November was taken up with a lot of writing: Action Plan, Budget, and Capital Improvement Projects. We finalized our Grafton Celebrates the Holidays event, which will include a story walk, storytelling, a craft table hosted by Girl Scout Troop 30286, and David Polansky in concert at 3:30 pm on Sunday December 7.
I worked on weeding non-fiction, met with someone to discuss a new copier contract, and took 2 days off! We played with Sign-Up Genius (a website for organizing volunteers) and HootSuite (a tool that cross-posts to social media sites), World of Warcraft, and made a tissue paper turkey craft. I inquired about getting the content of One-Click Digital (classic e-books and e-audio books into the catalog, but it won’t go on the C/W MARS agenda until March.
The Friends revised their membership brochure (attached) and printed a Friends Café sign which has been displayed above the coffee service so it’s visible from the entrance. Holiday gift books from Down Under will be displayed in December–Mary Tulloch does a beautiful job packaging them. The Friends had contractor Jesse Dowd in to look at the kitchen and discuss renovation ideas.
I requested GoldieBlox replacement kits (they upgraded) and ordered the new ones. We are the ONLY Library in C/W MARS circulating these items!
The memorial bench for Jen White arrived. A member of her book group took it home to be assembled, and we are working out how to secure it, now that the ground is frozen. The copper apron is still leaking. The roofer has not been to look at it yet. Information for replacement light fixture under the leaking canopy has been provided to Cyr Electric, but until the leak is gone, I am reluctant to replace the fixture. I scheduled gutter cleaning—a few slate roof tiles will be replaced as well. A restroom issue was resolved in December. As we still do not have a custodian, I called Koopman’s looking for some recommendations for local contractors to take care of a couple of issues.
I completed and submitted multiple capital improvement project plans for FY2016-2020 by the deadline. A copy was forwarded to Board members. Projects include hiring an architect for a Library renovation/expansion planning and design project, restoring doors, repairing windows, exterior painting, mobilizing more shelving, building an outdoor patio, an RFID project to install self-check and AMH, renovating first floor washrooms, parking lot resurfacing, and a Library renovation/expansion.
Doug Bowman helped set up the new computers for International Games Day. A few kids played Minecraft, but we could not get World of Warcraft working due to a security issue that has been resolved.
Matt from MX came at a later date to install Windows 8.1 and a number of updates on our new Lenovo all in one touch-screens. Microsoft Office 2013 and Norton Antivirus. We are trying a free program called Reboot RX to manage security. Patrons can modify the computers in a number of ways, and when the computer is reset, all options are reset to a default. Patrons cannot install or run any programs. Setting up the six new machines, which we named Austen, Bronte, Camus, Dumas, Ellison and Fitzgerald, took around 24 hours of work.
Outreach and Partnerships
Crescent Manor BookWagon had 14 participants, 8 returns, 13 check-outs, 6 requests, and 2 reference questions. The Senior Center BookWagon was run by Heidi with help from Mary Tulloch. There were 11 visitors with 6 check outs, 4 returns, and 3 holds were placed as a result of reference questions. A librarian from Holliston (in the Minuteman Network) who happened to be at Town Hall was interested in the program and got information from us to bring back to her library for consideration.
Heidi was a “Mystery Reader” at the South Grafton Elementary School, where she dressed up as a cat and read three picture books, which all featured cats in them. The kids were so good–such good listeners! They even recognized Heidi from the library. The teacher invited her back.
Sarah hosted storytime at the Willard House & Clock Museum. Our final PreK Once Upon a Story is in December, and the program resumes in February.
The Family Adventures in Reading program with storyteller Diane Edgecomb continued to draw a consistent crowd throughout the month of November. The families who came expressed their appreciation that such a wonderful family program was offered and that all of the refreshments served were healthy. At the final session, Diane gave each of the families a CD to remember her by. Families were also given a book for their participation the in the program. We were sad to have such a wonderful program come to an end, but we know many people will enjoy having the Children’s Room available again during Saturday afternoons. With 23 families registered to participate, total attendance was 159 children and caregivers.
To date, seven families filled out our program evaluation surveys and were very positive about the program. Some of the comments include:
“The books were wonderful. We enjoyed that they showed different cultures, talked about values and important issues.”
“Loved it! My kids learned new things and ideas.”
“Nicely done, organized, and engaging to all kids.”
“It was delightful, thank you very much.”
The FY 2015 Action Plan (which covers through December 2016) was submitted and received by deadline, so we will be eligible for the FY2016 round of grant funding from the MBLC. We are submitting letters for Full STEAM Ahead, to create Science/Technology/Engineering/Arts/Math kits to circulate to day cards, and a Serving People with Disabilities project to evaluate services and train staff. Letters of intent are due December 9.
