In April, we celebrated National Poetry Month, National Library Week, and did some school vacation programs, and the Friends hosted the Annual Egg Hunt on the Common. Tickets sold out a few days in advance of the event, and the reserved tickets sold out on site. The event ran very smoothly thanks to our wonderful Friends and volunteers. Thank you to Michelle Dalal, Ellen Goguen, Donna Trainor and Carol Cacciapouti for their help in putting the event together, to Neha Majeti, our NHS volunteer who helped with PR and egg stuffing, to Bradley and Cali, who provided a great meet & greet with the Easter Bunny. Thank you too, to our generous donors Wegmans, Goretti’s, Stop & Shop, and Taylor Rental. We sold 180 tickets, over 300 people attended, and the Friends made a small profit. Fitting so many people into our small space was a challenge, and this year we separated the crafts from the stories in an effort to alleviate the crowds a bit.
The Long Range planning focus group met Saturday April 25 to discuss community needs and service priorities for 2016-2020. The meeting was productive, and the team identified the following roles; next steps are to review Library Values and Mission and write goals and objectives:
- Create Young Readers: Early Literacy
- Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces
- Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning
- Express Creativity: Create and Share Content
- Know Your Community: Community Resources and Services
- Celebrate Diversity: Cultural Awareness
To date, 29 people have taken the online Library Satisfaction Survey at http://mblc.countingopinions.com/s/10259. This is a very helpful tool in evaluating services, please share the link widely.
We were so pleased to be asked to host a memorial service for Jen Lasker White, taken too soon from our community in October 2014. Over 50 people attended, and Jen’s book group organized a lovely service, raised funds to purchase a memorial bench which was dedicated on Sunday April 19, and then invited community members to donate a book in Jen’s honor. Each one has a bookplate.
A booklist is online at www.pinterest.com/graftonpublib/display-lets-talk-about-the-book-jen-lasker-whites and books are on display in the Main Reading Room. The bench, located to the west of the entrance, is used daily.
We continue to field numerous complaints about noise in our mixed use space. It’s very challenging to offer quiet study space for readers and computer users and accommodate requests for public meeting space while trying to achieve our long range plan goals to increase Library programming for all ages.
The noise issue is not limited to a group being disruptive. After we opened at 10am, it hard to hear one another at the large tables over the general noise of the Library (tutors talking, circulation desk transactions, and neighbors saying hello to one another). I did notice that during the LRP meeting, no one approached the group to browse music CDs, Audio books, games, or new books for teens. I’m concerned about the barrier that is created by groups and individuals using the large tables in the Main Reading Room. They appear to be a deterrent to using the collection.
We have offered earplugs and headphones, suggested relocated to the mezzanine, shortened the length of some programs, and hosted others off site or after hours. I am coming up with a list of talking points for staff to acknowledge the noise is a frustrating outcome of our success, ask for some solutions and offer some solutions. I will also write a letter to the editor to ensure the community is aware that WE are aware, and working on this issue. To that end, I was asked by staff to investigate the possibility of placing a pod or temporary classroom in our parking lot to alleviate the need for a program room.
One of the trends mentioned at the Construction Grant Information Session that I attended was a shift from large meeting rooms to contain noisy programs to quiet study rooms to accommodate visitors with a need for silence. Athol, with a population of just over 18,000 residents, went from an 8,000 sq foot facility to a 20,000 sq foot facility, and added 1 community room and just 2 6-seat study rooms.
Circulation totaled 10,914 items in April. We are down 10% compared to March 2015, and down 5.9% compared to last April.
The Evergreen upgrade over the Patriot’s Day weekend went smoothly. There are a few new features; new icons and categories in the search fields, a new clickable box to update account expirations, a small change in the holds clearing process, and increased options for items that have a “Lost and Paid” status.
Susan ran a report of expired patron accounts with alerts, and staff have been deleting the alerts and messages on accounts with no fines to assist with the C/W MARS patron purge on May 5. There were 135 accounts that will qualify for the purge, and we have narrowed it down to 63 so far, with 3 other staff working on it.
