Grafton Public Library

Director’s Report: April 2023

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The Library was open 24 days in April and had 6,385 visitors. We closed for one day due to inclement weather, and delayed opening for staff training, once. We offered 60 programs, including 7 passive programs, for over 900 attendees; three were cancelled, two due to performer illness and one due to lack of staffing. We had 149 meeting room reservations for 838 participants, and 2 no shows. We hosted an additional 47 meeting room uses for staff use (interviews, photography, meetings).

Beth worked with Willard House and Clock Museum to promote the Library Clock Scavenger Hunt—8 people participated and a brother/sister team won! She updated an accompanying book list and display. She shepherded the Grafton Cultural Council grant funded program “Let’s Get Growing” with Eric the Plant Guy—17 people attended at it was well-received—(there was 1 complaint) and our monthly GUM Jam session in partnership with Apple Tree arts.

Beth met with the construction team weekly, attended Town Department Head Meeting, Building Committee meeting, and Board of Library Trustees policy subcommittee meeting. She met with legal to discuss the MHC grant requirements and policy issues, worked on missing items from the MHC grant application. Our GHS intern continued work on a slideshow presentation, QR code display and display of historical photos to satisfy MHC requirements for our building renovation and expansion.

We filed 11 incident reports, including two minor injuries. Beth covered in the Teen Room and Borrower Services Desk, and trained new temp on-call staff. She worked on Vadar reports, and reviewed and submitted payroll and bills. She approved meeting room usage;  updated the website, social media, and calendar of events; and made updates to the procedures manual.

We received our second State Aid disbursement, totaling $42,693.09 for the Town of Grafton in FY23. We use this funding for items not covered in the municipal budget, such as marketing, professional dues, conference and seminar fees, as well as for unexpected expenses such as replacement laptops and emergency maintenance.

Eileen maintained the collection of periodicals, took care of incoming mail, and prepared bills.

Debby worked on scheduling and payroll, compiled Weekly Reports, worked on upcoming social media posts, helped clear the sprinkler room to meet compliance standards from the Grafton Fire Department, and covered the Teen Room, and worked on Board of Library Trustee tasks. 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 meetings.

We hired and trained five new on-call temp staff, who helped fill gaps: please join me in welcoming Katie Millett, Betsy Perry, Shannon Phelan, Greta Schonberg, and Jessica Young.

We recorded 13 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.

Sarah S. viewed webinars on dealing with ornery teens, and on manga in libraries.

With one month! left to go before end of fiscal year, a spending freeze was announced but Library was told we can continue spending as we are in good order.

Beth submitted the remaining outstanding required materials for the MHC preservation grant to the MA Historical Commission to supplement restoration and preservation of the Library’s cupola, which has weather damage and missing flashing and has leaked into the historic Wheelock Reading Room, it was last restored over 20 years ago.  David L. King architects provided an estimate of $218,288 which far exceeds the original verbal quote from 2019 of around $80,000 to restore. With the estimate coming so late, we could not secure a Town Meeting Article, capital funding or CPC support for May 2023 Town Meeting; Beth recommends the Board provide a letter of support and proven cash in hand for 75% of the project, and continue to seek support from CPC for funding at October 2023 Town Meeting.

She called Worcester Elevator for a repair – the grab bar handles lining the elevator were loose, as if someone put excessive weight on them. We also had to remove multiple changing tables in public restrooms due to someone putting excessive weight on them. This kind of ongoing damage is not something we have budgeted for. Beth connected with Renaud HVAC to schedule semi-annual seasonal maintenance; we are still out of step with our scheduled annual maintenance contract. As the Library is very dirty, Beth cleaned and sanitized doors, windows and handrails mid-month.

The “head” library gardener has been in touch and we are compiling a crew to be trained and volunteer under her direction; please complete a volunteer application if you are interested in assisting! Many thanks to Christine Crepeault for her efforts.

Construction Update
Beth attended weekly construction meetings and Library Planning and Building Committee. The doors for the maker space and presentation area do not align with the existing window framing and the installer says the doors did not match the design and with no oversight on site, installer them anyway. Beth will bring this to Building Committee for review. The doors in both locations require lock installation, and we need to order 2 new cores ($170 each). We are still waiting for a ball bearing for the gate at the bottom of the stairs.  Tucker Interiors installed remaining additional shelving in the Children’s Room and Sarah is going through remaining pieces to reconcile the order.

