July was jam-packed with summer reading programs and building issues. The ice damage repair has added confusion to staff and patrons when it comes to where programs are located. Many afternoon programs have been moved to the Grafton Municipal Center because we are not sure when construction will be happening. We can’t move all programs to the Municipal Center because our movie license is only for the Library property, and weekend programs at the Municipal Center require paying for after-hours custodial coverage, and is pending availability. Both the Police Department and Fire Station One were willing to host daytime programs is they had a room and staff available.
One challenge with offsite programs is that it can be difficult to foresee in advance everything that a program will need when moving it to the Municipal Center because you can’t run to get extra supplies. We are also limited in ability to promote and market the collection with display and materials checkout off site. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding during the construction. To see what upcoming programs will be held off-site, please visit www.graftonlibrary.org/events.
As mentioned at the July meeting, one of our children’s room employees began experiencing difficulty breathing while working in the Children’s Room at the end of June. Renaud HVAC checked the A/C units in the children’s room and confirmed that they were cleaned with water. The tech recommended running it on the Dry setting in the Children’s room to assist with eliminating moisture.
We ordered a new dehumidifier to add to the efforts of the HVAC unit, and an air filter. We filed a MIIA claim and removed the staff member from the Children’s Room to work elsewhere, but the allergic/asthmatic reaction does not seem to be isolated. We did have air quality testing via MBLC from August 2014-January 2015; a review of the report reveals wild fluctuations in temp and humidity but little evidence for the probability of mold growth. I brought in an air quality company that can test for mold and spores, animal droppings and other allergens at the end of July, and a full report should be available before our August 5 meeting. Mike from Cardon did identify some possible spots in the staff kitchen and near the window where the ice dam water damage was; Bob Berger and Chris Caron have been alerted so we can clean it up. The report is attached and a copy was forwarded to MIIA as well.
Repair work on the ice dam damage is scheduled for August with the project to be completed by end of September Programs for all ages in September may be limited due to the availability (and noise level) in our facility. The contractor, ReBuildx, needs to pull 2 permits to complete the work.
Independent contractors had to be hired to build A/C boxes. It is almost August and we still do not have A/C for the mezzanine. It is mostly comfortable in the main stacks and that is not generally a place people sit and hang out, as they do upstairs. Incidentally, we have only recorded 2 complaints about the heat, and that was in June before fans were placed upstairs.
I have also hired a contractor to replace the emergency exit door, which was noted as having cracks and gaps last fall. It is warped beyond repair. I think the Library needs a facilities manager, as waiting for the Building department to assign maintenance requests is very slow, and it seems the onsite custodial staff is not available to complete all of the duties that a public building of this size, scope and age requires.
Additional directional signage for the accessible restroom, LULA, van parking, and family restroom was ordered from the Library Renovation account. I also ordered directional signage to replace old paper signs, and Sunshine Signs installed signage throughout the building on July 27, including a Van Parking sign that was a holdout on the punch list from the renovation project, and vinyl lettering for the door with Library hours. Sunshine will return in a few weeks to move the hours sign to the parking lot entrance. We changed the ladies room to a Family Restroom, are adding a transgender icon to the accessible washroom sign.
A doorbell for the LULA and back door was ordered; waiting on installation. A changing table and toddler safety seat were (finally!) ordered for the Family Restroom, formerly the ladies room.
The door restoration went out to bid Monday June 20. Rob from Heritage Restoration attended the Q&A walkthrough scheduled on July 31. Thanks to Beth P for assisting with paperwork and locating potential bidders from the State Historical Commission’s list. We alerted a number of contractors to attempt to procure three quotes for the job. I shared this update with the Grafton Historical Commission for their next meeting.
The gardens are beginning to fruit! The strawberries are small and tart, blueberries are beginning to ripen, radishes are ready, cukes and tomatoes are growing fast, summer squash is ready to harvest, the sunflowers are shooting up and the herbs are magnificent. We will harvest and make a small donation for the food bank the last week of the month. Thank you to our volunteers and to Beth Patch for replanting and watering. Patron comments included “Who takes care of all the flowers? Very nice!” and “The petunias are so beautiful.”
We finished the budget year with nearly every dime spent. All FY 15 encumbrances were approved. An invoice located in a box of materials ordered June 30 and shipped after July 1 was not discovered until nearly August; I would like to request the Trustees cover the $640 invoice from Sebco for Children’s Materials from the State Aid budget. FY 16 allocations have been assigned.