We completed a Charitable Giving Request form and submitted it to UniBank. This year, we are asking for an AWE Early Literacy Station, which consists of pre-packaged educational software for preschoolers on a durable tablet-style computer. It’s something that has been on Sarah’s wish list, and we like the portability of the device.
We welcomed Valerie Evans to our team on November 19. Val is a Library lover and advocate, with experience with kids of all ages. Her enthusiasm and strong customer service values made her a top candidate. Say hi to Val in the Children’s room, where she is on the service desk, shelving and shelf-reading, and helping with rights procurement for Storytellers.
Sarah, Val, and Lee will be taping for Grafton Minute-by-Minute on GCTV in December; watch for their debut later in the month!
CPR training was provided for FREE by Medstar; Jan, Marilyn, Allison and Susan attended. Certifications will be coming in the mail. Four more staff will be scheduled for training in early 2015.
Sue and Mare attended Only Write It Once, a social media workshop on streamlining posts. The session covered the importance of analytics to evaluate all publicity channels, mentioned using Hubspot.com, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers, covered having an overall vision of linking “all moving parts” back to website and connecting to larger “web” of Town, school and local business sites, and provided a good review of uses for various social media sites (what to use when). One of the outcomes was we purchased a hootsuite subscription after playing with it for 30 days. I provide some metrics monthly, but Sue and I have begun looking at Facebook more carefully, specifically, what’s being shared, and when; events for families and kids, and current events, are heavily shared.
Sarah attended the CT Science Teachers Association’s annual conference in November in order to gain new insight on providing STEM activities and programs to the community. One of the more interesting sessions was, Build It and They Will Compete, and we look forward to bringing some of the fun challenges to the Grafton Public Library over a school vacation or long weekend.
GCTV Producers class continues into mid-December, with graduation at the end of the year. I have been recording footage at some Library events and am hoping to continue Storytellers as a producer, and record some on-site sessions.
The Library Staff agreed to participate in the Town’s adopt-a-family in lieu of gifts to one another. The project is being run by Marilyn and Lee; assignments have been made and wrapping party is scheduled for Friday, December 5. The Town of Grafton’s Staff Holiday Party on December 19 and we’d like to staff the Library with Friends/Trustees during lunch (12:30-2) so staff may attend.
I revised the Volunteer Policy for Trustee review and discussion in December, with input from Susan. An English Language Learners program launched in November and five tutors have now been matched with students and are meeting weekly. All volunteers over 18 who work with the public are having CORI checks done.
While on hiatus from our regularly scheduled programs, we have been hard at work planning for the upcoming winter session and completing our room reorganization. Biographies have been weeded and shifted. We have also rearranged J Fiction section to make room to interfile the Newbery Award winners as well as the mystery book collection.
The craft table had a lot of traffic. Kids could make a card, decorate a turkey, or both.
We are in the process of introducing a Teacher card status for the teachers and childcare providers of Grafton. The Teacher card would entitle teachers who work or live in Grafton to a longer checkout period and no late fees. The card would expire after 1 year and would require identification from the school institution where the patron is employed.
The topic of a family bathroom and changing table is still one we hear mentioned frequently in the Children’s Room. Some families feel the men’s room is too difficult to find and remote for their young boys and families are still asking regularly for a place to change their young children.
On Monday, December 1 Sugarplum, the library’s very own shelf elf, will be arriving at the GPL. Each day, from the 1st through the 20th, she will be having a different adventure in the CR. Sugar Plum is keeping an eye on the staff to make sure they are behaving. Children are invited to locate the elf daily to earn a sticker for their bingo sheet; once they get five stickers they are eligible for a special prize. Anyone who would like to join in the fun is encouraged! Please let us know if you have ideas for what mischief Sugarplum can find in the library.
Sunday, December 7 is this year’s date for Grafton Celebrates the Holidays. The library will be open from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. for letter writing to Santa, crafts, ongoing story times, and a musical performance by David Polansky.
Winter storytime sessions begin on December 15. Reminder: If school is closed/cancelled, storytimes at the library are cancelled as well.
We hosted two very successful programs for teens in November: the Teen Trivia Challenge and International Games Day. Teens had a chance to test their trivia skills with multiple choice questions from a variety of subjects and pop culture. Teens can attend a Harry Potter Trivia Challenge on Saturday, December 20th from 3-4pm. More trivia programs will be scheduled in the future.