HVAC commissioning is still outstanding; a replacement coil was installed May 1-2, and the installer from Brazer noted the coil held up to the required pressure test, but one of the existing  sensors was found to be defective. The HVAC unit above the staff is still making  a random loud screeching noise like a hard water stop, and the unit rumbles at a low vibration that is extremely disruptive to staff using the room as a respite from work on their legally required break.

IT Update
Beth met with IT on laptop bookmarks and browser homepages; Deep Freeze has been installed on public computers and laptops… just in time for the license agreement to be renewed. Cynthia cataloged and secured all of the circulating laptops. During this, we identified an issue with the laptops and the RFID tag we are currently using, as it will not set off the gates at the door. We are still looking for a security solution – Bibliotheca is providing a sample RFID tag for non-book and media materials.

COVID-19 Update

Volunteers, Outreach and Partnerships
Crescent Manor BookWagon had 8 participants, 29 check-outs and renewals and 7 requests. We delivered 24 items to Homebound patrons. We 23 volunteers who put in 90 hours. We did a push for additional volunteers to help with Library gardens.

Social Media
TikTok and Instagram subscribers continue to increase thanks to Debby’s engagement, while Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube remain stable. We have 2,172 followers on Facebook, 972 on Tik Tok, 762 on Instagram, 106 on YouTube, 419 on Twitter, 423 on Pinterest, and 8 on Flickr.

Children’s Services
April in the Children’s Room saw the return of programming after our month-long hiatus in March. We were still working a bit short, but Susan was able to step in and fill a good number of Cyndi’s hours and new temps began to fill in some of our hours by the end of the month.

Storytime programming had an abbreviated session due to a break for school vacation week programming, but our families seemed very happy to have storytime back in rotation. School vacation week saw a mix of art and STEM activities. All of our programming brought in a good crowd, but the real star of the show was our Slime Lab. We will definitely be offering it again in the future.

The Children’s Room continues to be a busy and fun filled spot in the library. Staff spent the month hard at work assisting patrons, shelving materials, and prepping for upcoming school visits and programming.

Teen Services
Allison went out on maternity leave at the end of March, and Beth is the acting department head for Teen Services in addition to all other duties, through Allison’s return at end of June.

Beth put out materials for pop-up programming including LEGO, puzzles, and What Can You Make with Recycled Materials and posted a question of the week on the whiteboard in the Teen Room. She began investigating the possibility of Xbox games without a console offered through our Samsung televisions (we just need controllers and an Xbox Live account), and compiled YA stats for March. Three teens attended the PopUp Art School watercolor program during April school vacation week.


Sarah S. attended Anime Boston and purchased manga titles, covered the Teen Services desk and worked on displays. stickered and shelved new YA fiction and manga, worked on reader’s advisory posters for the manga collection. put together “Star Wars May the 4th” buttons to have at the desk next week; put together displays for National Food Month and Humor Month, Stars Wars Day, AAPI Heritage Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month. Sarah S. looked into movies and programs for Pride month. Jessica reviewed shelving locations, reader’s advisory handouts and online resources, and checked out library databases.

Borrower Services
We circulated 10,720 physical items and 2,767 digital items, slight decreases from last month and last year. We had 107 museum pass reservations; 93 were picked up and there were 14 no shows.  The seed packets program has opened for the season with 198 packets (108 packets put out for the “soft opening” in March, and 90 additional packets put out in April. We registered 82 new borrowers and corrected 6 accounts for Grafton patrons. We made 5 out of network requests; 2 were unfillable.

Evergreen was updated to version 3.7.4 over Patriot’s Day Weekend, April 16th-17th. The update includes adding a “staff view” tab to the staff catalog, removal of the gender statistical category in the patron record, and updates to the “Search Library” field, updating patron notification preferences, and editing lists in the OPAC

Our main display for April was National Poetry Month. The four smaller displays were: Autism Acceptance Month, National Card and Letter Writing Month, Gardening from Seeds, and Stress Awareness. A book list was added to the website for Autism Acceptance Month. A graphic novel display was set up for Reading is Funny Day. A mixed display was set up highlighting the seed library and spring/summer items from the Library of Things. Sandhya hosted two programs for adults: 8 people attended the daytime “Unplug with Art” event, and 15 attended the “Watercolor Poppies” program with the Pop-Up Art School, participants were delighted and we have had a request to bring in more art programs for adults.

Reference Services
We answered 251 reference questions, placed 607 holds, and had 193 total computer users and 3,824 Wi-Fi sessions. Patrons accessed library databases 1,873 times.

