Grafton Public Library

Library Updates

2018 Annual Report of the Grafton Public Library

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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/property in Massachusetts; proof of residency is required.

In 2018, visitors and program attendance decreased while number of programs offered increased. Many programs were held offsite due to space constraints, which resulted in lower program attendance (in spite of offering more programs), lower circulation (borrowers were off site and unable to browse the full collection) and lower foot traffic (program participants at program off site). Although circulation of physical items such as books, music, and movies (129, 452 items) decreased by 4%, digital item circulation of (23,080 items) increased by 22%.

The C/W MARS network surpassed over 1 million digital checkouts in OverDrive, our eBook provider, for the first time this year; check out ebooks and more at


  • 74,867 visitors (down 3% from 2017)
  • 9,939 library card holders (down 2% from 2017)
  • 11,082 program attendees (down 5% from 2017)
  • 485 programs (up 2% from 2017)
  • 129,452 physical items circulated (down 4% from 2017)
  • 23,080 digital items circulated (up 22% from 2017)
  • 1,364 museum pass checkouts (50% decrease)
  • 7,207 computer users (9% increase)
  • 54,038 website hits (up 15% from 2017)
  • 119 volunteers (up 221% from 2017)
  • 1,741 volunteer service hours (down 11% from 2017)
  • 105 documents notarized
  • 70 passport applications executed
  • 25 tests proctored

The Library provides a collection of over 50,000 items in various formats for children, teens, and adults, including books (large print, graphic novels, manga, ESL resources, fiction, non-fiction, easy readers, picture books, board books for babies, and more); magazines; audiobooks; music CDs; movies and television series on BluRay and DVD; membership passes to museums and attractions; board, card, and video games; and a variety of kits and equipment, such as a telescope, ukuleles, home energy assessment kits, binoculars, lawn games, programmable robots, and more.

The Library provided nearly 1,400 programs for children, teens, and adults, including an all-ages summer reading program, seven story-time sessions per week, four programs month for teens, and five book discussion groups for adults. In 2018 we added more Tween programming for grades 5-8 and continued outreach to Crescent Manner, local public schools, daycares, and homebound residents.

Free services include free 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, paper shredder, and other office supplies. The Library provides free public access computers for word processing and Internet access for adults and children. Sign up is required; computer users must adhere to the Library’s Acceptable Use policy.

In 2018 the Library was certified as a Passport Acceptance Agency, with five staff certified as Passport Acceptance Agents. Passport acceptance is available Monday through Thursday from 11am-8pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am-4pm. All Department of State fees apply. An additional service fee of $35.00 per new passport goes into the Library’s gift fund. The Library accepted 70 passports in 2018.

Fee services include faxing ($2.00 first page/$1.00 each additional), laminating ($1.00/page), and photocopying ($.20 black & white, $.50 color). These fees go into a revolving account to pay for paper and ink/toner.

Online services include free tutoring daily from 3–9 p.m. via; streaming music and movies via our Hoopla database at; online art and music instruction via ArtistWorks; eBooks (including eAudio) via OverDrive, Hoopla, BookFlix and ComicsPlus; (in library) and Heritage Quest (at home) for genealogical research; a collection of databases from Gale publishers; and access to 52.5 million items statewide via the Commonwealth Catalog online at

The Library, funded at $802,232 out of the total $61,662,139 FY19 Town budget, is 1.3% of the Town budget.

  • Value of CIRCULATING materials in 2018: $1,556,373.05
  • Value of materials from OTHER libraries, borrowed IN Grafton: $492,889.38
  • Value of items circulated TO other libraries from GRAFTON: $295,778.50

The Library’s operating budget cost taxpayers $43.26 per resident in FY2019. The total value of services for 2018 is $2,303,778.60. Calculate the value of your household’s library use online at

The Library Planning and Building Committee hired an architect (Drummey Rosane Anderson), an Owner’s Project Manager (Mark Sullivan of D.A. Sullivan & Sons), and a Clerk of the Works (Andy Deschenes). Schematic design is complete. The Library will move to St. Andrew’s Church in April 2019, with ground breaking anticipated in the spring 2019 and project completion in 2020. More information about the grant, the construction process, and preliminary design is online

In 2018, the Library accomplished the following:

  • Delivered a dozen electronic library newsletters and began a new materials e-newsletter – sign up at (scroll down for link!)
  • Switched to electronic accounting, delivering all invoices via SoftRight and digital scan to Accounting.
  • Began tagging the Library collections with RFID tags to prepare for self-check.
  • Launched a partnership with Burbio to consolidate local community calendars in one place with multiple feeds at
    Continued popular programs like Afternoon Knitting, Grafton Ukulele Musicians Jam Session,
  • Registered 772 participants in the Summer Reading Program, and provided 122 summer programs (twice as many as last year) for 2,757 participants of all ages. Read to Bead was a very popular component!
  • Added passes to the Springfield Museums, Southwick Zoo, MA Audubon Society, and Zoo New England.
  • 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 the Historical Society and others to offer an Independence Day program on Frederick Douglass.
  • Partnered with Apple Tree Arts, Willard House & Clock Museum, UniBank, Grafton Historical Society, the Grafton Garden Club, Grafton Public Schools, 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 community relief.
  • Partnered with Friends of the Grafton Library on Community Reads and various fundraisers.
  • Partnered with Recreation Department on Fun in the Sun, Scarecrow Contest, and Storytime in the Park, and attended Big Truck Day
  • Partnered with Grafton Public Schools on Parent Teacher nights, Community Reads Days, Mystery Reader, EdCamp, library visits, Student Wellness Resource Fair, PTG Fun Fair and Octoberfest, and Summer Reading.
  • Participated in Town-wide initiatives such as National Night Out, Halloween trick or treating, Shop Grafton, and Grafton Celebrates the Holidays.
  • Coordinated 119 volunteers who donated 1,741 hours of service.
  • Participated in local and national initiatives including the Teal Pumpkin Project, National Voter Registration Day, Banned Books Week, Grafton Clean Up Day, and Library Love Letters.
  • Promoted Big Library Reads (on Overdrive) and PBS’s Great American Read. (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the winning title!)
  • Had a record-breaking 100 attendees at New Year’s at Noon for our youngest patrons.

The Library received 3 grants totaling $22,926.22 in State Aid from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. These funds are appropriated from state taxes annually. Funding is dependent on several requirements:

  • Municipal Appropriation Requirement: the annual Total Municipal Appropriated Income (TAMI) is a minimum of the average of the last 3 years plus 2.5%
  • Meet the minimum Standards of Service for operating hours, materials expenditure, and more
  • Report statistics annually.

Not meeting these terms results in loss of state aid, loss of grant opportunities, loss of awarded grant funds, and loss of reciprocal borrowing privileges. More about State Aid in online at State Aid is a grant for discretionary expenditure to supplement the municipal library budget, and it does not have to be spent by the end of the fiscal year. It is administered by the Board of Trustees, and is currently being banked to defray construction costs; the Trustees have committed $125,000.00 to the Capital Campaign.

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 fundraisers: Pepperoni Express, Container Gardening, LEGO Ornaments, Paint Night and several Down Under Books. Canvas tote bags are still available for sale at the Library as an ongoing fundraiser.

The Library received an additional $3,053.00 in gifts, including fees from passport application execution. These funds were used to buy book carts and fulfill other unexpected equipment needs,

The Library received a MA Cultural Council grant of $1,200.00 that covered 50% of the cost to deliver a storytelling program with Diane Edgecomb, and a Shakespeare-themed concert by Seven Times Salt that included a country dance lesson.

The Capital Campaign continued to accept donations and pledges. Donations are accepted at any UniBank location.

The Library made the following building improvements in 2018:
• Completed repair and restoration on the four columns on the portico at the Main Entrance.
• Made electrical repairs to restore parking lot and entrance lights.
• Installed new wifi hotspots.
• Repaired window leaks.
• Painted restrooms and hallways.
• Performed annual maintenance of air conditioning and heating units, fire alarm system, lift, fire extinguishers, boiler and hot water heater.
• Hired a landscaper to maintain the Library’s vegetables and herb garden.

In 2018, the Library had 12 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 was updated in 2018 and is used as a national standard. Lee McCulloch’ has been on extended leave, Suzanne Witham resigned her 24-hour position due to moving an hour away; she agreed to stay on as a temp to cover leave time gaps. We hired 4 subs as part-time staff to help cover gaps from benefitted staff leave time and are pleased to welcome Jane Burough, Katie Hanna, Ranjita Hedge, and Allison Picone, all Grafton residents.

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 2018. Staff were trained in A.L.I.C.E. (active shooter), customer service, and using
Staff oversaw 119 volunteers who delivered 1,741 hours of service. Volunteers shelved and shelf-read library materials, covered books, gardened, delivered books to the homebound, and worked on clerical projects.

Three members of the Friends of the Grafton Public Library provided 240 volunteer hours managing the Down Under Book Store: sorting, shelving, and merchandising materials donations.