International Games Day was particularly successful with teens. Eight teens, many who are not regular library users, came and played Dungeons & Dragons for four hours! We are working on making the program a monthly event. Beth and Sarah hosted an after-hours event to introduce people to the MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) World of Warcraft. While the program was fraught with technology issues, the kids who came enjoyed it and several rolled up a new character. They can play up to level 20 on the Library’s computers.
Other events held in November included a Princess Bride movie night, Book Page Bracelet craft, Hunger Games Monopoly at the Municipal Center, and a Writing Workshop. No one attended the fanfiction discussion but Beth & Allison had a nice chat, and there is a post about fanfiction on the Library website.
In honor of our celebration of Harry Potter in the month of December, my pick this month is the new book: Harry Potter: The Creature Vault: The Creatures and Plants of the Harry Potter Films by Jody Revenson. This book provides background information on the design and development of the monsters, mythical animals, imaginary plants, and other fantasy beings featured in the Harry Potter films, including unseen concept art, details on makeup, special effects, and animal performers.
If you are a Harry Potter fan – check out the displays in the Teen Section of books, the Children’s Room for Harry Potter collectibles and our event calendar for upcoming Harry Potter themed programs during the month of December:
Periodical subscriptions were reviewed by a small committee, resulting in the discontinuation of 6 and the addition of 8. Eileen is investigating changing to a different subscription service.
Better World Books, the charitable company that we send used items to, has changed our contract to require a minimum of 40 boxes, so we terminated the contract and the Friends are currently considering a different yet comparable vendor for discards (Yankee Clipper Books). During the interim, discards in good condition will be given to the Friends, as their donations have dwindled recently.
Food For Fines resumed November 15. Eight bags were brought to the Food Bank in December. Patrons love it.
Jan completed the compilation of all the genre and author lists generated at our in-service training in October. Each staff member has signed up for a genre and Allison has established Pinterest boards for each, to be filled regularly by all staff. Watch our progress at http://www.pinterest.com/graftonpublib/.
Jan did some research on the Museum Passes that were reserved but not picked up. There was no pattern of a certain pass, nor were there repeat “offenders.” She will do a weekly update going forward, and will call patrons who didn’t pick up their passes, and ask that they call to cancel in the future.
We discussed The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, at the “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group. The Adult Book Discussion book was The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett. (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 Sea by John Banville.
Six people attended a midday session on “Exploring Business Ownership,” presented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE).
We provided a number of just-in-time learning sessions on how to use overdrive on a variety of devices. Many staff are now fluent in helping patrons through the multi-step process that first time access requires.
Display topics included Thanksgiving books, Small Business resources, and support for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The Fiction Spotlight on Military fiction was very popular, and had more check-outs than previous monthly displays.
473 items were added in November. A lot of ordering was done in November, especially for the Children’s collection. Most of Donna’s off-desk time this month was spent checking in, organizing and cataloging these new items.
The Children’s Room is continuing to integrate the titles that were once in separate collections (we have integrated J Mystery and Caldecott /Newbery Awards). Eileen has been helping to re-catalog these items.
Comments from the Public
- “I love my library card!” – Little girl, after she got her first library card.
- “Thrilled you have a copy of Fire Starter as my student really wants to read it. Thank you!”
- “You all are so warm and friendly. That’s why I love this city.” (About us scanning documents for her).
- “This is the most awesome library I’ve ever been to!”
- “You’re not doing food for fines yet. It’s a great idea.” (Looking forward to when we are doing it again.)
- “Cook’s magazine is wonderful. When my daughter was younger, Cook’s had an article regarding using ketchup to clean copper. In school, they were discussing the elements of copper and one of the students shared this information. The teacher was impressed and I greatly enjoyed overhearing this at a slumber party. These children are now Juniors/Seniors at GHS. I shared the “All New Hot Chocolate Mix” recipe with them. They can’t wait to try it on the first “no school celebration / cancellation” this year. Thank you for subscribing to this magazine.”
- “Thank goodness for you!” (computer help).
- “We’ve been away in California for six months and we just got back and the first place we wanted to go is here. I’m bringing my brother for the first time.”
- “Everyone is so nice.”
- A patron was happy to get overdue reminder email.
- “I have to say, I love coming here. You are the best.”
- “It’s good to be back.” (Said by someone who works at the tables a lot. I think he was glad the holiday was over).
- Cynthia Rondeau said “You were so helpful last time I was here.” (To Heidi about resume and cover letter help).
