GRAFTON, Mass.-- A library is the heart of any community, and I've been thrilled in my almost two month tenure to see and meet so many people who use, and love, the Grafton Public Library. (Incidentally, the Friends of the Grafton Library are finishing a membership drive themed Love Your Library--membership starts at just $10 a year).
A library is more than just a brick box of books. It’s the content in our collections, in any format, the services provided from our expert staff, and the members who use our resources, both online and in person.
With a budget of $502,000 (less than 1 percent of the town’s total operating budget) the Grafton Public Library was open 298 days in 2012, and served 56,513 people who walked through the door. The computers served 4,836 users and staff answered 1,843 reference questions. We circulated 103,254 items that had to be checked out and checked in — more than 200,000 transactions.
And we did it with a smile on our faces, while we were down several staff members for almost half the year.
We spent 15 percent of our budget on books, audio books, magazines, music, and movies. Wondering what it would have cost you to buy all the items you checked out? Use our library use calculator to find out, and put a value on computer use, museum passes, database use, eBook downloads, and more.
We’re proud to provide a large return on our investment. In 2013, you’ll see a number of changes at the library, starting with a small accessibility project to bring the building up to code by July 1.
We’ll be revamping our website, and evaluating our services, programs, spaces and collections to make sure everything we are doing creates goodwill for the library.
We started a "no" log in January to determine missed opportunities, and are pleased that some of the questions you asked resulted in new titles, minor procedural changes, and the introduction of a museum pass to the New England Aquarium. We want to be the library that says "yes", and I’ll be using this space to tell you how we are accomplishing that.
All of the 155 libraries in the CW/MARS network transitioned to Evergreen in May. If you’re still having trouble getting acclimated, please don’t hesitate to call for help or stop in for a lesson. Our staff can show you how to renew an item, change your password, pay your overdue fines online, search for a book, movie, audio book, eBook or CD, and place a request for an item that may not be in Grafton.
If you’re experiencing any delays while checking out items, we thank you for your patience. The new system can be sluggish to respond, and several fixes to increase the transaction speed are forthcoming.
As the steward of your tax dollars from local funds to state aid, I’d love to learn what you expect from your 21st century library, and welcome your input and suggestions. If you haven’t stopped in yet, please visit on Saturday. The Friends and Trustees are hosting a welcome reception for me and other new staff from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you aren't using the library I want to know why. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Beth Gallaway is the new director of the Grafton Public Library.