An Open Letter to Library Users in Rehoboth — Please Support Blanding Library

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Dear Library Users,

We understand that the Town of Rehoboth faces a significant financial challenge.  As your neighbors, we are reluctant to weigh-in on next week’s  Proposition 2 ½ Override vote, but we are also seriously concerned about the possibility of the Blanding Public Library not receiving  sufficient funds to retain state certification.    As library users, I want you to know the ramifications if the Blanding Library is decertified.

The loss of state certification would mean that the Blanding Library would no longer receive the full benefits of membership in the  Massachusetts Library System.  This could have a devastating impact on the Blanding Library and adversely affect Seekonk Public Library and other libraries as well.  The Blanding Library and Seekonk Public Library are both members of the SAILS library network as well as the Massachusetts Library System.  Both of these organizations are only as strong as their individual members. It is vitally important that each member library contribute its fair share, and this starts with meeting the needs of your own community.

I have learned that some residents of Rehoboth believe that they may use other public libraries in the area if the Blanding Library should close or significantly reduce its services. This is not the case at the Seekonk Public Library. The policy of the Seekonk Public Library, as approved by the Board of Library Trustees, is to limit service for all residents of any community that does not have a certified public library of its own.  Rehoboth residents will be welcome to visit the Seekonk Public Library if the Blanding Library is decertified, but they will not be able to borrow materials, use our computers or sign up for programs.

Some have commented that this policy does not reflect a “neighborly” attitude, but inter-library cooperation is based on the idea of reciprocity. Each member library is expected to provide a minimal level of library services and to make those services available to any resident of the Commonwealth.  This is not possible when a library fails to meet minimum standards and is decertified. Communities that allow their libraries to become decertified are in effect telling their neighboring cities and towns that they don’t wish to meet their obligation to provide an important public service and are willing to transfer that burden to their neighbors.  Such actions do not reflect a “neighborly” attitude.

My sincere hope is that Seekonk Public Library will be able to continue serving you in the coming year. This can only happen if the Blanding Library remains a strong, contributing member of the state-wide network.  I urge you to support whatever measures will help secure sufficient funding for the Blanding Library to retain its state certification.

Thank you for considering my request, and best wishes.

Peter Fuller, Director

Seekonk Public LIbrary 

Seekonk Meadows Anniversary Celebration, 2014

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The Seekonk Meadows is an extraordinary community resource. On June 21, the community celebrated the third anniversary of the opening of the Meadows with music, art, kite flying, storytelling and a host of other activities. Some pictures from that day can be seen below. We greatly appreciate everyone who was involved in making this summer kick-off a great success, with special thanks to Cheryl Faria and the Seekonk Meadows Management Committee who planned this event. I also wish to thank the Seekonk Artist Network that arranged for local artists to display their work both inside the library and on the Meadows. I also wish to thank the library employees who helped with the planning, staff the library information booth, and stayed late that Saturday so the library could remain open throughout the event. Finally, I wish to thank the Public Works Department for maintaining the Meadows and helping to keep it an attractive place to visit. I hope to see you next year at what I am sure will be an even bigger and better celebration.

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Library information booth 

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Master Gardeners’ Display 

 

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Local Artists at Work on the Meadows

 

 

Mass. Audubon Storyteller

Children Listening to the Mass.  Audubon Storyteller

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Home-made Kites Over the Meadows

 

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Works of Local Artists Displayed Inside the Library

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Paintings by Local Artists Hung in the New Exhibit Space

 

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Seekonk receives an additional $50,000 for the Library Facilities Study

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 The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) has awarded the Town of Seekonk a $50,000 Planning & Design Grant to study the library’s building needs for the next 20 years and to develop schematic designs and cost estimates for developing such a facility to meet those needs. This funding matches the $25,000 appropriated for the same purpose as the Special Town Meeting in November. Seekonk was one of 20 communities to receive a grant from among the 28 that applied. See the MBLC press release below for additional information.

