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, exceeded the expectations of its users.
This task has become increasingly difficult, however, as the library struggles to deal within the limited space with its building. In fiscal year 2014, the library took the first tentative steps to address its facility needs. Voters who attended the Town Meeting in November 2013 passed two articles to initiate a study of the facilcity needs of the library. The facilities study is the first step in a multi-year process that we hope will result in the Town obtaining millions of dollars in state construction funds.
Seekonk Meadows, the passive recreation area adjacent to the library began it’s third full year of operation. Thousands of people visited the Meadows in fiscal year 2014 to walk its 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 thanks them for their efforts.
In 2014, the library opened a special area called, the Innovation Center. The library placed a variety of high tech tools in the Innovation Center including a 3-D printer and two large i-Mac workstations. The workstations provide access to sophisticated software suites from Apple and Adobe. On-line instructional programs from Lynda.com are also available in the center. The Innovation Center was funded by a generous gift from the Seekonk Library Trust.
The library’s Dollars & Sense program, which seeks to improve participants’ personal financial management and investing skills came to a conclusion in the Spring of 2014. The two year program was funded by a $98,818 grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Fund and was administered through the auspeces of the American Library Association. The funding allowed the library to provided thirty-six informative and useful programs that had a total of 1,241 attendees. The Board of Library Trustees congratulate the grant manager, Senior Librarian Michelle Gario and all of the staff who assisted her in making this program a success.
The library was open a total of 2,608 hours last fiscal year. With few exceptions, the library was able to maintain its six day, fifty-three hour a week schedule. People visited the library 110,272 times last fiscal year, which averages to approximately 2,120 people per week.
In fiscal year, 5,504 people used their cards at the Seekonk Public Library last fiscal year. The library issued or renewed 778 library cards. Nineteen of these cards were issued to out-of-state residents who paid $60 to obtain a one year card.These annual fees were part of $30,022 in total revenues raised by the library last fiscal year. In addition, the library raised approximately $17,637 in late fees last year.
The primary attraction of the library is its diverse and interesting collection of materials. The library’s collection offers over 108,803 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. In 2014, the library greatly increased the number of Blu-Ray video discs and electronic games in its collection. The library also increased the availabilty 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 250,648 items in fiscal year 2014. 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 32,858 items were borrowed from other libraries. Seekonk Public Library lent 42,275 items to other libraries. Because Seekonk Public Library was a net lender, the library received additional state aid.
The many programs and classes offered by the Seekonk Public Library were another major attraction of library users in 2014. The library offered seventy-three adult and teen programs last fiscal year. Programs and classes had a combined total attendance of 2,953. The library offered 334 programs for children and families. These programs had a total attendance of 8,515. The 2013 summer reading program was again a great success with 397 children participating. Various groups and organizatons used the library’s main meeting room 554 times last year. 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 9,977 times. Many of these questions involved using the electronic resources available for downloading and the on-line computer databases. In fiscal year 2014, 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.
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 LibraryTrust. 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 2014, the Friends of the Library donated approximately $18,000 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. The Library Trust, for example, provided most of the funds needed to develop the library’s Innovation Center. Both organizations are important parts of the public and private partnership that provides quality library service to the people of Seekonk. The Board of Trustees wishes to thank both organizations on behalf of all Seekonk Public Library users for their help in making fiscal year 2014 a truly exceptional year.
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 an email account, firstname.lastname@example.org for you to contact the Board of Library Trustees.
BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES
Michael Durkay, Chair
Sharon Connors, Vice Chair
Mari Ann Oliveira, Secretary