New free music download service – Freegal

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Seekonk Public Library is excited to offer our card holders access to over
3 million songs to download for free with Freegal Music Service.

Through Freegal, registered card holders can download up to three MP3 songs per week at no direct cost via the website seekonkpl.freegalmusic.com or via the Freegal Music icon on the library’s website. The library has purchased this subscription to provide DRM free music — its yours to keep, copy and burn to cd without restriction. The Freegal catalog includes over 10,000 music labels including Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists; P!nk, Kenny Chesney, Mumford & Sons, and more from all genres are available today!
Downloads will work with all of your devices as well — Windows and Mac pcs and laptops, MP3 players and iPods, tablets and Smartphones.  Mobile devices with Apple or Android operating systems can download a free app from the Apple App Store or Google Play to download and play music.
“We have been waiting a long time for a service like this that delivers great music, compatibility with lots of devices and simplicity of use.  We think this will be incredibly popular with our patrons and will help the library in marketing all its services to the community,” said Associate Director Cyndee Marcoux.

The Library and the Veterans’ Memorial

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Dear Friends,

You may have read on-line or seen on television a story about a proposal to construct a memorial to Seekonk’s veterans and how it is being blocked by the Board of Library Trustees.  As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”  There is a divergence of opinion on this issue, but these are the facts. As library users and advocates for its services, I thought that you would find these facts useful.

The Veterans’ Memorial Committee wishes to build a large permanent memorial on the Seekonk Meadows. This is the passive recreation area adjacent to the library.  The Board of Selectmen granted permission to build a memorial on the property in front of Town Hall.  There is already an approved site for this memorial. It is just not the preferred location of the Memorial Committee.

Instead, the Memorial Committee wishes to use a space along Newman Avenue adjacent to the library parking lot. This site is sometimes used as overflow parking when there are large events on the Meadows.  The loss of overflow parking is not a major issue for the Library Trustees. They recognize that this space is only needed a few times a year.  A spokesman for the Memorial Committee would have you believe that this is the principal reason for the Trustees’ opposition to the memorial as currently proposed. This is a red herring that is being used make the Trustees appear to be totally unreasonable.

The Trustees believe that the veterans of Seekonk are deserving of a special memorial.   The Trustees’ primary responsibility, however, is to consider the town’s current and future library service needs.    The Trustees have shown themselves to be open-minded and willing to discuss proposals put forth by the Memorial Committee.  They have tried to find a reasonable way to balance the competing demands for library service and a way to honor the veterans. The Trustees have taken the time to carefully review the schematic drawings for the proposed veterans’ memorial.  The Library Trustees invited members of the Memorial Committee to make a presentation at their regular monthly meeting.  After that presentation, the Trustees spent the better part of two meetings considering the proposal.  Their decision not to support construction of the proposed memorial was deliberate and thoughtful.

The Board of Trustees had several concerns about the impact of the memorial on the Meadows and the library.  Chief among these concerns is the strict limitation that the memorial would put on the ability of the library to expand in the future. This was ultimately the deciding factor in the Trustees’ decision not to support the memorial plan presented to them.  The capping of the landfill has limited the amount of land that can support a building to a narrow strip along Newman Avenue. Construction of the memorial as currently proposed along Newman Avenue would effectively prevent any future expansion of the library on this site.

The Trustees shared these concerns in an email written to Don Kinneburgh, chairman of the Memorial Committee.  The Trustees have offered to consider alternative proposals, and they have invited the Memorial Committee to consider modifications in the design that would accommodate the library’s needs as well as their own. To date, the Memorial Committee has not responded to the Library Trustees’ invitation. The leadership of the Memorial Committee has apparently chosen instead to wage a media campaign against the library.

Part of this campaign appears to be to disparage the value of the library and the desires of those who wish to see this library expand and improve services.  Use of the library continues to grow and evolve with your needs.  I anticipate that this will be the case well into the future. Expanding the Seekonk Public Library is a real need. The Trustees, staff, and the library’s Strategic Planning Committee have all reached the same conclusion. The library building not only needs a major rehabilitation but additional space should be added if the library is to provide the services required by the people of Seekonk over the next twenty-five years.  The Trustees will be studying this possibility in earnest later this year. The new long-range plan for the library has two specific strategic objectives related to building this space. The first of these objectives is to apply to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for a planning grant. These grant applications will be due in September 2013. The grant will be used to prepare a facilities plan based on the library’s current and anticipated program of service, to conduct a site investigation and if need be, a site selection, to prepare an assessment of the structure, and to develop construction cost estimates.  Assuming that the library receives this grant, we will be starting a comprehensive study of how to best address the library’s facility needs this winter.  It is imperative at this point in the process to keep all of the building options available for consideration.   I am sure that many options will come to light during the facility study, and I am sure that you would want the best option to be ultimately selected.  If the Trustees were to allow the construction of the veterans’ memorial as currently proposed, they may also be eliminating the best choice before the study begins.  The Trustees do not believe that this is in the best interest of either the library using public or taxpayers.