I met with a representative from MIIA to address the ice dam damage noted in the February Walkabout. The representative felt that all of the books in the bookcase against the wall that sustained damage would need to be replaced. An inventory has been provided. Someone is coming to look at it in May to take care of the repainting and other repair work.
Beth P. reached out to Sherriff Evangelidis and Lt. Hynes is scheduled to bring the volunteer work crew during the first or second week of June. Tasks include exterior painting, wash and stain the existing bench, and concrete for the memorial bench.
Staff and patrons have been complaining about the LULA. I’m concerned that people are not holding the button long enough, but have scheduled a maintenance check. The LULA alarm issue was resolved; some problem on Verizon’s end was causing the 911 button in the LULA to call dispatch for help.
Chris and Pat hung the brochure holders in the foyer. Thanks to Gary Beauchamp for procuring and donating furniture, bookcases, and plants to brighten up our space!
Smoke & heat alarms throughout the building were checked; all passed. Beth requested a quote for panic buttons from American Alarm. AEDs were ordered and arrived.
Sunshine Signs visited to put together a quote for additional signage, including a directory.
I addressed the issue of smokers around the building with Tim, who suggested signage and contacting the Board of Health, not the police, to enforce this statute.
Ransford has not had any pest findings since started the trap and spray program to take care of ants, mice and other issues.
The Friends’ kitchen renovation has stalled.
A new volunteer did some grounds cleanup just in time for the memorial service for Jen Lasker White, held on Sunday April 19.
We had rapid responses to the two IT tickets submitted to the town’s new IT department.
Computers were ordered for Beth and Sarah and will ship 5/8.
Outreach and Partnerships
I set up an informational table at the Town Benefits Fair at the end of April. Traffic was very light, but I did issue five teacher cards.
Heidi represented the Library at Library Legislative Day at the State House on Wednesday, April 1st. She brought back professionally printed posters that show a comparison between library use numbers and how many people visit the most frequented famous tourist spots. More people visited a Massachusetts public library in 2014 than any single one of those attractions. She also talked to people from all of the Grafton and Townsend legislative representation. She tried to impress upon them how important libraries are and how much we need their support.
Thanks to Rick Barnard for taping a session of Storytellers. Flight of the Honeybee and Math Curse are now airing on Monday mornings at 7:00 am and Saturday and Sundays at 8:00 am, as well as online GCTV Video on Demand at http://graftontv.org/current/VoD.html (search “Storytellers”) through the end of June 2015.
Three members of the library went to the North Street School to participate in their Community Read Day. Thanks to Allison, Donna and Val for participating. It was a wonderful program that really showcased how strong the community of Grafton is.
Grants & Gifts
We applied to Tufts for a grant of $500.00 to add several STEAM themed programs to the summer reading program. The LSTA Full STEAM Ahead grant application was completed and mailed by deadline.
Beth P. completed an application to the Garden Club for up to $200.00 in equipment. We asked for a rain barrel and composter, and they are willing to buy a rain barrel for us, pending Historical Commission approval. This will cut down on our water bill this summer—we used over 100,000 units this year, and the Sewer Commission kindly waived a large portion of that fee.
Jan attended a Readers Advisory workshop at the MLS site in Whately on April 28. The presentation was “How to read a book in 5 minutes”, which Jan will summarize and present to staff at a future staff meeting along with Susan, who already has this training.
Allison attended the YA Collaborative Meeting with a group of teen librarians from across the state to discuss our summer reading plans. I loved another library’s idea to do nail art with string (using nails in a board to create designs with string). I plan on looking into this a bit more and may include it in our plans for summer reading. Mass Library System Adviser, Sarah Soggigian, also came and present about teen volunteers in the library.
Sarah attended the Making Musical Connections session presented by Jan Barlow from Apple Tree Arts.
Staff met with a representative from American Fidelity, our new Flexible Spending Account provider—they also had additional insurance alternatives for eligible staff.
I attended the MA Buys Expo, and talked to vendors about picnic tables, promotional products, and stacking chairs and furniture. I was also able to attend a session on Construction Procurement that was very helpful.
