Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012
The Seekonk Public Library has been providing high quality library service from its facility at 410 Newman Avenue for thirty-one years. The needs of Seekonk residents have changed greatly, and the demand for library services has grown steadily in that time. Despite these challenges, the Seekonk Public Library has continued to satisfy the demands of its users. In fiscal year 2012, this achievement was all the more notable because of the unexpected death of Sharon St. Hilaire, the director who had guided the library for all of those years. Leadership of the library was transferred smoothly, however, when the Board of Trustees appointed Peter Fuller library director. With the support of this community and the efforts of a dedicated staff, Seekonk Public Library continues to meet and strives to exceed the expectations of its users.
Seekonk Meadows, the passive recreation area adjacent to the library also marked a historic transition. In June 2012, Seekonk Meadows was officially opened to the public. The Meadows was the fruition of many years of work by many individuals. The Seekonk Meadows Management Committee played a pivotal role in bringing Seekonk its first public park, and the Board of Trustees thank them for their efforts.
In fiscal year 2012, Seekonk Public Library distinguished itself when it became one of only seventy-five libraries from across the country to receive a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Fund. FINRA awarded the library $98,818 for its Dollars & Sense program, which has the aim of improving participants’ personal financial management and investing skills.
The library was open a total of 2,631 hours last year. With only a few exceptions, the library was able to maintain its six day, fifty-three hour a week schedule. People visited the library 112,849 times last fiscal year. There are currently 8,652 Seekonk residents who have library cards. Last year, 833 new borrowers were issued library cards. Approximately two hundred out-of-state residents each paid $60 last year to receive a Seekonk Public Library card. These annual fees were part of $12,000 in total revenues raised by the library last fiscal year. In addition, the library raised approximately $20,000 in fines last year.
The primary attraction of the library is the diverse and interesting collection of materials that it has developed. The library offers over 111,000 items. Books and other printed materials account for approximately seventy percent of the collection. Electronic resources (CDs, DVDs, electronic books) account for the remaining thirty percent of the total collection. In 2012, the library greatly increased the number of Blu-Ray video discs and electronic games in its collection. The library also began circulating electronic books (e-books) on Nook e-book readers in 2012. These new resources are part of an overall effort to develop a collection reflective of the needs and interests of the residents of Seekonk.
One indication of how successful these efforts have been is that Seekonk Public Library consistently has one of the highest per capita lending rates in the state. Library users borrowed 287,080 items in fiscal year 2012. Included in this circulation total are approximately 5,600 electronic resources that people downloaded either at the library or from home. Many residents took advantage of the library’s membership in the state-wide library network, and 28,422 items were borrowed from other libraries.
The many programs and classes offered by the Seekonk Public Library were another major attraction of library users in 2012. The library offered 139 adult programs last fiscal year. This figure includes the library’s popular computer classes. Programs and classes had a combined total attendance of 2,633. The library offered 228 programs for children and families. These programs had a total attendance of 6,719. The summer reading program was again a great success in 2012 with 337 children participating. All of these programs supplement and support the library’s larger mission to promote life-long learning, childhood literacy, personal health and well-being, and democratic discourse.
The library has a total staff of nineteen people. Eight are full-time employees and six of these are state certified librarians. Library staff members take great pride in the personal services they provide. Last year, the library staff members provided reference assistance and personal instruction 10,069 times. Many of these questions involved using the electronic resources available for downloading and the on-line computer databases. In fiscal year 2012, the library expanded this effort to include individual instruction on using e-book readers and tablet PCs. Staff members assisted the public with their personal devices or one of the many devices owned by the library. The staff also devoted a great deal of time to assisting people who use the library’s thirty-nine public computers or who connect their personal devices to the library’s Wi-Fi service. On average, 254 people used the public computers at the library each week. This personalized instruction is part of the library’s larger effort to train people to be knowledgeable users and consumers of new information technology.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the library could not be the popular and effective service it is without the support of the community. The library is fortunate to have the support of many individual volunteers, and two non-profit organizations, the Friends of the Library and the Seekonk Library Trust. Money raised by the Friends of the Library supplements the basic services paid for with tax dollars. These popular additional services include the museum passes, family night programs, and the summer concert series. In fiscal year 2012, the Friends of the Library donated approximately $16,000 for these and other services. The Seekonk Library Trust was established to solicit and accept donations from private sources for library purposes. The focus of the Library Trust is on addressing long-term needs of the library. Both organizations are an important part of the public and private partnership that provides quality library service to the people of Seekonk.
Seekonk Board of Library Trustees
Michael Durkay, Chairman