platforms. Friend or follow the Grafton Public Library on the following sites:
AN EXCITING FUTURE
The MA Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) Grant was completed and submitted in January 2017; at a special Town Meeting in January 2017, residents voted for the Library to have jurisdiction over some of the adjacent acreage at 90 Upton Street for purposes of Library expansions.
At May Town Meeting, residents voted to accept the preliminary building design, which includes meeting rooms, quiet study rooms, a teen space, a children’s program room, a quiet reading room, and ample parking.
Voters also approved raising and appropriating matching funding, moving the question to ballot for the May Election. The Library funding question passed on May 16, 2017. In July 2017, the Town of Grafton was awarded a provisional grant by the MA Board of Library Commissioners to cover 51% of the estimated eligible costs.
The Library Planning and Building Committee is in process of hiring an Owner’s Project Manager to develop a borrowing schedule and hire an architect for design drawings so we can go out to bid for a construction company before the end of the year. We anticipate breaking ground in Spring 2019 and completing the project at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. More information about the grant, the construction process, and preliminary design is online at graftonlibrary.org/thetimeisnow.
GRANTS and GIFTS
As mentioned previously, the Town of Grafton was awarded a provisional grant of $7.4 million by the MA Board of Library Commissioners, to cover 51% of the estimated eligible costs of the $16.6 million dollar library renovation and expansion project.
The Library received $10,000.00 in contributions from the Friends for marketing, programs, and staff hospitality. The Friends membership reached 172 members. The Friends hosted the annual Spring Egg Hunt, and several Down Under Book Sales and a end-of-year raffle. Library tote bags are still available for sale at the Library as an ongoing fundraiser.
The Library made the following building improvements in 2017:
• Contracted with Blackburn Construction to repair and restore the four columns on the portico at the Main Entrance (work halted due to weather and will resume in Spring 2018).
• Installed new routers and upgraded the cable modem.
• Performed annual maintenance of air conditioning and heating units, fire alarm system, lift, fire extinguishers, boiler and hot water heater.
• Added a fairy garden and stepping stones to the formal garden beds and maintained the Library’s vegetables and herb garden.
• Painted public restrooms and corridors.
In 2017, 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. This baseline standard for public library service was established by Wisconsin in 2010 and is used as a national standard. The expanded facility will require hiring a facilities manager and custodian.
All staff members 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 three half days in 2017.
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 due to leave time, illness, outreach, and professional development. Increased demand for library services leaves staffing the building thin on some night and weekend shifts. Our summer reading program survey revealed a huge interest for more programming. These are areas that, with help from the town, we hope to address.
Eight members of the Friends of the Library provided 137 volunteer hours managing the Down Under Book Store.
Town By-laws require each department to disclosed expenditures over $1,000.00; the Library spent over $1,000.00 with the following
vendors in 2017:
Ingram Library Services (books & media) $47,871.63
C/W MARS network (catalog, delivery) $20,637.00
Midwest Tapes (media) $11,403.32
Amazon.com $ 9,784.01
Kearsage (electric) $ 5,250.34
Quality Books $ 4,207.89
W.B. Mason (supplies) $ 4,129.37
Xerox Corporation (copier lease) $ 4,000.24
Drummey Rosane Anderson, Architects (testing) $ 3,540.00
Basch Subscriptions (magazines) $ 3,424.76
National Grid (electricity) $ 3,302.86
OverDrive (ebooks) $ 3,278.22
Gale (large print books) $ 3,181.33
Renaud HVAC $ 3,170.00
Recorded Books (materials) $ 3,071.40
Tutor.com (database) $ 3,000.00
N*Star $ 2,947.67
Bartlett Tree Service $ 2,267.00
ProQuest (databases) $ 2,044.00
Staples Advantage (supplies) $ 1,882.25
Town of Shrewsbury (Worcester T&G online) $ 1,818.40
Penworthy Company (books) $ 1,675.64
The Creative Company (books) $ 1,609.70
Scholastic (BookFlix database) $ 1,633.00
Plymouth Rocket (software) $ 1,450.00
Allison Cusher (reimbursements) $ 3,662.50
EBSCO (database) $ 1,360.00
Verizon (phone/alarm/fax lines) $ 1,232.83
ABDO $ 1,114.35
DEMCO (supplies) $ 1,065.95
Koopmans (supplies) $ 1,065.09
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Thank you so much to the residents of Grafton for supporting our application for the MA Public Library Construction program grant. Not only did voters approve putting adjacent land under Board of Library Trustees jurisdiction, they also approved the preliminary design and funding for the project—and all before we received notification we had received the grant! In September, the Board of Selectman voted to accept the provisional grant as good faith and agreed to borrow the full amount with the understanding that reimbursements will not arrive until our turn on the wait list comes up in 2020/2021 (depending on if other libraries ahead of us get their funding passed at their Town meetings/elections). This means the project is officially considered to be “Under Construction” by the MA Board of Library Commissioners and the Library will able to break ground—and possibly complete the project—well ahead of schedule, which will help keep the costs down.
As of January 2018, we are anticipating that the project will be complete by December 2020, with a grand reopening celebration of our renovated, expanded, 21st century library planned for January 2021. Please continue to share feedback as we move into the design phase, and anticipate revisions within the scope of the building program to be revealed at Town Meeting in May 2018. I look forward to seeing you at the Library soon!
Elizabeth S. Gallaway,