We checked out 14,355 items in July, an increase of 19% compared to June 2015, and a decrease of 4% compared to July 2014. We were able to fulfill 17 out of 32 CLIO requests (items not at any library in the state. We purchased 5 of the 15 we did not own, and the other 10 were either too new, or not published in the requested format.
Diane Libbey and Doug Willardson met with me and Rosemary Waltos from MBLC to discuss the construction grant timeline. I will have to rewrite/edit the 2005 building program. Tim McInerney will act as OPM for the planning and design portion of the project, and we will hire an OPM for the construction phase. We decided to go out to bid for the planning piece, so we have a concrete number for Town Meeting in October. The RFP for architectural design services is online at http://www.grafton-ma.gov/Public_Documents/GraftonMA_AdminUpdates/Library%20Arch%20RFP%207-28-2015.pdf. A pre-bid walkthrough is scheduled for Wednesday August 19 at 10am, with proposals due by 10am September 4.
Focus Groups have been planned for Saturday August 22 at 10am, Thursday August 27 at 7pm, and Saturday August 29 at 1pm as part of the teen Nerdfighters program. I will add two more in other locations in town in early September. Library surveys are being included at all Library programs, and in the National Night Out packet. Doug W will get a Library Building Committee request to Ray Mead, Town Moderator.
We will have several items on the warrant for October Town Meeting, including a permission to apply for, accept and expend grants; vote to raise and appropriate funds for architectural design services.
Donna’s computer was replaced, just before she went on vacation. Beth P’s laptop was set up but isn’t connecting to the network, and the problem has been passed on to IT. Additionally, Beth is having an email issue due to using Outlook on multiple profiles/computers when we do not have roaming profiles. We are working to resolve the laptop issue and in the meantime I have suggested she use Outlook email solely on her machine, and the web browser version when she does not have access to her laptop.
A new copier/printer/fax/scanner with full color printing up to 11×17” paper arrived and we are still waiting for a longer network cable so we can connect patron computers.
Outreach and Partnerships
Heidi set up a table at the Farmers Market three times this month and interacted with a total of 61 adults, 40 kids and 6 young adults. While it can be challenging to send a staff member across the street and staff the circulation desks, it’s a wonderful opportunity to interact with people outside of the Library setting. One week, the hired musician at the Farmers Market said Heidi was the most involved librarian she’s ever met, and followed up the next week to ask if she could take a selfie with her and if she could post it on her blog (Heidi said sure, especially if she says that Heidi is the Reference Librarian at the Grafton Public Library). She said she loves libraries and also said “You’re my hero” because she was a bookworm as a kid. She gave Heidi her card and Heidi emailed her a thank you and a few book suggestions. She responded: “It was nice to meet a real live hero and see how much you can inspire people to read. People talk behind your back at the market – about how wonderful it is to see someone sparking so much interest in the library. So keep up the wonderful and much-needed work! Thank you for the book recommendations; … It’s great to get a summer reading list as an adult! ;-)” Heidi was only at the Market for an hour one of her visits, but the next time she was in the Children’s Room, she saw a mother and daughter she had talked with on the Common. The mom credited the interaction at the Farmer’s Market with why they were hanging out in the Children’s Room having such a good time.
I attended a second community forum to brainstorm a community wide calendar. We are waiting for a meeting with Tim to discuss adding this calendar to the Town website.
Our Willard House partnership continued in July. We were invited to have a table and activity at their September Harvest program, and accepted.
Food for Fines continues through August 31. I brought 20 bags of food to the Food Bank on July 22. A volunteer has offered to pick up on the 29th and 5th. Please check out the Food Bank’s new website at http://www.graftonfoodbank.org/ and like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/graftonfoodbank. Although there is not a school supply drive this summer, we are accepting them in September, simply as a drop off location, and will pass them along to Cradles to Crayons, Project New Hope, or a similar organization.
Long Range Plan
A worksheet to fill in with goals and objectives was sent to all staff. I received suggestions back from 1 person. A copy is in your packet for August and it is due at the September Trustee meeting.
