Grafton Public Library

Director’s Report for October 2023

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The Library was open 25 days in October and had 6,752 visitors. We offered 21 programs for 1,615 attendees (see trick or treat totals). We had 121 meeting room reservations for 401 participants. We hosted an additional 23 meeting room uses for staff use (meetings, programs etc.) and filed 8 incident reports, including first-aid and a car over the curb in the parking lot.

The Library was closed in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October, 9, 2023.

GPL participated in Octoberfest on Saturday, October 14 and saw 275 visitors to the table who enjoyed discussing the library while having fun with temporary tattoos.

On the evening of Saturday, October 14, the Grafton Public Library hosted the Capital Campaign donor party. The event was a smashing success for Capital Campaign, yet a few concerns were raised regarding trustee conflict of interest and treatment of staff, and as well as Facility Rental procedures.

The Library opened at 2 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, 2023 due to staff development. Staff members had a chance to decompress, enjoy a craft that is being offered as an adult program, collaborate as a staff and work in departments. Breakfast and lunch were provided.

On Wednesday, October 25, we participated in the Friendly Trick or Treat event at the Town of Grafton Municipal Center sponsored by the Grafton Recreation Department and handed out rubber ducks instead of candy and greeted 215 people.

Throughout the day on Halloween, staff and patrons alike enjoyed posing and taking pictures in the life-sized Barbie box created by Children’s Room staff. Staff members dressed as various Barbies throughout the day. We had 100% staff participation in our costume theme which was a lot of fun and a boost to staff morale.

Halloween evening on October 31 brought 859 trick or treaters to the library where we exhausted our supply of rubber ducks, handing out nearly 1,400 rubber ducks between the two trick or treating events.

No Interim Director has been named, yet Administrative Assistant, Debby Jackson, has assumed a great deal of the tasks left by the director in her absence and has a contract to be compensated for taking on additional duties per Town Administration.

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, planned the Staff Development Day and Grafton Celebrates the Holidays, covered the Teen Room, and worked on Board of Library Trustee tasks.

We recorded 21 low coverage instances due to scheduled, earned leave of benefitted staff, chronic understaffing in the Teen and Reference departments, and staff out on leave.

The Director will be taking an FMLA-eligible leave of absence through the end of the calendar year.

Cynthia O’Neil in Technical Services had her last day on October 27, 2023 as she accepted a position outside of the library. Her position was posted internally and is expected to be filled on a full-time basis by the beginning of December. In the interim, staff from Teen, Reference, and Borrower Services are filling in to prevent a lapse in service.

The 12-hour Children’s Room position remains unfilled with a permanent replacement since July 1. An additional Children’s Room staff member has requested to drop four hours from her schedule. Department Heads have spoken with William Blake who has approved posting two 8-hour positions in November and we hope to have them filled in early December as well.

At the end of October we were at 47% of our budget for the 2024 fiscal year. 90% of those expenses attributed to contracted services billed annually at the beginning of the fiscal year such as Bibliotecha and CWMars.

Assistant Town Administrator William Blake is overseeing building issues and had several meetings with various contractors regarding general maintenance as well as flood remediation.

Reconstruction was delayed throughout the month of October for various reasons. When the initial insurance claim was submitted, carpet in the impacted areas was intact. After the work ServPro completed, the carpet began pulling up off of the floor and cabinetry in the Children’s Program Room and the bench by the window had been removed and disposed of; it became necessary to reevaluate and submit an updated insurance claim to MIIA. Construction was further delayed by permitting issues.

We are still waiting for return of chairs from Tucker, they are repairing stitching issues on the upholstery of several chairs. Several wooden chairs from the Wheelock Historic Reading Room are in need of repair as well. We will be looking into whether they can be repaired by Maintenance or if we will need to contract services.

Preparations are being made to begin laptop rollout. Heidi Fowler was tasked with piloting the program with one set of laptops on the second floor. The process was put on hold as the staff adjusted to the Director’s leave of absence. It will be revisited in November per request of the trustees and in light of the patron verbal altercation incident that occurred.

Crescent Manor BookWagon had 4 participants, 35 check-outs and renewals and 4 requests. We delivered 14 items to Homebound patrons.

Heidi attended the Special Grafton Historical Society tea on Saturday October 14th at which they had tea and decorated hats.

We had 10 volunteers who put in 29.75 hours.

We have 1,022 followers on TikTok, 2,001 followers on Facebook, 815 on Instagram, 112 on YouTube, 135 Twitter, and 430 on Pinterest. We have 2,150 subscribers on Constant Contact and a 70% open rate on emails.

Due to flood remediation, the Children’s Room staff have continued to work out of the Friend’s Corner. Staff have been adjusting to the new work flow, but it has been a rocky transition. Children’s Room staff have continued to field near-constant questions and concerns from the public ranging from sympathetic understanding to frustration about the closure of the Children’s Room, our current programming hiatus, and the temporary suspension of the Friends of the Grafton Public Library’s book sale.