Eric and Heidi assisted patrons with technology, reference and circulation questions, worked on statistics, and continued collection maintenance and collection development activities. Because we wanted to be sure that the unanticipated staffing shortage was resolved we postponed the Community Read to May.  Therefore there were no book groups held in April. Instead, a teaser display was put up for the Community Read.

We hosted Time to Habitat, a Financial Seminar with Frank Randall, Grafton Ukulele Musicians – GUM Jam, an author visit with Ted Reinstein, National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Eric created a non-fiction staircase display having to do with gardening to promote the seed library. They worked on refreshing the endcap displays and worked on the staircase display for May. The theme for the staircase display is “May is Get Caught Reading Month…We’re making it easy with our oversized collection.”

Technical Services
841 items were added in April and 274 items were deleted. Cynthia worked on fixing 135 items, including many requests to change the call number and spine labels for consistency and many faded spine labels that could no longer be read. She 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.

Cynthia prepared to pause ordering as Ingram is currently working on setting up our account consolidation and grid account. She pulled reports to monitor our open items and pulled reports to get lists of our cancelled backorders. She prepared those lists and sent each selector lists from their department. She attended a webinar training on Grid Ordering from Ingram; this webinar was less about using the grids for call numbers, so she will still need to attend training with our Ingram rep.  Cynthia also put together a Demco order and helped cover the desk for Borrower Services during meals and staff leave.

Save the date! The Friends Annual Meeting is Friday June 9. They will vote in a slate of candidates for the Board positions, and are planning a fall book sale.
Yes, we have the ability to scan documents, but not to email. (BS to follow up on why this has not been resolved yet.)
Yes, we have internships, but only unpaid and only in partnership with existing organizations and programs, like GHS.
Yes, you may check out board games

NO Log
No, unfortunately we cannot accommodate a 3-day private training seminar; per our meeting room policy, all events must be open to public during operating hours
No, we do not have a deck of cards? Not that we could find (reordered 4/19/23! -BS)
No, we do not have anyone who teaches about computers and Cricut machines (staff referred her to Shrewsbury for Cricut equipment and found a Cricut book in our collection; one-on-one tech training is available by appointment -BS)
No, we cannot renew your library book from another library. -No, but you can call the owning library and ask them if they will renew it for you (in the past, staff have called on a patron’s behalf, not sure when this changed… -BS)
No, we do not have any internship opportunities, like tutoring or computer help open – we only work with existing program (but you can complete a volunteer form! BS).
No, we do not have cough drops to dispense to the public.

