Annual Town Report for Fiscal Year 2013

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The Seekonk Public Library has been providing high quality library service from its facility at 410 Newman Avenue since 1981. Each year the library takes up the challenge to respond to residents changing needs and  their increasing demand for library services. Through careful management  and creative application of public and private resources, the library has met and in some cases, exceed the expectations of its users. This task has become increasingly difficult, however, as the library struggles to deal with the limited space with its building.  In fiscal year 2013, the library took the first tentative steps to acquire funds to address these needs in the future.

In September 2012, the Board of Library Trustees initiated the process to re-write the library’s long-range plan. This was the first total fresh approach to the plan since 2003. The library recruited a strategic planning committee that was broadly representative of the community and of several key library user groups. The committee delivered a final draft of the plan after several months of hard work. In June 2013, the Library Trustees adopted the plan, which was subsequently approved by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The long-range plan will guide the delivery of library services  through June 2017. The Trustees wish thank all the members of the committee for their efforts on behalf of the library.

                        Seekonk Public Library Strategic Planning Committee

                         Mia Alwen                        Guy Boulay                 Ann Caldwell 

                         Michael Durkay              Mark Holme                 Edith Krekorian 

                         Zachary Medeiros          Christina McKenrick    Paul Palange 

                         Beverly Rathbun            Jennifer St. Michel       David Turkalo

                         Susan Tusino

Seekonk Meadows, the passive recreation area adjacent to the library began it’s second full year of operation. Hundreds of residents visited the Meadows in fiscal year 2013 to walk it pathways and appreciate nature. Many more attended concerts and other events on the Meadows that were produced by the library. The Seekonk Meadows Management Committee, who played a pivotal role in bringing Seekonk its first public park, continues to oversee the use and development of the Meadows. The Board of Trustees thank them for their efforts.

The library’s Dollars & Sense program, which seeks to improve  participants’ personal financial management and investing skills became fully operational in fiscal year 2013.  The two year program was funded by a $98,818 grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Fund and is administered through the auspices of the American Library Association.

 The library was open a total of 2,600 hours last fiscal year. This total was down slightly because the library was closed several days due to Super Storm Sandy and a blizzard in February.  With these few exceptions, the library was able to maintain its six day, fifty-three hour a week schedule. People visited the library 106,083 times last fiscal year which averages to 358 people for each day open.

In fiscal year, 6,596 people used their cards at the Seekonk Public Library. Of these users, only 219 were out-of-state residents who either work for the town or paid $60 to obtain a one year card. The library issued 847 new cards last fiscal year. These annual fees were part of $29,101 in total revenues raised by the library last fiscal year. In addition, the library raised approximately $16,555 in fines last year.

The primary attraction of the library is the diverse and interesting collection of materials. The library’s collection offers over 105,500 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 2013, the library greatly increased the number of Blu-Ray video discs and electronic games in its collection. The library also increased the availability of electronic books through the OverDrive system. 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 243,482  items in fiscal year 2013. Included in this circulation total are approximately 16,0000 electronic resources that people downloaded either at the library or from home.  Many Seekonk residents took advantage of the library’s membership in the state-wide library network, and 26,966 items were borrowed from other libraries. Seekonk Public Library lent 38,722 items to other libraries.

 The many programs and classes offered by the Seekonk Public Library were another major attraction of library users in 2013. The library offered 111 adult programs last fiscal year. This figure includes the library’s popular computer classes. Programs and classes had a combined total attendance of 2,065. The library offered 262 programs for children and families. These programs had a total attendance of 7,405. The summer reading program was again a great success in 2013 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 13,374 times. Many of these questions involved using the electronic resources available for downloading and the on-line computer databases. In fiscal year 2013, 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, 236 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.

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 2013, the Friends of the Library donated approximately $17,976 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. The Library Trust, for example, appropriated $25,000 to the library for the development a new computer center. Both organizations are important parts of the public and private partnership that provides quality library service to the people of Seekonk.

In conclusion, a critical ingredient to the library success is hearing from you about the job we are doing. We welcome your comments, complaints and recommendations. For your convenience, the library has setup this email account, for you to contact the Board of Library Trustees.

Respectfully Submitted,


 Michael Durkay, Chairman


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