 

MBLC Awards nearly $1 Million for Planning and Design

On June 5, 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) voted to award provisional Planning and Design Grants totaling $959,425 to twenty communities across the Commonwealth. The grants are part of the MBLC’s state-funded Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). “We’re grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for their recognition that libraries are a vital part of our communities, “said MBLC Chair Frank Murphy.

The MPLCP helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. “Libraries are busy,” said Murphy. “But it’s no longer just about books. Libraries are where people turn for help with technology, for support starting a business or for help looking for a job. The role of the library as a true community center continues to evolve and these grants help communities take the first step toward projects that benefit every resident.”

Twenty-eight library applications went through a rigorous independent grant review process. Libraries were selected based on many factors including community need, an understanding of future trends in library services, integration with the library’s long-range plan, support from local officials and a plan for community input.

Planning and Design Grants may be used for preparation of a library building program, architectural feasibility studies, engineering analysis of an existing building or alternative sites, schematic design, cost analysis of options, site investigation, and project management services. Planning and Design Grants are capped at $50,000 or two-thirds of the eligible project costs and require local match funding of up to $25,000. Libraries must secure this local match by January 31, 2015 to accept their grant funding. These grants and the support provided by MBLC Building Specialists benefit libraries that anticipate applying for Construction Grants from the MPLCP in the future.

This is the fifth planning and design grant round offered by the MBLC since 1999. To date, the MBLC has awarded 81 Planning and Design Grants.  Through the MPLCP, more than 200 communities have completed library construction projects.

Funding for this grant round is made possible through a 2008 state bond authorization by the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Legislature. Library construction projects in Athol, Buckland, Dudley, Boston (the East Boston and Mattapan Branches of the Boston Public Library), Falmouth, Foxborough, Granby, Holyoke, Mashpee, Millis, Walpole, Westhampton, West Tisbury and Westwood were completed with MPLCP grants from the 2008 authorization in conjunction with local match funding. MPLCP projects are currently underway in Eastham, Edgartown, Everett (the Shute Memorial Branch of the Everett Public Library), Framingham (the McAuliffe Branch of the Framingham Public Library), Reading, Salisbury, Scituate, Shrewsbury, South Hadley  and West Springfield. For more information please visit the MBLC’s website.

 

Planning and Design award details are below:

Provisional Awards Recommendations
Municipality Library Award
Amherst Jones Library Inc. $50,000
Chester Hamilton Memorial Library $41,205
Dartmouth Dartmouth Public Libraries: North Dartmouth Branch $50,000
Dighton Dighton Public Library $50,000
East Bridgewater East Bridgewater Public Library $50,000
Erving Erving Public Library $50,000
Falmouth Falmouth Public Library: North Falmouth Branch $38,860
Greenfield Greenfield Public Library $50,000
Hadley Goodwin Memorial Library $50,000
Kingston Kingston Public Library $50,000
Littleton Reuben Hoar Library $40,000
Lynnfield Lynnfield Public Library $50,000
Nahant Nahant Public Library $49,245
North Attleborough Richards Memorial Library $50,000
Seekonk Seekonk Public Library $50,000
Springfield Springfield City Library: East Forest Park Branch $50,000
Sutton Sutton Free Public Library $50,000
Upton Upton Town Library $44,220
Westborough Westborough Public Library $45,895
Westford J.V. Fletcher Library $50,000

 

 

Building Together

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          You may have noticed the sign on the far edge of the library grounds along Newman Avenue. It announces that this parcel will be the future site of the Seekonk Veterans’ Memorial.  I was pleased and honored to be invited to the unveiling of the sign during the Memorial Day Parade.

            Standing there that day, I recalled the controversy over locating the memorial on the library grounds.  And I recalled that despite the acrimony, the library trustees decided to allow construction of the memorial. It was a carefully considered compromise that sought to balance competing desires within our community. It was also an affirmation of a belief that what unites the people of Seekonk is greater than what divides them. I see that decision as a victory for all of Seekonk.

