Thank You for Supporting the Library

Print Friendly

Thank you to everyone who attended the Special Town Meeting on Monday to support the library.  All of us at the library greatly appreciate your supporting our efforts to move forward with the facilities study grant.  Your presence at the meeting  made the votes decisive, and it was powerful testimony that this is a community that values its library.  I hope that I may have an opportunity to thank each of you in person, but in the meanwhile, please know that we are grateful for your support both now and throughout the year. 

                                             Peter Fuller, Library Director

Three Warrant Articles Will Determine the Library’s Future

Print Friendly

full_signThe library has two articles on the warrant for November Town Meeting relating to the Massachusetts public library construction program. Article 12 is requesting $25,000 from Free Cash to fund a Library Facilities Study. The purpose of a facilities study is to (1) examine the community’s current and future library service needs, (2) determine the space requirements to satisfy those needs, and (3) develop appropriate and affordable solutions to meet those space requirements for the next twenty years. We anticipate that the total cost of the study will be $75,000. The state will grant the town up to $50,000 in matching funds for this study. In order to receive a state grant, the Town has to secure money for its share of the cost by May 16, 2014. The town must act now because the November meeting is the only meeting schedule between now and June.  Article 13 is requesting the formation of a citizens committee to oversee the study and the expenditure of funds. 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.  More than thirty communities are competing for these grants, so having the support of the voters is crucial if our grant application is to be successful.

There is also another article on the warrant that could have negative consequences for both the library and the Seekonk Meadows. Article 11 would reverse a unanimous vote of Town Meeting in 2010 to amend the Town’s By-laws to place the library building and the Seekonk Meadows under the custody and care of the Board of Library Trustees. The 2010 By-law change was intended to officially accept the library building in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws. It also provided official status to the Seekonk Meadows, which was created through the joint effort by private citizens, Town Government, and the Seekonk Library Trust (a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization). Article 11 was petitioned onto the warrant by the Seekonk Veterans Memorial Committee in response to a decision by the Board of Library Trustees to delay any action on the Committee’s request to build a memorial on the Seekonk Meadows until the library facilities study has had a chance to examine the site. If Article 11 passes, the library building and the Seekonk Meadows would be placed under the direct control of the Board of Selectmen, and the Board of Trustees will no longer make decisions on the use of the building and the Meadows.

Recent Changes in the Library

Print Friendly

The committee of citizens that drafted the Library’s Long-range Plan for Fiscal Years 2014 to 2017 identified several pressing needs. These include:

      *  more quiet study space,

      *  a space where people can work collaboratively,                              

      * a technology center with current computer hardware, software and other peripherals,

      * shelving for books and other materials so they are more accessible,

      * more shelving for the library’s media collection.

The library is attempting to address these needs within the limits of its available space. This effort has forced us to make some difficult choices, for example, the library had to reduce the number of tables and chairs in the public areas.  Some collections such as the paperbacks had to be drastically reduced in size. Other collections such as the town and state documents had to be moved into storage. We recognized that these changes will at best mitigate but not solve these problems. We hope that the net effect of all these changes will be to provide more and better service.

We also apologize for the noise and disruption, and we appreciate your patient understanding while the work is being done.  The target completion date for the project is December 31. Upon completion, we will be hosting an open house for the new technology center.

We thank the Seekonk Library Trusand all those who have generously contributed to it for providing the funds needed to make these library improvements. The Library Trust is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that exists to support the library.  Please contact Peter Fuller, the library’s director at (508) 338-8230 ext. 5101 if you would like to learn more about the Library Trust.  

Trustee’s Letter About Town Meeting Warrant Articles

Print Friendly

The letter below is from the Board of Library Trustees and it appeared in the Rehoboth Reporter (online edition) on October 23, 2013. We have added it to the blog as part of the library’s on-going effort to inform you about important local issues. An opposing viewpoint by Doreen Taylor, a former Seekonk Selectmen, can be found on page 12 of the October 2013 (print edition) of the Rehoboth Reporter . This copyrighted publication cannot be reproduced here, but it is available in the library.   We encourage you to e-mail your comments and questions to the Library Trustees at –Peter Fuller, Director.


An Open Letter to the Residents of Seekonk:

The warrant for the November 18th Town Meeting contains three articles that can dramatically affect the present and future operations of the Seekonk Public Library. As your elected Board of Library Trustees, we believe it is important to inform town residents about these articles and our position on them.