Another red herring is the issue of who controls the library.  The Trustees have been portrayed as having a proprietary attitude to the Meadows and thwarting the will of the public owners of the property. The Meadows is town property, and it belongs to ­all of the people of Seekonk. As is the case with the library building, Seekonk Meadows has been entrusted to the care and management of the town’s elected Board of Library Trustees. The Board was assigned administrative responsibility for the Meadows by a unanimous vote of Town Meeting in 2010. Under Massachusetts law, library boards are afforded a good deal of autonomy.  The governance of public libraries is somewhat analogous to that of public schools. This is due in part to an understanding that libraries can only serve all of us effectively when they are insulated from political manipulation and pressures of special interest groups. This independence helps libraries be responsive and accountable to the entire community.  Until proven otherwise, I choose to think that as popularly elected officials, the Library Trustees reflect the majority viewpoint in our community.  Their only agenda is to fulfill the responsibilities for which they were elected to the best of their ability.

I have worked with dozens of Boards of Trustees in my thirty-one years of library service.  This group of Trustees is exceptional. They are reasonable, thoughtful people who take their responsibilities seriously. They are dedicated to providing library service to the people of Seekonk, and on many occasions, they have demonstrated a willingness to put the larger interests of the town first.  They are above all forward thinking and believe in planning for the long-term.  They deserve our support.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbors. I welcome your questions and suggestions.  Please email me or call me at the library, 508-336-8230, extension 101, and thank you for your on-going patronage and all of your past support.

Sincerely yours,

Peter Fuller, Library Director

 

 

Library Releases Long-range Plan

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As of July 1, the Seekonk Public Library will be operating under the guidance of a new long-range plan. The plan is the result of a year-long effort by the Board of Library Trustees, the library staff and the Strategic Planning Committee.  The new long-range plan details how the library will address the growing and changing demand for library services through June 30, 2017. The plan establishes goals for how the library will provide services, use technology, reach out to the community, and develop its resources.  The plan also contains a series of strategic objectives that will be met to attain each of these goals.  Follow this link to read the entire planWe would greatly appreciate receiving your thoughts and questions about the long-range plan. Just click on the Feedback tab on the left-hand side of the screen to leave a message. 

The completion of the long-range plan is a significant accomplishment for the library.  A well thought out, long-range plan that is created with input from the community, is essential to the success of the library.  The long-range plan will guide both the future development of the library and its day-to-day operations.  Every significant decision made at the library in the next four years will be related to strategic objectives in the plan. All of the activities and services that occur at the library will be expected to move the library toward achievement of specific outcomes or levels of output cited in the plan. How well the library serves you in the coming years will depend on how well we use this important tool.  

The vision of what constitutes a successful public library is unique to each community. The vision must be the product of collaboration between those being served and those providing the service.   For this long-range planning process, the library recruited a committee to represent the broad spectrum of town residents as well as key constituent groups among library users.   Members of the committee were 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, and Susan Tusino.  The committee provided invaluable help with identifying the needs and priorities of our community. This input has already started to shape the library services that the people of Seekonk are receiving. The participation of these public-spirited individuals was greatly appreciated.

 

Internet Replacing Libraries (?)

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An occasionally heard statement that baffles me is that we no longer need public libraries.  I have heard and seen this comment in print for about twenty-five years now.  The proponents of the “imminent demise of libraries” theory are often self-identified technology futurists. Their usual rationale is that everything is available on the internet and therefore, all of our information needs can be met there.  (They probably read this on the internet, and as we all know from the TV commercial, “you can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.”)

I suspect that if this were true then there would be evidence of a decline in the use of libraries, but the exact opposite is true.  Public library use has grown steadily both here in Seekonk and across the nation.  The irony is that their argument makes sense only if you start from an old-fashioned notion that public libraries exist primarily to provide information in a physical form such as a book, journal or magazine. Besides those materials however, your public library also offers a wide array of services, both in person and via the internet.  Many of them, such as classes, programs, volunteer opportunities and free entertainment like concerts and movies are featured elsewhere in this newsletter.  In addition, the library provides high speed access to the internet and offers training in the use and adoption of continually evolving technology.  The futurists seldom mention these services.

I suspect that these services go unrecognized because these people have not visited a public library recently. Their notion of public library service is, ironically, trapped in the past.  Perhaps the next time you hear someone tell you that you don’t need your public library, you can politely inquire about the last time the speaker visited a library.  And if they haven’t, please extend our invitation to come and find out what is really being offered.