At this time the Children’s Room staff is planning to have programming begin again in the new year. Construction is expected to being in early November, and we anticipate it taking the whole month to complete the project. Staff will also need a week to set the room back up, unpack boxes, and set up work stations before we can welcome patrons back into the space. We need a minimum of 4 weeks lead time to plan and advertise any programs.

We are back in full swing with outreach programming and visited NGES and Busy Bee during the month of October. We have added Silver Spruce to our outreach line up and hope to schedule future dates with SGES.

During the month of October we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of teens stopping by after school. Although we get a regular core group of 5-8, it seems that the decline is due to increase in after school clubs and athletics. We are trying various programs and times to see what will bring in teens. We relaunched Dungeons & Dragons. It is a teen-led program that is being held every other Monday. There has also been a significant decrease in the number incident reports in the Teen Room which I believe is the result of having teens fill out a new behavior agreement, reminding them of behavior expectations, having multiple consistent staff members in the afternoon, and the overall decrease in large crowds that used to visit daily. We are happy to report that we are still a very popular destination on half days. 

Museum Passes
There were 43 reservations; 36 were picked up and there were 7 “No Shows.”

We are still not accepting appointments for Passports.

We registered 47 new borrowers and corrected 2 accounts for Grafton patrons.

A patch was installed in Evergreen on 10/8 for features enabled throughout the month. Updates included online eCard renewal for patrons, eCards available for patrons from certified non-CW MARS Massachusetts towns, extended item renewals based on original due date instead of renewal date (except for overdue items), and combining the courtesy and autorenewal notices into one notice with auto-renewals processing two days prior to the due date.

Seed Library
The Seed Library program has been closed for the season; seed donations have been requested from the community. Approximately 150 seed packets were donated by a local nursery.

We made 5 out of network requests; 0 were unfillable.

No significant news.

Adult Services Our main display for October was Harvest of Horror. The 4 smaller displays were: Horror Books & Movies, Autumn Fiction, Stranger Reads, and Coffee and Cookies (celebrating International Coffee Day and National Homemade Cookie Day). A graphic novel display was set up for scary comics.

Sandhya hosted one daytime “Unplug with Art” program for adults: 2 people attended. She organized and hosted the third and final session of the Diamond art program for adults: 9 people attended (and 2 registrants notified ahead of time that they couldn’t attend).

In- person book discussion groups: “Not Just for Young Adults” Book Discussion Group: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee; Daytimers Book Group: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen;  GPL Mystery Book Group: Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans; “Reads Well with Others” Adult Book Discussion Group: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune; and the “Inspirational Book Club” and Guided Meditation: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train our Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin.
Saturday Afternoon Knitting (Saturday, October 21st; 2pm-4pm).

Eric created a “Harvest of Horror” staircase display for Spooky Season and Heidi set up an “In Memoriam” end cap display for Matthew Perry upon his passing.

Heidi assisted with tech and reference questions as well as circulation and room reservations / check-ins and museum passes. She also attended professional development, hosted book groups, worked on collection development, program planning, grant writing, PR and statistics.

Eric assisted patrons with technology, reference, museum passes, room requests/check-ins and circulation questions. Eric ordered new books for the non-fiction collection, put out new non-fiction materials, planned for November displays, set up new desk space, shifted the collection to make more space, did collection maintenance, monthly statistics, helped clear out the reference desk before it was moved downstairs, attended professional development and put out new non-fiction books. they also trained on Technical Services and Cataloging.

527 Staff-Placed Holds

We recorded the following statistics for database uses: Gale 684, PebbleGo 0, Peterson’s 0, Transparent Language 2, Novelist 9, Ancestry 701, ComicsPLUS 13, Pronounciator 3, BookFlix 7. We had 132 adults use public computers and 11 teens record computer use. WiFi statistics were unavailable.

Technical Services
Cynthia O’Neil accepted a position with CWMars and had her last day with us on Friday, October 27, 2023. Prior to her departure, department heads and Debby met to discuss a staffing plan that would keep the department running and prevent a lapse in service for patrons. Allison Cusher (Teen), Allie Picone (Borrower Services), and Eric Lindstrom (Reference) all trained with Cynthia prior to her departure. The vacancy was posted internally and until it is filled, Allison C, Allie P, and Eric are working in the Tech Services office and any desk time this month is being covered by temps.

Tech Services added 729 items in October and deleted 247 items.

The Friends of the Grafton Public Library book sale remains on hold as the Children’s Room continues to use the Friends Corner as their temporary collection location. Friends will be present at Grafton Celebrates the Holidays on December 3 to sell book bundles and other gift items.

The next Friends meeting will be posted to the Friends Facebook page at

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