I attended an informational session on the MA Public Library Construction Program Construction Grant, scheduled for 2016-2017. The tentative timeline is Building Programs due August/September 2015, vote to apply for grant at October 2015 Town meeting, complete long range plan by October 2015, complete design by October 2016, apply for grant in January 2017, and vote at May 2017 Town Meeting to match the funds.
I attended a 2-part Serv Safe training and took the exam to earn my Serv Safe certificate, passing with a 91%. This was something that the Board of Health requested, when I asked if we could prepare ready to eat food on site (i.e. mix lemonade, prepare coffee, etc) and do some cooking with kids (i.e. microwaveable chocolate cake in individual mugs is okay now!)
We celebrated Volunteer Appreciation week with bright balloons attached to the sandwich board with a “WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS” message; stickers paid for by the Friends were worn by every staff member with the same message; a heart with each volunteer’s name was affixed to the front desk, and a certificate of appreciation was given to every volunteer we’ve had over the past year-63 certificates. Volunteers donated over 1000 hours of service in 2014. In April, 24 volunteers donated 124 hours of service, and an additional 25 people donated 75 hours during the Egg Hunt. Special thanks to Carol Cacciapouti, who did donation follow-up and pickup from our donors.
The Children’s Room staff offered a morning storytime to the community each day during the week. Our Library Baby and Toddler Time programs continue to bring a large crowd, while the preschool programming brings in a steady group of “regulars” to visit us each week. This month, our Eric Carle storytime rug was delivered. The children and their caregivers have been very positive about how much it brightens up the room, defines the story space, and helps to develop color and animal recognition. In Toddler Time, we read Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, talked about the different animals in the book and looked for them on the new rug.
During school vacation, we had a very popular LEGO drop in day that brought in 78 participants! Our tween nail art program was also a hit and we had a full table with 10 girls and two parents creating beautiful and unique nail art. The participants stated a wish for the program to have lasted even longer. We have already planned a nail art program for this coming summer.
This month we celebrated Earth Day and National Poetry Month by having a variety of Lorax and poetry themed activities. Our all ages Poetry Workshop allowed our patrons to try their hand at a variety of unique poetry types including black out, concrete, and ransom note poetry. Some participated at the Library while others appreciated the take home activities. We capped off the month with “Poem in Your Pocket” day; no one shared a poem to win a prize.
Jan Barlow from Apple Tree Arts presented a seminar for parents and caregivers on the importance of music and movement in your child’s life. Fourteen people attended. As always, Apple Tree Arts provided a quality, interactive, and intelligent program for the library, and educators received PDP points for participating,
The Library’s “I Love My Library” bookmark competition successfully concluded with 106 community entries. We had three winners: Ella in the grade k-3 group, Sophia in the grade 4-6 group, and Lydia and the grade 7-12 group. Each winner will have a book added to the collection in their honor and receive a copy to take home. The winning bookmarks will be available at the library in May. This program was generously sponsored by the Friends of the Grafton Public Library.
During April we hosted two Dungeons & Dragons programs. These sessions still remain extremely popular, if a bit noisy. One session was held after hours and another during vacation week. It’s a great program that brings in teen boys (and girls!) into the library. Thank you to Pepperoni Express for providing discounted pizza.
At the Nerdfighters program, teens once again played on the new Wii U. They love being able to play Super Smash Bros. with 8 people at once. We also had some teens playing the card game Magic and a request for hosting a Magic tournament. We are hoping to host one in June.
Teen Art Coalition did paper quilling, a 3-D art form involving gluing strips of curler construction paper at a 90 degree angle to a sheet of paper. They had a great time and enjoyed learning this art form. We purchased a new book on paper quilling: Paper Quilling Chinese Style to support further investigation into this technique.
Our day of Nail Art with Nina Park was rescheduled due to a family emergency. We will be having her back as part of summer reading. We still held the three sessions and had a great turnout with all age groups. Jamberry consultant and Westborough Public Library director, Maureen Ambrosino, saved the day by attending the teen and adult sessions. She brought in samples of Jamberry nail wraps and taught everyone how to apply them. Everyone who attended seemed to have a great time!