Article 11 is to transfer control of the library building, including access and use, and the adjacent Seekonk Meadows, from the Library Trustees to the Board of Selectmen. The transfer of the land and buildings was approved by Town Meeting vote in 2010, and this article seeks to reverse that decision. The Board strongly opposes such a move for the following reasons:

• The property in question has been managed in an efficient, successful and problem free manner by the Trustees on an informal basis since in 1980. In 2010, by Town Meeting vote, the Trustees were formally granted oversight of the property as provided by the General Laws of the Commonwealth.

• Since 2010, the property also includes The Seekonk Meadows, the only passive recreation area in Seekonk. The land has been managed with the cooperative effort of the Trustees, Board of Selectmen, The Meadows Committee and the Department of Public Works resulting in several programs being offered to support families and others.

• Funds for the establishment and ongoing beautification of The Meadows have been provided by donations from town residents under the auspices of the Seekonk Library Trust, an IRS-approved 503(c) organization.

Article 12 is seeking funding, $25,000, for the purpose of obtaining engineering, design, and architectural services for the expansion, refurbishing, or other related costs. If approved, the Commonwealth will provide an additional $50,000 in financial support.

Article 13 will authorize the Town Moderator to appoint seven town residents to a facilities committee for the purpose of examining the library facilities needs and in developing appropriate designs, specifications and other related materials pertaining facility changes.

The mission of the Seekonk Public Library is to enrich lives by fostering lifelong learning and by ensuring every member of the community has access to a vast array of ideas and information. Our library serves a broad range of the population of the community including individuals and families of all ages and make up, as well as students from our public and private schools. We are a destination for many of our senior citizens, veterans and others seeking resources or doing research.

It is vital that we have a library facility that expands and improves to meet the needs of our community. Accordingly, it is essential that Article 11 be rejected and articles 12 and 13 be accepted to ensure our public library continues to meet the needs of our community.

Board of Library Trustees


Library Construction Planning Grants

Print Friendly

In 2000, a Facilities Committee appointed by Town Meeting determined that the library building was inadequate for providing the services expected of a modern public library.  The library subsequently applied for and received a three million dollar construction grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners [MBLC] to undertake a major renovation and expansion of the library. At the time, the Town of Seekonk was not able to take advantage of this matching grant from the state, and regretfully, the funds were forfeited to other communities.  In June of this year, the MBLC announced the availability of library construction grants for the first time since 2005, and our town has another opportunity to develop a library facility that can serve the people of Seekonk for the next twenty-five years. 

The demand for library service as well as maintenance needs of the library building have grown significantly in those intervening years.  The library building is inaccessible to many in our community and in our estimation it continues to have inadequate space for the delivery of modern library services.  We also appreciate and recognize that the library service needs of our community continue to evolve, and that there is an on-going public discussion about those needs, both now and in the future.  Fortunately, the MBLC offers funding to communities to help them address these issues. The MBLC, as the initial step in the state’s construction grant program, provides money for proper and thorough planning before it will consider granting funds for the actual construction.

The MBLC planning grant program provides up to two thirds of the funds needed to do a complete assessment of the town’s library service and facility needs and to develop appropriate plans to address these needs. In our case, we estimate that this study will cost $75,000. In order to receive a planning grant, the Town must be must provide a third of the needed funds, which would be $25,000. Another condition of the program is that the Town establish a Facilities Study Committee (if it doesn’t have a standing municipal building committee) to oversee the planning process and the expenditure of funds.

The Board of Library Trustees has requested that two articles be placed on the warrant for the Town Meeting scheduled for November 18 to meet those requirements.  The first article requests that Town Meeting vote to appropriate funds from free cash, and the second article requests that Town Meeting authorize the Town Moderator to appoint a seven member building facility study committee. These are being placed on the warrant in November because the state requires applicants to secure local funding by May, which is before the time that Seekonk usually holds its Annual Financial Town Meeting.  

You will be hearing much more from the library staff and trustees about the warrant articles and the planning process in the near future.  Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions and questions, or send a quick message by clicking on the Feedback tab on the left.

