Director’s Report: February 2023
The Library was open 21 days in February and had 7,068 visitors. We closed early due to cold temperatures once, and due to inclement weather once. We offered 71 programs, 7 passive, all in-person, for over 790 attendees. We had 139 meeting room reservations for 525 participants, 2 cancellations and 2 no shows, and 77 additional meeting room uses for staff or Library programs.
We kicked off the Boston Bruins/MBLC Cradles to Crayons Pajama Drive on February 1 and collected 75 pairs of new pajamas for ages 0-18 through March 15.
Beth attended a ToG Department Head meeting and met briefly with Legal regarding policy questions and a few incidents; going forward we will only email out incidents with names redacted. She met with the Board of Library Trustees Policy Subcommittee, where we approved bringing three revised policies (Parking Policy, Security Camera Policy, and Inclement Weather) to the February BoLT meeting. We discussed draft Food & Beverage and Kitchen Use Policy as well, and the Art Display and Exhibit Policy is with legal for review.
Beth made website updates, started the Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness training, which is about responded to behavior issues in ways the preserve the dignity and respect of patrons of all ages, from all walks of life. She responded to requests from Trustees and Capital Campaign, provided logistical support for the Friends upcoming Used Book Sale, and worked on promoting Library events. She responded to meeting room use and facility rental requests.
Beth completed the December 2022 and January 2023 MBLC MPLCP grant reports,and started the February report, began working on the draft application for MA Historical Commission’s 29th Preservation Grant Round, and wrote a grant report for MA Office on Disabilities from our grant for hardware and training for patrons with low vision. We have the following available for use:
• Da Vinci Pro All-in-One HD Video Magnifier with full page text-to-speech OCR that allows it to easily read your favorite article or book aloud in a male or female premium voice and in many different languages. Sign up to use in-house our 10-seat conference room (219).
• MagnaLink Zip PREMIUM portable video magnifier for enlarge objects on the desktop (near), like a book or newspaper, or to look across a room (distant). Check out or in-house use.
• Explorer 5 digital video magnifier – use to take a snapshot and enlarge a spine label, a price tag, ingredients list, a receipt, or any other information that you need to increase font size of for readability! Check out or in-house use.
Beth contributed to and sent the March newsletter, completed January statistics, collected February statistics, prepared materials for the library’s budget hearing with FinCom on March 15, submitted bills for payment, compiled a list of resources for computer and browser accessibility, completed a non-fiction book order, met with IT, held a staff meeting, reviewed incident reports, and communicated with Trustees, Capital Campaign, and other town departments. She met with a GHS student interested in completing a library internship, and worked on a list of tasks and paperwork for the internship. She updated the website, updated procedures, posted two Temporary On-Call Library Associate Positions for the Children’s Room and Teen Room, and she and Debby responded to applicants.
Eileen maintained the collection of periodicals, took care of incoming mail, and prepared bills. Debby compiled the Weekly Report, worked on upcoming social media posts, payroll and scheduling, as well as tasks for the Board of Library Trustees for their upcoming meeting on Wednesday, February 22, 2023. She represented GPL at the 2023 Legislative Breakfast at the Worcester Public Library and coordinated details for the Super Cheesy Secret Cupid exchange for staff.
Save the Date: The Friends of the Library’s Spring Fundraiser takes place Saturday April 1; Egg
We recorded 28 low coverage instances where we had to pull someone from another department, derailing them from their work or duties; call in a temp, or close a department. We had multiple staff go out on leave and are in need of a larger temp pool to cover service desks. Beth posted a vacancy notice at the end of the month and hopes to interview and hire in March; staff are stretched thin, very stressed, and morale is low.
Half of the staff participated in a staff development day, receiving ALICE training with practical drill, lunch, and department meetings. Most completed the First Amendment Audit Webinar and we have several suggestions for improvements to make; our policy is strong. Most completed the Niche Academy’s Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness.
With three months left to go before end of fiscal year, we are getting tight on funds. Although slightly under in utilities, we are over in repair and maintenance and office supplies, and we have about $10,000 left to spend on educational materials.