Teen Librarian Allison’s book pick of the month is Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins. In this sequel to Rebel Belle, Harper Price and her new boyfriend and oracle David Stark face new challenges as the powerful Ephors seek to claim David for their own. This is an action-packed series with romance and southern charm.
We completed the shift of non-fiction to open up the first 3 bays, and completed the move of all the adult and YA graphic novels and audio CDs upstairs. Non-fiction DVDs had been interfiled with the non-fiction books, so they were collected and put into the space as well. We have 260 non-fiction DVDs and hope the relocation gets the documentaries out and into people’s hands.
The Senior Center BookWagon 4/23 had 11 visitors, 1 new registration, 2 requests, and only 2 items were checked out. On the other hand, the Crescent Manor BookWagon on April 8 had about 15 visitors, 4 requests, and over twenty items were checked out and about 20 returned! Many of the seniors at the Senior Center tell us they “have too many books at home,” that they swap books at the Senior Center, or that they visit the Library regularly. We are holding a raffle at the June visit, and then will take the summer off. A different day will be considered before re-starting in the fall, or maybe we will decide to discontinue the program altogether.
We purchased a 5’ vinyl banner, and it looks great!
We sent our first batch of 19 boxes to Thrift Books, LLC. and just yesterday shipped 15 more. Many of those boxes were discards from the major non-fiction weed we did last fall, and at least half were filled by Down Under discards.
Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group met to discuss Crispin: the cross of lead, by Avi; the “Reads Well with Others” Adult Book Discussion group discussed A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson; and the Daytimers book group read The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin.
We held a “Seed Swap” on Tuesday, April 28th. Only staff attended. Seeds will be packaged and offered at other events this spring.
Allison organized a “Nail Art” program, with a separate program for each age group (Adult, Teen, Kids).
Display topics included Nail Art books to go with the program on Thursday, April 23rd for kids, teens and adults, Community Read books available for purchase (with book plates signed by the authors), seed books to go with the Seed Swap program, a Gardening display for “Organic Gardening for Everyone” program, knitting display to go with “Saturday Afternoon Knitting, a poetry month display, and an in memorium display for Jen Lasker White. The fiction genre display was Legal Thrillers, and more items were circulated from it than any other of the displays. Next month the genre is Romance.
338 items were added in April. Donna finished re-doing call numbers in Children’s Room holiday collection to reflect Holiday/Seasonal, continued work on series re-cat/labeling, continued to delete old alerts from bib records, cataloged and processed donations for the Jen White collection, and took part in Community Reading Day on 4/27 at North St. Elem. School by reading to grade 3. On April 3 Codey Kolasinsky from C/WMARS came and talked to us about the acquisitions program, which we have decided to proceed with. The selectors are in agreement that Ingram is preferable to Baker & Taylor, so we are switching to Ingram for continuations and automatic best-sellers. We expect to save almost $2000.00 by dropping B&T’s Title Source, and will likely spend some of it on more automated processing to have items arrive shelfready with barcodes, bookcovers and spine labels.
Comments from the Public:
From the (new!) suggestion box:
- Bring back the beep so the books get checked in
- Please don’t put audio upstairs
From the LibSat:
- Please see attached report for Jan-April 2015.
From Library Visitors:
- A patron appreciated that he was asked if he’d be interested in a book based on his past interests. He thought it was very sweet and appreciated the thoughtfulness. He said it was “like the bartender knowing what drink you want before you ask… although maybe the library knowing what you want is better.”
- “You have a nice collection of seed books. This is the best library. I’m moving to VA to be near my daughter and the library within walking distance doesn’t have much to browse. You have to order most anything you want and you don’t always know what you want. Their libraries are too contemporary-looking, too.”
- Patron came in because of the seed swap sign on the front lawn. Then he remembered he had something in the car to return and he checked out a couple of things from the garden display.
- “You are all lovely.” (said by a patron who got help finding the DVD she wanted.
- “Such good service.”
- “I love how you can do this. I’ve been to Hudson and other places.” (going to Westborough to get an item she wanted right away.)
- “Thank you for getting me all those books of railroad maps. They were very interesting.” (out of region requests).