Grants & Gifts
I drafted the SHRAB grant asking for 50% of the cost of acid free boxes for newspapers and monographs to be covered, and shared with Doug. I need a letter from the Board approving the project. We received THREE grants this month:
- $400.00 from Tufts for STEAM themed programming. It will cover the cost of Toto the Tornado Kitten’s visit this summer. We also intended to hire Messy Fingers to do a preschool art and science program, but the provider has moved away. Sarah is researching other alternatives and has been in touch with Tufts to discuss the change to our application.
- $4,995.00 from MIIA to cover the cost of installing a security system in the Library.
- $7,500.00 from MBLC for the LSTA Full STEAM Ahead application, provisional upon funding and the letter of agreement which should arrive in August, with a check to follow. Our programs for the grant begin in October 2015.
I attended a MIIA provided training on communicating well under stress. One helpful piece of advice is to sit with things that make you upset; you don’t always need to have all your cards on the table. I have met with half the staff for reviews and goal-setting for next year.
More new volunteers began in August; we welcome and thank Anagha, Aarthi, Jillian, & Olivia! The Friends were approached to help stuff bags for National Night Out and 4 people offered to help.
July started off with a bang as we jumped right into our summer reading program, Every Hero Has a Story. Our Summer Reading Kickoff program was a celebration of heroes! We had a Justice League bounce house, many fun lawn and carnival games for children, 3 special superhero visitors who signed autographs and posed for pictures, face & nail painting courtesy of the wonderful girls in troop 30161, and food from Bushel ‘N Peck and Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza! We saw over 170 visitors and gave away 43 prizes.
Due to damage sustained during the difficult winter, many of the children’s programs had to be moved to the Municipal Center while repairs were being made. While some patrons were happy that the relocation allowed for more room to spread out, others expressed disappointment about being unable to attend programs at the Library. One benefit what that the presenter and staff were not pulled away from the program to respond to circulation and reference needs; it was nice for Sarah and Allison to be able to focus on facilitating the program. Some of the programs had a lower than expected number of participants due to the confusion over location and roadwork that lead the closure of Providence Road. The Drawing Superheroes session with Theresa Monteith was impacted the strongest, with only two children attending her wonderful drawing workshop (7 children had registered).
The Animal Superheroes program was well-attended, with both sessions filling thanks to a last-minute PR push, and the Firefighters Community Storytime was a big hit! The Animal Helpers and Police ones were a success, as well.
Summer Stories in the park is drawing a steady crowd of storytime enthusiasts! Attendees want to continue into the fall. The children and caregivers settle in for fun stories as they enjoy their picnic lunches, followed by playing on one of the many Grafton playgrounds. Our attendance for this program has been running around 17 per session.
Silly Science at UniBank has a small but mighty following of young scientists! We have been getting a solid group of around 5 children each week. They have enjoyed a wide range of hands-on activities from building with marshmallows and toothpick, practicing their counting and addition skills with a fun game involving jumbo dice, and talking about symmetry and creating their own symmetrical art with paper and paint.
Each week, the children have been treated to a number of costumed characters for photo op and autograph signing. The month started off with a bang as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl joined up for our summer kickoff and was followed by the appearance of Iron Man and Ms. Marvel.
We have been working hard to provide more programming to the 8-12 age group and have upped the offerings to at least 2 per week this summer. Some of the activities we planned were superhero characters made with perler beads, duct tape swim bags and pencil cases, LEGO marble mazes, nail art with Nina Park, and more. Sarah is happy to have the opportunity to provide more targeted program to school-aged children this summer, and has even had visitors attend from surrounding towns.
Requests recorded in July include more programming for 7 year olds, many favorable comments on organized summer reading books, a request to continue Storytime in the Park (6 roving sessions), and a comment “it is hard to read in here” not sure if that referred to seating, lighting, or noise/distraction, or some combination of all three. “A successful trip to the library this morning, after storytime…” commented one mom, who left with museum passes, DVD, and a German audio on hold.
Teen librarian Allison is busy with our most ambitious summer reading ever! Movie nights have been popular. Teens had a chance earlier this year to vote on the superhero movies shown. At each movie night one lucky teen goes home with a $10 movie gift card, provided by the Friends of the Library.
Crafternoons are another favorite. Teens have created their own custom shields, perler bead designs, book hedgehogs and more. Allison created a Batgirl hedgehog that is on display at the Circulation Desk.