Beth met with Evan, William and Mary to review the FY24 budget proposal, edited down to 6.66% increase, in February, then met with a FinCom liaison, before our public hearing March 15. The FY24 budget request includes increasing one staff member from 19 to 35 hours, and adding 1 18-hour a week position in the Teen Room, plus up to 6 hours a week for temps. This still leaves us at a significant deficit for covering all desks all hours through benefit staff leave time, meetings, and programs.
Beth expressed profuse thanks to Building Department and DPW for their responsiveness to an unexpected hail and ice storm at the beginning of the month–custodial was deployed and the Library lot thoroughly salted. Beth is working on the documents required for the annual building inspection. Once the ADA millwork is complete and the architect alerts the Building Inspector we can get our permanent certificate of occupancy and request another reimbursement of grant funds. The building is very dirty and dusty as the custodial vacancy has not been filled and we are back to getting 10-15 hours a week. The good news is, when we have an issue, there is usually someone on call who can clean up biohazards or remove ice and snow.
Beth attended weekly construction meetings, and took minutes at the Library Planning and Building Committee, where frustration was expressed over long lead time for punch list items and lack of collaboration with Director for scheduling of contractors. We have a quote from Evergreen to remove a boarder of the green roof that may be contributing to the ongoing leak in the Community Room Beth met with Chandler regarding an ADA door opener issue – the motor sensor has failed and part needs to be ordered. Chandler swapped the crash bar for the Children’s Program Room Emergency Exit and still need to add an alarm to the emergency exits from the Children’s Room, a needed safety feature. ADA Millwork began; Beth confirmed a quartz backsplash option, laminate option, and and wall supports instead of laminate legs for computer counters. The millworks made a housing for drawers that were cut when we lowered the counter in the Teen Librarian’s office so we would not lose storage. We had a few noise and scheduling complaints. Work was completed by mid-March. Tucker Library Interiors came to install additional shelving. Veterans, LG, and Advantage met to resolve the HVAC software issue and replace a part; we still have an outstanding repair that is preventing 219-215 from being a comfortable temperature between 68-74 degrees per OSHA standard.
Still outstanding: HVAC commissioning, ADA Millwork, wheel for gate, presentation area and maker space doors, humidifier, exterior ADA sign. Sunshine Sign was on site at the beginning of the month to install donor signage and corrections to the donor wall. A portion of the green roof was cut back to solve the issue of the leak in the Community Room. No leaking was reported during a significant storm in March.
Still outstanding: Outlook and Office 365; Deep Freeze installation, laptop deployment.
Volunteers, Outreach and Partnerships
We had 16 volunteers who put in 62.5 hours. Crescent Manor BookWagon had 8 participants, 28 check-outs and renewals, and 4 requests. We delivered 15 items to Homebound patrons.
Grafton Ukulele Musicians – GUM Jam met in partnership with Apple Tree Arts. Joe Kuras presented the History of Baseball in Grafton in partnership with Grafton Historical Society). We are working on a Clock Scavenger Hunt with Willard House and Clock Museum in April in celebration of Simon Willard’s birthday.
TikTok and Instagram subscribers are increasing thanks to Debby’s engagement, while Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube remain stable.
Children’s programming continued in February with weekly storytime programming for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers; outreach programming at Busy Bee, North Grafton Elementary, South Grafton Elementary, and Willard House; drop in programming for school aged children and their families in the evenings and on weekends. Storytime programming continues to draw a consistent crowd and we are seeing more and more school age kids in evening and weekend programming.
School vacation was filled with fun activities like Sewing Camp, Slime Making, Perler Beads & Movies, Tinker Tuesdays, and a special Space themed Saturday storytime.
Due to an unanticipated, and unprecedented, staffing shortage, staff spent much of February looking at the staffing schedule and trying to think of ways we can keep the CR fun and interactive while the library is down 86 hours per week. In the end, department heads made the very difficult decision to suspend library programming in March. The end of February was spent alerting patrons, making social media posts, updating the EventKeeper calendar, and fielding questions from patrons.
During the month of February the Teen Librarian took leave and worked from home on planning the summer programs and Beanstack, and scheduling book orders and displays. Multiple staff have been covering the room in her absence and Allison sends her gratitude.