- “I’ll just go to another library.” (someone displeased with the lack of quiet space in the Library during D&D)
- “I really appreciate you going above and beyond.” (calling another library to renew an item).
- “I’m moving and I really miss this library. You people are all wonderful.”
- “I love audio books. MP3s are the best!”
- “Great hours!” “Are your fines higher than Northborough’s?” (The answer is yes).
- “I’ve been dying, I need my books.” (i.e. Happy to be at the library).
- “You’re the best.” (because we had the movie she wanted).
- “Thank you so much for doing this!” (crafts for Easter Egg Hunt).
- “Thank you very much.” (Easter Egg Hunt activities).
- “The phone rang and rang or jumped me to a different system when I called around noon ” [April 30].
From the “Yes” log:
4/28/15 – A patron was looking for a puzzle but couldn’t find it online. After some searching and a description I was able to find the correct title and manufacturer, as well as a place she could order it. “You made my day!” AC
4/25/15 – Lots of positive comments on the new Eric Carle rug in the children’s room. AC -also during Tuesday 4/28 storytime!
4/23/15 – 30ish old adult loved the nail wraps and is excited for upcoming programs for adults (I talked about the ones coming in the summer). She was also excited to find out about the NJFYA book group. AC
4/22/15 – New D&D boy was so happy with pizza and learning how to play. AC
4/14/15 – The patron who checked out the Wii mini was very pleased with it. The entire family loved using it, and was very happy we decided to buy & circulate it. JM
4/9/15 – We received very positive feedback from one of the mothers who attended Wednesday’s Toddler Time program with her young son. She said she didn’t enjoy Grafton’s programming in the past and didn’t have a good experience (she moved to town 2 years ago). She began to attend programming at the Shrewsbury Library, but commented that she didn’t like the way they run their toddler session (librarian would stop reading book and not continue until everyone -toddlers included- were quiet). She was very complementary of the Grafton Library and the staff, she thinks our program is fantastic! Patron said how nice it would be if we were able to have a designated program space, but that she felt we make storytimes feel cozy.
4/8/15 – Overheard: “This is the best place ever!” MW
4/8/15 – “I’m the library’s number one fan. I hate when politicians go on about cuts and think libraries aren’t important when they should be the focus of the community. So many people go to college and get a little piece of wallpaper on the wall [diploma] but don’t really have an education.”
4/7/15 – Patron signing her son up for the Lego Builders program said she was happy we have this program. Her son loves it and she finds reading here at the library while he is attending the program “so relaxing.”
4/4/15- I never have any trouble finding something good to choose from the audio book!
4/4/15- After asking about the Egg Hunt, the patron commented “The change in this library since new leadership has come on board is just amazing!”
4/4/15 – “This is a great building. I haven’t been here before (was here for the egg hunt). My sister is a professional librarian so I’ve been dragged through many libraries. She’s almost ready to retire and has worked at the same library since she was 16.” HF
4/4/15 – “I just wanted you guys to know that the library is so different now. The staff is wonderful, and friendly. They seem to really want to be here. There’s engagement. I admit, I don’t come here often because I’m a library snob and its cramped here. But I used to come here some when I was in graduate school and the people who worked here weren’t very nice. Now it’s always busy when I’m here. It’s so different. Over the last few years I’ve noticed such a difference. You’ve really turned this place around.” (The egg hunt festivities were noted as evidence.) HF
- Sat May 2: Free Comic Book Day
- Sat May 9: Scratch Day, Fun Fair, History Day/Plant Sale
- Mon May 11: 7pm, Town Meeting
- Sat May 16: 10-1, Groundscleaning
- Sat May 16: 2-4pm, Knitting
- Mon May 18: 2:00pm Poetry Reading: Marsha Kunin
- Mon May 18: 7:30pm, Readers Well With Other’s Book Group: The Ten Year Nap
- Tue May 19: 1:30pm Daytimer’s Book Group: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
- Wed May 20: 7pm, Grafton Writer’s Group
- Mon Jun 1: Grafton History Day – NGES
- Tue Jun 2: Grafton History Day – Millbury St.