The teen candy taste test was a delicious success. This is a program that Allison will probably repeat with a different set of candy. “I did get to try wax bottles for the first time–thankfully some teens had had them before because I wasn’t even sure how to eat it!” says Allison. Teens were all over the place on their favorite and least favorite candies. I think the only thing they agreed on was that they didn’t like the Mary Jane’s or Bit’O’Honey.
Our two biggest teen programs were Nail Art with Nina Park and the teen Spa Night. Award-winning nail artist Nina Park taught teens (and had separate programs for tweens and adults) different nail art techniques. Each teen had one nail on each hand painted by Nina and were invited to paint the rest of their nails using her amazing stash of colors, finishes and tools. Popular choices included paisley, palm trees, and galaxy designs. At Spa Night we had 16 girls create bath bombs, a lip balm, and decorated a sleep mask and nail file. Although it was a messy event, everyone had a great time.
Other programs held so far include: History of Comics, Mandala Coloring, Card Making Workshop, Scrapbooking, Puzzle Piece Art, Knitting, and two comic book documentary showings. No one attended the History of Comics and Scrapbooking workshop.
The teen offerings have been so popular with children and adults we deliberately offered all-ages sessions or multiple sessions for many programs. We had a lot of requests for youth to move up into the teen program, which were denied for content, developmental, and scope of services reasons. If we have 7, 8 and 9 year olds attended teen programs, teens won’t attend. The Children’s Room is consistently adhering to age guidelines as well.
For the YA book of the month, Allison recommends Yoga for Your Mind and Body: A Teenage Practice for a Healthy, Balanced Life by Rebecca Rissman. This book presents yoga technique and poses to promote brain power, stress relief, strength and fitness. This is a great book for anyone looking to try yoga. It’s easy to follow with step-by-step how-tos.
640 items were added in July, which is remarkable as Donna didn’t have a computer for a good portion of the month! Eileen investigating going back to Rivistas for our periodical supplier, as they seem to fulfill more of our subscriptions than Basch, the company on the MHEC list.
The MA Statewide eBook project is nearly ready to go with two of the three partners live. Please visit www.ebooksforeveryone.org for a link to the Boston Public Library’s eCard program, that allows access to their OverDrive catalog, databases and more, plus a link to the new Commonwealth eBook Collection, or CEC. This is unique to MA and a collaboration and resource sharing effort that is cutting edge and a source of pride! The collect includes Axis 360, which contains bestsellers provided from book wholesaler Baker & Taylor, and Biblioboards, which offers primary resource documents, curated history collections, and eBooks from several publishers including Dark Horse comics! Soon to join the trio is EBL, a collection of recently published nonfiction that ranges from academic topics lime economics and architecture to art, coloring and craft books, all in downloadable, printable PDF format. Access CEC directly at http://ebooks.masslibsystem.org/; a MA library card is required.
The July Spotlight on fiction display is themed Horror. Heidi created additional displays for Summer Reading: Heroes and
Summer Reads (by patron request—she liked last year’s display!), Summer Food, in honor of National Grilling Month, National Hotdog Month, and National Ice Cream Month, and National Park and Recreation Month.
The “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group met to discuss V is for Villain by Peter Moore, the “Reads Well with Others” Adult Book Discussion group met to discuss The Heroines by Eileen Favorite; the Daytimers book group read Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment. The “Inspirational Book Club” discussed Optimal Living 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life by Sanjay Jain.
Heidi proctored a college exam for a patron.
We offered a number of Summer Reading programs this month including “History of Comics,” Mandala Coloring, Nail Art, a Greeting Card Workshop, Bloodmobile, Scrapbooking, a viewing of the documentary “Superheroes Unmasked”, Saturday Afternoon Knitting, and Puzzle Piece Workshop. The August 1 Murder Mystery Party was cancelled due to low enrollment. One adult requested we repeat the screening of “Necessary Evil,” the documentary on DC comic villains for adults. About the SRP for Adults, one patron commented, “the Library sure has changed since 1978” [when she first built her house here and started coming to the library. We had 27 people donate blood during the blood drive.
Comments from the Public:
- A teacher taking a graduate level class, praised Heidi because she took the time to find copies of the text books she needs for a class that starts Monday. The patron was going away over the weekend and wanted to get a start on her reading while out of town, so she couldn’t wait for ILLs. She was very appreciative of the help. She said Librarians are so helpful. She also praised Heidi to the librarian at the Medford Public Library when she went to get one of the books she needed.