We circulated 10,965 physical items and2,675 digital items. There were 87 reservations; 73 were picked up and there were 14 “No Shows.” We registered 81 new borrowers and corrected 1 account for Grafton patrons. We made 19 out of network requests; 13 were unfillable. Staff began preparing to reopen the seed packets program, hopefully mid-March. Allison prepared the March newsletter. Sandhya updated museum passes and hosted two programs for adults: “Unplug with Art,” and “Color Me Calm.”
Our main display for February was “Books about Empowering Women.” The four smaller displays were: National Library Lovers Month, Romance Trilogies, New Historical Romances, and “Chocolate Goes with Everything, especially a Great New Story.” A book list and two displays were created for Black History Month. A graphic novel display was set up for Valentine’s Day.
We answered 360 reference questions, placed 602 holds, and had 3,498 computer users including 174 on site.
Heidi assisted patrons on the reference desk with information and referral, reference and research request, meeting room use, computer help, and more. Both ordered books for the non-fiction collection.
Eric assisted patrons with technology, reference and circulation questions. They organized and displayed new non-fiction arrivals. They worked on weeding and refreshed the endcap displays. Eric reached out to Omnigraphics to help collect Teen Resource Center statistics. They also reported monthly statistics. Eric created a non-fiction staircase display having to do with interpersonal relationships and relationships with yourself, and worked on the March staircase display as well. They helped set up the technology for the “History of Baseball in Grafton” event put on by the Grafton Historical Society.
We held the following in person book discussion groups:
- The “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group met to discuss The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye.
- The Daytimers Book Group met to discuss Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley.
- The GPL Mystery Book Group met to discuss Under the Alaskan Ice by Karen Harper.
- The “Reads Well with Others” Adult Book Discussion Group met to discuss Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters.
- The “Inspirational Book Club” discussion of Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times, by Katherine May was postponed to March 7 due to inclement weather.
Additional programs included a Financial Seminar and Saturday Afternoon Knitting, etc.
637 items were added in February and 234 items were deleted. Cynthia created a spreadsheet to track problem items to see common issues; she fixed 46 items this month. Cynthia created records for various Library of Things items including portable CD players and Children’s games, ordered books for each department and unpacked items as they arrived, sent in scans to the CatCenter for original cataloging and sent in requests for records to be added to the catalog, and worked on documentation for using and ordering from Baker & Taylor. She created a bookplate for a donated children’s book, received the first shipment from Crimson Multimedia for our video game order, and helped with coverage for the Escape Room program and Borrow Services desk.
The Friends held their February Book Sale and raised over $2,500. There has been little interest in summer reading t-shirt sales. The Spring Egg Hunt takes place Saturday April 1. Tickets go on sale March 11 for $5 each. Their next Board meeting is Tuesday March 21 at 7:30 via Zoom.
Yes, you can return books from Worcester Public Library in our return.
Yes, we have WIFI you can use to livestream a program? (Historical Society person wanting to live stream the baseball speaker on Saturday)
Yes, we have computers you can use to print something out
Yes, we have colored pencils that you can use.
Yes, we have a big rooms available for events? Yes, you may bring food according to BoH/Town/Library policy.
Yes, you can get into the Teen Room to browse, but not to hang out unattended, when we are under-staffed.
No, you can’t come into the Children’s Room without your parent. (to a child under 8)
No, I’m so sorry but you can’t book a teen/tween study room or hang out in the teen room. You are welcome to browse the collection, but the space is reserved for our teen patrons. (to an adult patron)
No, there’s no toddler time today. We take a break for school vacation. x4
No, the Friends are no longer taking book donations x2
No, we don’t have a laminator for your use. (We do, in Borrower Services… $1/page -BS)
No, we don’t have Kanopy Streaming ( But Shrewsbury/Westboro/Sutton do have it)
No, I cannot contact other patrons to see if anyone is willing to switch Escape Room time slots with you.
Compliments about the building: 8
Complaints about the building: 1
Complaints about closures: 2
Compliments about programs: 5
Complaints about programs:1
Complaints about noise/teens: 2
Compliments about teens: 2