- Fri June 5: 7:30pm, Friends Annual Meeting – business meeting followed by program and wine & cheese reception
- Sat June 20: Jerome Wheelock’s Birthday Party
Beth Gallaway, Library Director
ATTENDANCE, BORROWERS, COMPUTER USE & REFERENCE QUESTIONS
Attendance for April was 6,907—a new record!—likely due to the traffic from the Egg Hunt and vacation programs. Library visitors increased 19% decrease from March 2015, and a 53% increase from April 2014.
We added 69 new borrowers; this is a decrease of 19% from March 2015 and a decrease of 14% from April 2014. There were 413 computer users, a decrease of 9% from March 2015 and an increase of 38% from April 2014. It’s possible we had less computer use because of noise levels. We also had a few computers out of order as we resolved an updating issue.
We answered 507reference questions, a increase of 2% from March 2015 and a decrease of 6% from April 2014.
The Library offered 43 programs in April—more than one a day!–including storytimes, book discussion, and LEGOs, nail art, gardening, D&D, paper quilling, and our popular Egg Hunt on the Common. The number of programs is a 43% increase compared to March 2015, and decreased 6% compared to April 2014. Traditionally, we do additional programming in April due to school vacation week. Total program attendance was 856, an increase of 132% from March 2015 and an increase of 78% from April 2014. The large increase is due to the Egg Hunt, which brought in over 300 people.
Our popular PAWSING to R.E.A.D program had so many no-shows the program is in great jeopardy. While it was made very clear to those who registered that it was 3-week commitment, and we did reminder phone calls for each session, people did not show up, and the volunteers and coordinator were understandably upset. We are recommended to go back on hiatus at this time. The volunteers are not available when the children are available, and families are unable to commit.
MUSEUM PASSES & VOLUNTEERS
We had 87 Museum pass checkouts in February, out of 95 reservations, a 23% increase compared to March 2015, and a 149% increase compared to April 2014. We identified 8 no-shows. The increase in checkout is due to the spring weather and popularity of outdoor attractions such as Tower Hill and the Zoo, in good weather.
We had 49 volunteers donate 200 hours of service, a 96% increase in bodies and a 60% increase in hours, compared to March 2015, and a 145% increase in bodies and a 147% increase in hours, compared to April 2014. The increase is due to asking for help with the Egg Hunt—we had volunteer coordinators, readers, and craft helpers, and it made a huge difference for staff, who were able to focus on reader’s advisory, reference, and borrower services instead of replenishing the craft station and trying to conduct storytime and staff the desk. We are very appreciative to all who helped!
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA
The website had 4,355 hits from 2,107 unique users, a 10% decrease in hits compared to March 2015 and a 24% increase in unique users from April 2014. We had 9,040 page views, a 4% decrease compared to January 2015, and a 17% increase from April 2014. We have a total of 296 followers on Facebook, an increase of 19%, possibly due to daily posts on the Town’s website, thanks to a collaboration with Bob DeToma at GCTV, who is the Town’s social media manager. Twitter followers totaled 93, an increase of 3% from March 2015 and increase of 447% from April 2014. We post content daily to Twitter, but don’t have many @replies (conversations) or retweets. Pinterest followers totaled 256, an increase of 8% from March 2015 and increase of 153% from April 2014.
Ancestry had over 2,000 hits, totaling 2,149 searches, an increase of 5% from March 2015. Heritage Quest had 101 total hits, an increase of % compared to March 2015. Gale database hits totaled 105 searches, a decrease of 33% compared to March 2015. BookFlix use declined sharply in February, with only 2 hits—a 99% decrease compared to March 2015. Both are up for renewal—we will likely cancel ScienceFlix, but may extend BookFlix to the PreK-2 schools. Mango had only 14 hits, a 36% decrease compared to March 2015 and a 366% increase compared to April 2014. I have canceled our renewal and am considering another language learning database with more features that is half the price. AWE use declined by 29% in April, and we are investigating a way to make the machine always available and visible (currently, it’s secured in a drawer and has to be requested). One-Click Digital and Zinio did not get any use, and will be canceled, as people use OverDrive exclusively, without any marketing.