Download our Grafton Library app:
Download Libby, the OverDrive eBook app:
Download the Pronunciator Language Learning app:
Download the Comics Plus app:
Download the app at
Download Access My Library for databases at
Download the Hoopla App on iTunes or Google Play

In addition to offering eBooks, music, movies, and online learning at, the Library continues to increase its social media presence across multiple platforms. Friend or follow the Grafton Public Library on the following sites:

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 2018:
Ingram Library Services (books & media) $45,198.70
C/W MARS network (catalog, delivery) $20,768.00
Midwest Tapes (media) $14,312.86 $11,682.00
OverDrive (ebooks) $9,334.01
Bibliotheca $9,321.00
Blackburn Building $9,100.00
Kearsarge (electric) $6,054.66
Blackstone Publishing $5,994.79
Prenax (magazines) $5,518.32
GovConnection (computers) $5,139.68
W.B. Mason (supplies) $4,175.98
DMH Electrical $3,710.10
Southwick Zoo $3,630.00
Drummey Rosane Anderson, Architects (testing) $3,540.00
Eversource $3,3,76.13
National Grid (electricity) $3,010.23 (database) $3,000.00
Staples Advantage (supplies) $2,756.64
Gale (large print books) $2,672.83
Recorded Books (Artistworks database) $2,500.00
Xerox Corporation (copier lease) $2,486.22
The Creative Company (books) $2,482.00
Allison Cusher $2,244.83
iVerse Media, LLC (ComicsPlus) $2,000.00
T-Mobile $1,896.20
Town of Shrewsbury (Worcester T&G online) $1,872.45
Scholastic (BookFlix database) $1,715.00
Recorded Books (materials) $1,660.55
Worcester Telegram and Gazette $1,579.81
Town of Grafton (sewer) $1,483.77
Plymouth Rocket (software) $ ,450.00
Linda Casey (landscaping) $1,200.00
Crystal Entertainment (Fun in the Sun) $1,200.00
TruGreen $1,127.32
Garaventa (elevator inspection) $1,075.00
Influx (website) $1,000.00

Respectfully submitted,

Elizabeth S. Gallaway, Library Director

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Community Read 2019!

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The Friends of the Grafton Public Library announce the titles for Community Read 2019!

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ADULT Title:  TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

Description: A tale spanning 150 years and two continents re-imagines the peace efforts of democracy champion Frederick Douglass, Senator George Mitchell and World War I airmen John Alcock and Teddy Brown through the experiences of four generations of women from a matriarchal clan.

The Book Discussion will be held at the Grafton Historical Society located at 71 Main Street, South Grafton on Tuesday, March 12th. Join us for refreshments at 7:00 pm and the book discussion will begin at 7:30 pm. Please register for this program. Copies of the book are available at the library.

Can’t make it to the March 12 discussion? Join us for one of these alternate discussion times of TransAtlantic:

Daytimer’s Book Group  Tuesday, March 19  1:30 pm

Reads Well with Others Book Group  Monday, March 25  7:30 pm


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TEEN Title:   Elijah of Buxton  by Christopher Paul Curtis

Description: In  1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton,  Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South, uses his wits and skills to try to bring justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family’s freedom.

The Book Discussion will be on Monday, March 11 7:30 pm and will be held at the Grafton Public Library.


CHILDREN”S Title: Two friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass by Dean Robbins

Description: This story imagines what it was like when Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass got together for a cup of tea and discussed their struggle for civil rights.

Join us March 21  6:30 pm for a special storytime featuring 2019’s Community Read kid’s book, followed by a quick discussion. What historical figure would YOU like to have tea with? This brief program best suited for our older elementary school  friends.


SAVE THE DATE – Upcoming related programs

We know you’ll want to also mark your calendar for April 28th’s program on Frederick Douglass, June 2nd’s program on the women in Frederick Douglass’ life, and July 5th’s Reading Frederick Douglass Together.  The Grafton Historical Society, Grafton Public Library, and the Unitarian Universalist Soceity of Grafton and Upton are proud to bring you these amazing programs.

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Ukulele 101 – Free Class for Beginners ages 13+

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Image result for ukulele

The Grafton Public Library is offering a 4-week class session titled “Ukulele 101.” This class will be taught by Jan Barlow, Music Education Director, of Apple Tree Arts and is for beginners ages 13 and up – teens and adults. The classes will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, and will meet at One Grafton Common, Grafton, MA. Participants must commit to attending all 4 classes. This free class is limited to 10 participants. Participants need to bring a ukulele to the class; the Library has 3 ukuleles available to check out for the course of the session.

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Construction Update: February 2019

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The Planning and Building Committee met with the Historic District Commission to discuss the possibility of a no-mow lawn, an egress pathway from the South side of the building, and the exterior brick. Schematic design should be posted for review by end of January with a 30 day comment period. The Library Planning and Building Committee will attend the Planning Board meeting on Mon Feb 25 at 7pm.
The most current draft schematics are available for review online.