            Our willingness to cooperate and compromise creates the conditions that allow us to work together.  Standing in a park that was once the town dump I could not help but think that great things can happen when we do work together.  Seekonk will build its Veterans’ Memorial. Seekonk will continue to develop the Seekonk Meadows. It will also develop a library facility to meet the needs of this community for the next twenty-five years. All of these projects will enhance the quality of life in Seekonk. These are not incompatible goals and they are attainable if we work together.

            A start date for construction of the Memorial has not been set, but fundraising is actively underway.  If you would like additional information about the Memorial, contact Seth Bai, the Veteran’s Services Officer at Town Hall.  He can put you in touch with the Veterans Memorial Committee. If you are interested in learning more about the Library Facilities Study, please visit their webpage or ask for me the next time you visit the library.

                                                                                    —  Peter Fuller, Director

RFQ: Library Building Consultant

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The Library Facility Study Committee for the Town of Seekonk wishes to engage a library building consultant to review and evaluate a building program document that will be prepared by the staff of the Seekonk Public Library. The building program will include analyses and assessments of library services currently offered, the existing building conditions, the library service needs of the town over the next twenty years, and the anticipated site and building requirements of a facility needed to meet those needs.  The overall objective of the building program is to provide a solid foundation for the proper selection of a facility site, the development of schematic designs for a facility by an architect, and a successful application for a state construction grant. The consultant will assist the Committee in appraising the completeness, accuracy, and soundness of the proposed building program, and help the Committee assess the utility of the proposed program in achieving the desired objectives.  In addition, the consultant may be asked to advise the Committee in the selection of an Owner Project Manager.

Response Requirements   

Consultants should respond in writing and provide details on  (1) the scope of the work that you propose to perform to satisfy the requirements of the engagement, including a time schedule with  an estimated start and finish date , (2) a listing of your credentials and experience, (3) information about any  associates or sub-contractors  whom you may involve, (4) indicate any past or pending litigation pertaining your services, (5) a list of references from clients for whom you have provided consulting services in the last ten years, (6)  your fee and an estimated total cost for provided this service.  Proposals with any appendices or attachments should be mailed to the Library Facilities Study Committee, Seekonk Public Library, 410 Newman Avenue, Seekonk, MA 02771, or emailed to buildingstudy@seekonkpl.org . Proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 in order to be considered by the Committee.

Selection of Consultant

Proposal will be reviewed and evaluated by the Library Facilities Committee with the assistance of the Director of the Seekonk Public Library. The Committee will make a recommendation on rewarding a contract to the Board of Selectmen for the Town Seekonk, which must approve all expenditures of funds appropriated to the Committee. The contract will be awarded to the party who in the judgment of the Committee offers the most competitive and responsible proposal. The Library Facilities Committee reserves the right to reject any or all responses to this Request for Proposal.  The Committee will not reimburse costs of preparing the proposals. Responding consultants bear sole risk and responsibility for costs incurred in the preparation and delivery of the proposal. 

Selection Criteria and Evaluation

Selection will be made based on the qualifications of the consultant and the quality of their proposal. Proposals will be examined and evaluated base of the following criteria. 

  • Understanding of the Project.  Written information and proposed actions including a time schedule that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the requirements of the project.  10 percent.
  • Knowledge of Library Practices. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate a detailed knowledge of library operations, library technology, best professional practices and state standards.  20 percent.
  • Experience. Preference will be given to those with demonstrated experience with planning, needs assessment or grant writing for community’s with populations similar to that of Seekonk and with a public library with performance similar to that of  Seekonk Public Library.  20 percent.
  • Knowlegde of Library Buildings and Construction.  Preference will be given to those who demonstrate a detailed knowledge of how library buildings are used by the public, major library building design considerations, and the rules and regulations pertaining to the Massachusetts Library Construction Grant Program.  20 percent.
  • References.  Preference will be given to those with satisfactory references from former clients to whom the consultant has provided services in the last ten years.  20 percent.
  • Price. The final proposed cost of the services as outlined in the Scope of the Work.  10 percent.

It is the responsibility of those responding to this request to provide information, evidence or exhibits which clearly demonstrate their ability to satisfactorily respond to the requirements of the engagement. The Library Facilities Committee reserves the right to ask for clarification in the proposal if the need arises. 