- A patron called Jan “sweet” for helping her figure out the title of a book she read (The Shoemaker’s Wifeby Adriana Trigiani) so she could read more books by the person. Jan took down the information the person could remember, and called her back about an hour later to ask if she’d found the right book. Jan offered to get the next book in the series on audio for her as well. The patron really appreciated her help.
- A patron praised Marilyn’s service ethic and warm welcoming persona; she took the time to group cards, take care of fines, etc for one family.
- This spring a retired teacher had asked for help finding artwork of decorative and useful punched tin items from Colonial times for a Colonial Days presentation he was doing at a school. He was in this month to use our paper cutter and told Heidi that he appreciated all of my efforts. What she found for him in our books was the perfect picture for his presentation. He brought it up.
- “I just moved to Grafton and can walk to the Common. I’m super excited that I can walk to the library to study.”
- “Thank you for doing all the great programs you do.”
- “I place holds to go to Shrewsbury because they come in a day or two faster.”
- “The library is magic.”
- “What a good librarian.” (when we left the patron’s record open, figuring the person would be back).
- There was a noise complaint during the cape making workshop on July 11thand the person was offered ear plugs.
- Lots of compliments on “super hedge”[Bat Girl]. Allison made her at her “Teen Crafternoon: Superhero Hedgehogs” program.
- “It’s always a treat / surprise at the library.” (Heidi’s cape and mask).
- “I liked your beach reads display last year. Will you do it again?”
- “You guys keep me laughing, especially you, Heidi. Love the mask.”
- “I just reserved a whole bunch of museum passes. You guys are doing a great job over there.”
7/29/15 – Lots of positive comments from teens about the programs this summer. AC
7/28/15 Yes, you can print from a USB/I can print for you/you can print in the Children’s Room –BG
7/25/2015 A patron said “Has the Summer Reading always been so robust? HF
7/25/2015 – John Roche says his son is loving the YA programs this summer. HF
7/23/2015 – Patron was very pleased with how easy it was to browse the school’s summer reading books. She appreciates that we’ve taken the time to pull and separate them. JM
7/21/15 – Mother said we are getting her to visit the library multiple times a week with all of the programs and activities we are offering. In the past, she didn’t visit as frequently. SB
7/21/15 – Teen was surprised and happy that we have Cards Against Humanity to check out. AC
7/11/15 – It’s so nice that you have all of these (summer reading books) pulled. JM
7/10/15 – No Mystic Aquarium Passes -SL
7/10/15 – No Newport Mansion passes –SL
7/10/15 – No printing (around 12 requests) –SL
7/11/15 No printing (around 15 requests) –LM
7/13/15 No printing (around 12 requests)
7/15/15 – “It is hard to read in here.” (CR)
7/21/15 – No, we do not have a knitting group for 8-12 year olds at this time. (Sarah will investigate)
7/24/15 – No Southwick Passes can be reserved. Talked about how they can win them. –AC
7/24/15 – Said no about 4 times to families this summer who wanted to bring younger siblings to teen programs. I tried to offer alternatives (you can’t stay for the Spiderman movie but I have a copy you can check out; they can attend kids movie night). I’ll let Sarah know about programs that are being asked for by younger patrons. –AC
7/28 No meeting room for a group of +/- 50 who want to meet weekly. Referred to Economic Development Commission and sent a list of meeting rooms in town. –BG
7/29/15 – Aquarium doesn’t accept passes during the summer. –AC
7/29/15 – Said no to a (going into) 5th grader who wanted to attend candy taste test. –AC
7/31/15 No printing – every day for the last 2 weeks!
Upcoming Events: More online at www.graftonlibrary.org/events
Fri Aug 14 12pm Family Superhero Trivia for Teens
Fri Aug 14 2:30pm Teen Superhero Trivia for Teens
Wed Aug 19 10am Pre-Bid walkthrough
Sat Aug 22 10am Library Expansion Focus Group Meeting
Tue Aug 25 7:30pm Friends of the Library Meeting
Thu Aug 27 7pm Library Expansion Focus Group Meeting
Sat Aug 29 1pm Nerdfighters
Sat Aug 29 5pm Magic the Gathering
Sept 1-30 National Library Card Sign Up Month
Fri Sept 4 10am Proposals for Architectural Services due
Sept 27-Oct 3 Banned Books Week
Oct 18-24 Teen Read Week: Get Away @ your library!