February MBLC Report

Building Committee Minutes
February 4, 2019

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Reading is Magic: Owl Post from the Grafton Public Library

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The Grafton Public Library invites residents to participate in the Harry Potter Themed Winter Reading Program. In case you missed your acceptance letter via Owl Post: YOU have been accepted to participate in the Reading is Magic Winter Reading Program. Please find a list of all necessary books and equipment online at The Winter Reading Term runs from December 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

Stop by the Grafton Public Library at 53 N. Main Street, North Grafton MA to pick up your Hogwarts letter and a lanyard in your house colors (while supplies last). You may choose your favorite house or visit the Sorting Hat ( – you may need to set up a free account) to determine your House placement.

Participants may earn up to 10 badges by completing tasks and reading challenges. Tasks can be completed by attending Library programs or by reading and/or listening to books. Once a task or reading challenge has been completed, return to the Library with your Hogwarts letter to receive your badge, and then complete another task.

Complete information on individual challenges, programs and workshops is available online at and on the Library Event Calendar: Information, dates and times are subject to change. Workshop registration begins two weeks prior to each event. If your plans change, we ask you to kindly call the Library at 508-839-4649 x1103 to cancel, so that we may open your reserved spot to the next person on the waiting list.

Tasks and Reading Challenges include books and activities for coursework in Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, Herbology, and Potions, as well as Flying Lessons and orientation to the Hall of Portraits, the Hogwarts Library, Ollivanders, and Golden Snitch. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, we just can’t seem to retain one…

The Annual House Cup competition takes place in the form of a Penny Fundraiser. Donate to your favorite Hogwart’s house (and deduct points from your competitors by putting donations in THEIR jars). All proceeds raised will be donated to the Grafton Public Library Capital Campaign.

We await your reply by Owl – or visiting the Library in person. Details, Allison Cusher or Sarah Banister, 508-839-4649 or


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Grafton Writer’s Group Meets February 20th

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Do you like to write? Do you want to get some practice in writing and possibly share with other writers? If so, please consider joining fellow writers at the Grafton Library. We gather to learn and to share at 3pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.

The group is open to writers age 16 and up, and is held in the Main Reading Room of the Library, facilitated by Tasha and Stephen Halpert.

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Construction Update #2

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The refinement of the floor plans was a focus for the architects and the Building Committee throughout the late fall and early winter as we met frequently to review the designs. As of this writing all of the major components of the plan have been set, while refinements will continue through the end of the Design Development phase in December. The major improvement was moving the main circulation stair to a more central location in line with the main (new) entrance.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission requires a photo documentation of the project.  Andy Deschenes began capturing many photographs of the existing building (interior and exterior) prior to demolition. These photographs will eventually be incorporated into an historic display in the new/renovated Library.

A search was completed for a temporary home for the library, with the vacant St. Andrews Church in North Grafton selected. The building is in good shape, will accommodate the majority of the Library collection and will provide enough space for the popular Children’s programming to continue. An agreement was reached with St. Andrews Church in North Grafton to use their facility for the Interim Library; a more detailed schedule will be developed but initially it looks like the Library will move in April of 2019.

The architect issued a draft schedule for the project with major milestones as follows:

  • Design Complete: End of March 2019
  • Bidding: March/April 2019
  • Library Move: early April 2019
  • Construction Start: May 1, 2019
  • Construction Complete: September 2020

In December and January, Library floor plans were reviewed collectively by the MA Board of Library Commissioners, the Committee and the architect in mid-December; some minor improvements continue to be made as typically happens during the design process. Additional meetings were held to discuss AV, IT and other technology requirements of the project.

A working session focused on the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) process was held; this is a certification program primarily for new buildings with a sustainability focus. The certification has several levels: Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The goal for this project is Silver, given potential points that are awarded in different categories.

A bid package for movers experienced in Library relocations is being finalized and should go out in January. Meanwhile, the Library Director and Staff have been busy quantifying the library collection and accounting for everything in the Library that will have to move.

Review updated landscaping, schematics and elevations online at

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Storytime at the Grafton Historical Society

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Join us Wednesday, February 27  1:15-1:45 pm for a special storytime at the Grafton Historical Society’s beautiful new South Grafton location.

This Preschool Storytime is a 30-minute program for children ages 3-5. Join Ms. Sarah and share stories, songs, and movement activities.
Please register for this event.

Registration will open two weeks before the event. Register ONLINE or by calling 508-839-4649.

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Teen Crafternoon: Dragon Eggs

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Saturday, February 23  1:00-3:00 pm

Do you wish you could take Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class? Do you think fantasy books are the best? Do you wish you had an unusual pet? How about a dragon? For this Crafternoon session we will create our very own dragon eggs.

This free program is for teens in grades 6-12. All craft supplies will be provided. Dragon food will not.

Sign up is required and starts February 9. Register online through the Events Calendar or by calling 508-839-4649.

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