- Sat 12/6 3-4:30pm: DIY Harry Potter Ornaments
- Sun 12/7 1-4:30 pm: Grafton Celebrates the Holidays
- Sat 12/20 3-4pm: Harry Potter Trivia Challenge – Test your Harry Potter knowledge!
- Fri 12/26 1-4pm: Viewer’s Choice: Harry Potter Movie & Snacks
- Mon 12/29-12/31, all open hours: Drop in games & crafts
- Fri 1/2 10am-5pm: Drop-in: Minute to Win It!
- Sat 1/17 10am-12pm (adults) 2-4pm (teens):Knitting program – experienced knitters needed to help novices!
- Tue 1/24 10-8 ReadAThon – drop by and read for a few minutes or a few hours!
- Fri 1/30, 7:30 am: Legislative Breakfast, Worcester Public Library
(invitation attached – RSVP by 1/2/15!)
Circulation of library materials totaled over 10,000 items. Circulation decreased 7.5%, compared to October 2014, but is up 7.7% compared to November 2013. The decrease this month is likely due to diminished Children’s programming and several holidays in November.
The total number of digital downloads was 709. eBook downloads increased 21% compared to October 2014, and increased 33% compared to November 2013. eAudio increased 5% compared to October 2014 and 33% compared to November 2013. eVideo downloads and streaming increased by 600% compared to October 2014.
Pass reservations totaled 72, but only 57 were checked out. Museum pass checkouts increased 14% compared to October 2014 and increased 24% compared to October 2013. Our no-show rate was 20% this month.
VISITORS, REFERENCE QUESTIONS & COMPUTER USE
Library visitors totaled 5,417. Attendance decreased 20% compared to October 2014, but increased of 79% compared to November 2013.
Reference questions totaled 339. Questions decreased 29% compared to October 2014, and decreased 22% compared to November 2013.
Computer use totaled 323. Usage decreased 15% compared to October 2014 and increased 7% compared to November 2013. The adult computers were limited during our upgrade, but we currently have 6 new machines and 2 old ones to phase out.
Programs totaled 27. The number of programs decreased by 44% compared to October 2014, and 33% compared to November 2013. Again, November is a shorter service month due to multiple holidays, and the Children’s room offered drop in crafts while they planned the next storytime session.
Program attendance totaled 318, a decrease of 81% compared to October 2014, and a 59% increase compared to November 2013. We had a number of tours and projects in October, making it a hard month to beat!
Eighteen volunteers donated 52 hours of service.
Database use increased in every category except Scholastic products. Ancestry use is through the roof, with over 800 searches! Zinio magazines had 12 checkouts. Mango had 60 users, a new record, and use of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette through Newsbank was also high – 64 sessions!
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! We are using HootSuite to cross post and schedule posts. 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.
When a new historical novel written by former Grafton resident Amy Belding Brown came to my attention, I immediately ran to the library. Amy’s first novel, Mr. Emerson’s Wife, was well received, and I’m betting her newest effort, Flight of the Sparrow, will be an even bigger success.
Subtitled , “A Novel of Early America”, Flight of the Sparrow brings the reader back to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1676. As seen through the eyes of Mary Rowlandson, the wife of a Puritan minister, life is hard, but there seems to be enough food in the village of Lancaster and they persevere. Unfortunately, there are still Indian uprisings, and when one particularly savage attack occurred, Mary and one of her children were captured , enslaved and held for ransom. Two of her other children were taken elsewhere. Her husband was away at the time.
Although her capture lasted only three months, Mary’s experience into the lifestyle of the Indians was life-changing. After an initial period of brutal handling including rope around her neck, her captors lessened the severity of her treatment and she was allowed some freedom of movement after her heavy work was done.
She became accustomed to the Indian ways and began to appreciate the natural world around her. Even her new clothing consisting of a deerskin shift and soft moccasins was a relief from her cumbersome Puritan garb. The Indians, however, were slowly starving. They broke camp frequently and looked forward to the reward a ransom would bring.
Three months later she was returned to the English for a ransom. The location of this occurrence was Redemption Rock in Princeton. (route 140 north).
The rest of the book concerns her adjustment to the restrictive Puritan ways. Mary refused to disclose information about her enslavement, so rumors and sly looks ensued. Her husband was not happy with her reticence, and Mary began to question her husband’s authority and religious teachings.
Amy Belding Brown did a great deal of research into this fascinating look into local history. For example, James Printer, a Nipmuc Indian, came from the Hassanamesit, a Praying Indian Village in Grafton. Sound familiar?
Do not under any conditions miss this book . It is stellar.
I give the book 4 sparrow feathers.
Happy reading from Beverly!
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