Additional Information. 

Please contact Peter Fuller, Library Director at [508] 336-8230, ext. 5101 or pfuller@seekonkpl.org

Please Vote to Postpone Parking Article

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The Board of Library Trustees requests that you vote to postpone consideration of Article 4, which is on the warrant for the Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, February 25. This article seeks to have the Town appropriate $90,000 to develop parking behind the library. This parking is intended to accommodate unusually large crowds at events at the library and on the Seekonk Meadows.  Additional parking is needed for these events, but there is currently adequate parking for the four or five occasions when it may be needed.  We anticipate that this parking will be available for the foreseeable future, and that there is no immediate need to develop more parking.

 The Trustees feel that Article 4 is an expensive solution to a problem that has not been fully studied. The parking needs of the library will be examined by the Library Facilities Study Committee as part of its assessment of the library’s building needs. This committee, which Town Meeting authorized last November, has just started its work. The Trustees recommend that this committee be allowed to comprehensively study the parking issue and related needs before the town makes this large investment of capital funds.

 The Trustees believe that there is time to examine alternative solutions without adversely affecting the operation of the library or impeding progress on the construction of the proposed Veterans Memorial. In a four to one vote, the Board of Selectmen decided to recommend that consideration of this article be postponed indefinitely.  The Board of Library Trustees fully supports this recommendation, and asks you to do the same the night of the Special Town Meeting. Please vote to postpone consideration of Article 4.

The Trustees thank you for considering their request, and as always, they encourage you to share your ideas and concerns by emailing them at trustees@seekonkpl.org

 - Peter Fuller,  Library Director

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, trustee@seekonkpl.org for you to contact the Board of Library Trustees.

Respectfully Submitted,

BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES

 Michael Durkay, Chairman

 

Virtual Library Tour

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Seekonk Public Library has embarked on a long journey to developing a better library building from which to serve you. We are currently working on a planning grant application that will be submitted to the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners in January.  At this early point in the process, it is impossible to say what your future library may look like, or for that matter where it might be located. I am confident, however, that this facility will reflect the unique character of Seekonk and the needs of its citizens. I thought that you might find it interesting to see libraries in other communities. Below are some links to websites of architectural firms as well as individual libraries that show their recently constructed, renovated or expanded facilities. I hope that you enjoy this virtual tour.  

                                  – Peter Fuller, Director

Finegold, Alexander & Assoc. (architects)

                 http://faainc.com/project_type/libraries/

Beacon Architectural Associates

                http://www.beaconarch.com/library.html

Drummey Rosane Anderson Inc.

                 http://draarchitects.com/index.cfm/portfolio/Library

Johnson Roberts & Assoc. (architects)

                http://jsrob.com/

Tappe Architects

                http://tappe.com/work.html

Oudens Ello Architecture

                http://www.oudens-ello.com/projects/cultural/

Lemer Ladds Bartells (architects)

                http://llbarch.com/projects/libraries/

Mass. Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC flickr page with several libraries)

                http://www.flickr.com/photos/28109221@N08/sets/

Westwood Public Library

                  http://www.westwoodlibrary.org/ (several photos)

Millis Public Library

                 http://www.millislibrary.org/millis/newlibrary.asp  (several photos, project history)

West Tisbury Public Library

                  http://www.westtisburylibrary.org/page.php?id=87  (plans)

Scituate Public Library (recently approved an over-ride)

                  http://scituatetownlibrary.org/about_libraryrenovationproject.html   (rendering & plans)

Granby Public Library

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/granbylibrary/  (Photos)

Townsend Public Library

                     http://library.townsend.ma.us/category/image-galleries/new-townsend-public-library

Jesse Smith Memorial Library (Harrisville, RI)

                   http://www.film.ri.gov/galleryJesseSmith.html  

Cumberland Public Library (RI)

                  https://plus.google.com/106724565865072606535/photos

Flint Memorial Library (Middletown, MA)

                   http://www.flintlibrary.org/aboutus/rededicationnov2008.html