Peter Fuller, Library Director

Please Attend This Important Meeting

Print Friendly

The Board of Library Trustees will discuss two important topics at their meeting on Wednesday, September 25. The first is the possible renovation or expansion of the library. At this meeting, I will present an overview of the building planning and construction grant process. More information about this can be found on the library blog. The second topic is the proposed construction of a Veterans Memorial Park on land adjacent to the library and the Seekonk Meadows. At the last meeting of the Library Trustees, representatives of the Veterans Memorial Committee presented a modification of their original proposal. Follow the links below to view these two proposals. These projects are closely linked because of the limited availability of town-owned land that is both adjacent to the library and suitable for construction. The Board of Trustees wishes to hear from the citizens of Seekonk on these issues affecting the future of the library. The Library Trustees plan to vote on the memorial proposal at this meeting. I know that the Library Trustees will greatly appreciate your attendance at this important discussion. The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the large meeting room.  — Peter Fuller, Library Director

Veterans’ Memorial Park Plan-1 / Plan-2 

Library Takes First Steps Towards a Better Building

Print Friendly

In June, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) announced that it would be starting another round of library construction grants. These grant rounds occur at five to eight year intervals. On average, the state has awarded fifty percent of the total eligible costs of library construction projects. To receive a construction grant, a library must engage in a complex and highly competitive process. Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees sent a letter of intent to the MBLC to officially notify the commissioners that Seekonk will be applying for a building planning grant. Seekonk Public Library has taken the first step in that process by stating its intention to seek funds to study the facility needs of the library and how those needs can best be met.

Developing a library facility that will meet the needs of a community for the next twenty-five years is an extremely complex and difficult task. State officials recognize this difficulty, so the MBLC grants money to libraries to do thorough studies before embarking on a building project. The MBLC wants to see a well-developed plan before the commissioners will consider awarding millions of dollars for construction. These planning grants fund activities in the initial study phase of a building project. These activities include service needs assessments, site selection and evaluation, construction feasibility studies, schematic designs, and cost analyses. In short, it will provide a study committee composed of Seekonk citizens with all of the information needed to make informed choices on how to best meet the facility needs of the library.

Planning of this type is expensive because it requires the skills of architects, engineers, designers, and cost estimators. We anticipate a total cost of $75,000. If Seekonk is awarded a planning grant, the MBLC will fund up to $50,000 of that cost.. We anticipate a costly analysis because of issues with the library’s location. The library building was constructed on the site of a closed landfill. Although the old landfill has been capped, the options for expansion are extremely limited. The landfill cap extends up to the current library building and under the library parking lot to about where the drive-up bookdrops are installed. The MBLC will require the library to explore alternative locations before the commissioners will award money for construction. Although relocating the library is unlikely, this additional investigation will add to the overall cost of the study. The library will have a small head start with the study, however. Some of the engineering information collected as part of the 1999-2000 effort to expand the library may still be valid.

I will be making a brief presentation on the construction grant process at the next meeting of the Board of Library Trustees, which will be at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25 at the library. All meetings of the Library Trustees are open to the public, and we invite you to attend. We welcome your comments and questions. As always, please feel free to email me or the Board of Trustees, or use the feedback form by clicking the tab to the left.

— Peter Fuller, Library Director


Library Is Used By Thousands

Print Friendly

Concert on the Meadows


Each August, all of the public libraries in the state submit a report to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The report titled, the Annual Report Information Survey or ARIS for short, provides a large amount of data on each library’s services. Library staffs spend a lot of time to make sure that their ARIS filings are complete and accurate because it is a requirement to remain eligible for state grant-in-aid money and membership in the statewide network. You can see the aggregated data at the MBLC website, but we wanted to share some of the highlights of fiscal year 2013 with you now. As you can see from the data below, thousands of residents of all ages used the library last year.

 The library lent 282,204 items to Seekonk Library cardholders and other libraries;

– 158,660 were lent from our adult and young adult collections.

– 84,822 items were lent from our children’s collection.

– 38,722 items went to other libraries in the network.

 Library users visited the library over 106,000 times.

 Since January 1, 2013 a total of 5,265 people have used their Seekonk Public Library card;

 – Over 90% of these are Seekonk residents.

– 323 are Massachusetts residents who do not live in Seekonk.

– 174 are out-of-state residents, who either paid $65 to obtain a card or who work for our town.

 The library produced 373 programs with a total attendance of 9,470;

– 7,405 were attendees at programs for Children and Families.

 Library users asked 13,734 reference questions.

 The public used library computers approximately 13,000 times.

 The library received 2,415 hours of volunteer service.

It is pleasure for us to serve a community like Seekonk whose people value library service. We appreciate the support that you have shown us and the library staff this past year. Please let us know how the library can serve you better in the future.  You can email your comments, questions and suggestions to us at or Library Director Peter Fuller at