Patron Comments
I love this display in the lobby! (the art quilt) It is so beautiful!
A patron in the CR commented “You always have such a great selection of books here! I come all the time and always find something new and wonderful! Before you opened we would go to a play space for playtime and then go to a bookstore. Now we do both here and it is so much fun, and saves us so much money!”
A patron suggested some type of sign be on the first pane of glass at the bottom of the stairs so someone doesn’t accidentally walk into the glass when trying to get to the checkout from the Friend’s corner – CZ (I reviewed, there is a large post, and a stair rail, and the glass between is too narrow for a person to fit… -BS)
This library is so beautiful!  I’m originally from Grafton and visit many libraries to do paperwork.  Grafton Public Library is beautifully designed, like two bookends.
This library is so great! (overheard from parents visiting with small children)
The outside door opener is fixed? I came on just the right day then!
Wow, you do free art programs for kids every Tuesday and Thursday? That’s amazing!
Your library of things has lot of puzzle collections-Love it
“Wow this place is beautiful. This is my first time here”
Patron complaint about “Let’s Get Growing” program. Patron upset their tax dollars funded this program, and that it was free and open to the public. (Checked in with BoLT chair and with Cultural Council, GCC they will address at their next meeting.  -BS)
What a beautiful idea to have art in the library and anyone can do it!
I wish you opened earlier during school vacation week! X5
“Wow, this is the place to be!” (14 families before 10:20am)
Little friend made me a statue out of magna-tiles to “thank” me for “this place.” Thanks to Stacie for buying all the new set of magna-tiles! They are such a big hit this vacation week!
“I read one of your books from the end (The Secret Life of Sunflowers).  I liked it. I’m very glad you put interesting things at the end.” [Endcap displays].
“It’s my favorite librarian.”
“It’s a fascinating machine. I could do this all day. (She likes the self-checkout machine).
Four patrons came in before 10 am because the front door was unlocked due to construction. –(they should be coming in through the Community Room or another door before opening, will follow up with Custodial -BS)
This is our first time here. I remember the old library. This is really neat. I like the use of space and the open ceiling in the CR. Well done. (-patron in CR)
Already things are breaking here–I see a sign saying the charging station is broken, Its New building , what’s going on? (Most damage has been caused by patrons – in this case, someone backed into the ESVE and we are waiting on parts to repair it – scheduled for 5/15/2023. Unfortunately, our camera software is not good enough to collect license plate information to press charges for the person who did it. As for the changing table, we suspect teens sat or climbed on it, but no restroom cameras to bill responsible party. We replaced the one on the first floor in the gender free restroom before end of month. -BS)
“Can you help me find a book?  I don’t usually do this, but it’s such a nice day out that I want to read outside and I need a book. I just got a library card.”
“You do such a great time with storytime. I have been to a lot of these programs, and I am a teacher, and you are so fantastic at keeping the kids engaged.”
“This floor is kind of dirty. It looks like the doors were left open and a lot of leaves blew in.” -the Community Rooms after the farmer’s market was here the day before. (Custodial is on call for issues like this, please refer to emergency Contacts and Procedures sheet -BS)
It looks like a car wash! (Little friend coming into the CR for the first time.)
“Thank you for offering an MP3 CD player in your Library of Things. It has broadened my audiobook listening options!”
I had a lovely conversation with a college admissions counselor visiting Grafton for a career fair at the high school. She always stops by the local library when visiting a town to see the importance the town puts on lifelong learning. She was super impressed with the children’s room and called it one of the best she’d ever seen. She loved how vibrant and welcoming the room is and how diverse the collection was, and she is sure she’ll see the results of this in her applicants.
“Do you have to work until closing? Wow, closing at 9pm?  That’s late. Too bad you won’t get to enjoy the beautiful day.”
“I love it [self-check out]. It’s so easy. I think the return is easy too. When you don’t like something, you can just return it. I got two books last week. I’m liking one of them. But I didn’t like the other, so I just returned it. It’s great.”
“This is the most beautiful library.  I’m from town and I just discovered it!”
“We watched the first episode of Happy Valley last night, we liked it thank you for finding it for us.”
“What an awesome [Children’s] room!”
The gender neutral/family bathroom downstairs smells horrible! (May be related to the HVAC coil needing replacement… Custodial is on call for issues like this, please refer to emergency Contacts and Procedures sheet -BS)
“I’m appalled by the language I’m hearing in the hallway” (outside YA) (staff  are directed to correct behavior that violates Code of Conduct, i.e. creating a disturbance for others -BS).
A patron expressed concern/frustration that the changing table in the women’s bathroom was still out of order and hadn’t been fixed. They said that they have noticed it has been out of order for a number of weeks. They also mentioned that the changing table in the gender neutral bathroom on the first floor seems to be damaged. SB – I put an out of order sign on the changing table in the gender neutral bathroom. I checked the changing table in the family bathroom and it looks to be working as intended. (I asked Paul to remove the broken ones and see if they can be repaired, and reinstall an extra one we have. We have also ordered a changing pad for the Nursing Room -BS)
Given the great popularity of the Pop-Up Art workshop for adults, is there any chance that another class could be added for patrons who are interested?  X3  (We can talk about scheduling another session or submit requests for GCC funding -Oct deadline! -BS)
A patron requested that we hold a self-defense program for senior women. She thinks it would be well attended. (GPD is offering one for high school students, I will pass along -BS)
Patron commented that they loved the adult watercolor program that we are offering (pop up art school), but were disappointed that it filled up so fast. They hope to see us offer more adult art programs in the future.
“Every time I come here there are misbehaving kids” (staff  are directed to correct behavior that violates Code of Conduct, i.e. creating a disturbance for others -BS).
Patron stated that they love all of our children’s books because they are so inclusive. She loved that we showcase a variety of races and families and that our picture books help at such a young age to start the discussion on tough topics.
“We’ve been trying to figure out if we need to print his [driver’s] permit or not. He tried to print it at school and that didn’t work. Then he said why don’t we try the library? Oh, the library! We should try that. I haven’t been here since he was 10. And Wow! How amazing it is!” (please promote the MA Driving Tests online software – it’s free! -BS)
“You look like a green garden fairy!” (dressed to encourage interest in the gardening program tonight.)
“You’ve been so helpful. Thank you!” (School project – A.E. Burgess leather factory).

Respectfully submitted,

Beth Schreiber

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