 

Thanks for your support

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I want to thank the voters who attended Town Meeting on June 10th, and especially those of you who responded to my call for support. The voters approved a town budget that included a 2.4% increase in the library budget for fiscal year 2014. Voters also approved a warrant article that included funds to fix leaks and other drainage issues at the library. Once again the people of Seekonk have expressed their desire to have quality public library service.  We at the library pledge to work to the best of our ability to provide you with the best value for every tax dollar invested.

I wish to also thank the citizens who spend hours reviewing budgets, studying the needs of the community, and deliberating over difficult choices.  These dedicated individuals serve on elected boards such as the Board of Library Trustees and Board of Selectmen as well as appointed committees such as the Finance Committee and Capital Improvements Committee. They represent you and help keep us accountable to you.  Job well done!

Funds for Library Repairs on Town Meeting Warrant

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Your library needs your support at the Financial Town Meeting on Monday, June 10. The Municipal Capital Improvements Committee is recommending that $161,300 be appropriated from the Municipal Capital Stabilization Fund for the repair and renovation of roof drainage at the library. The funding for the library is one of several capital expenditures contained in Article 6 of the warrant. Since this large amount of money is to be expended for what on paper seems like a vague purpose, I thought some background information would be helpful.

The library’s roof drainage problem is serious. Water is penetrating into the building. Walls and ceiling tiles have been damaged. Thankfully, only a few items in the library’s collection have been damaged. This is the damage that we can see, however. There may be structural damage or mold growing behind the walls. If left unchecked, these problems will require expensive remediation in the future.

How is water getting into the building? I am pleased to write that it is not coming through the roof or gutters which were replaced in 2008. The roof has a twenty year warranty and the manufacturer has promptly sent out representatives whenever we have asked. The water is coming from leaks in the downspouts that carry the water from the roof and into the ground. Downspouts? If your home is like mine, the gutters and downspouts are attached to the outside of the house. But at the library, the gutters and downspouts are built into the exterior walls. While some might say that this design feature contributes to the clean modern lines of the building, it is also a serious design flaw. I know that this is difficult to envision, so I have included some photographs.

When the inevitable cycle of freezing, thawing, and re-freezing occurs each winter, ice will block-up the downspouts and water is forced back up into the building. The Public Works Department had applied a temporary fix by installing electrical heating cables. This system did eliminate th e ice blockage most of the time, but the library has lost electrical power on several occasions in the past two years. Significant water damage resulted each time the power went out.

The permanent solution is not easy or inexpensive. It will require changes in the library roof and opening up the exterior walls. This accounts for a large part of the cost. What to do with the water once it reaches the ground is another problem. The current drainage system allows water to collect against the foundation of the building. Over time, this led to the erosion of the building’s underpinnings and has caused the uneven settling of the building. This created cracks in the walls and warped some windows and doors. A significant part of the cost of the project is addressing the groundwater drainage.
I hope that you will support the library at the Financial Town Meeting on Monday, June 10. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Downspouts at the Rear of the Library Builiding

Downspouts at the rear of the library.

The 'scuppers' allow excess water to flow off the roof. The gutters are built into the wall below the openings.

The ‘scuppers’ allow excess water to flow off the roof. The gutters are built into the wall below the openings.

Downspout inside the wall

Downspout inside the wall.

Downspout exiting on the outside of the building.

Downspout exiting on the outside of the building.

Damaged caused by ice build-up.

Damaged caused by ice build-up.

Every Child Ready to Read!

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A few weeks ago Sharon and Mary Ellen from the Youth Services Department attended an all-day workshop (Star Power: Sing Talk and Read, Play On and Write for Easier Reading) at Norton Public Library on early literacy and how to help your child get ready to read using simple, every-day activities. From the time they are infants, children learn language and other important skills that will help them learn to read.  Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to read once they begin school.  “Every Child Ready to Read,” a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association, addresses these specific skills and assists parents in teaching their children.

It’s never too early or too late to help your child develop language and other early literacy skills. Here are five of the best ways for children to get ready to read: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing and Playing! These activities are easy to do with children of all ages.  You and your child can enjoy them throughout the day—at home, in the car, or anywhere you and your child spend time together.

Why are parents so important in helping children get ready to read? YOU have been your child’s teacher from the day he or she was born. You know more about your child than anyone else. You are in the best position to help your child get ready to read because:

–Young children have short attention spans. You can do activities for short bits of time throughout the day.

–You know your children best and you can help them learn in ways and at times that are easiest for them.

–Parents are tremendous role models—if your children see that you think reading is important and enjoy it, they will follow your lead.

–Children learn best by doing and they love doing things with YOU!

In the next months, Seekonk Library will be working to initiate the Every Child Ready to Read program with the cooperation of PACE/CCW, Families and Communities Engaging (F.A.C.E.) and grant funding from the Coordinated Family & Community Engagement Grant.  We’re hoping to conduct a parental workshop during the winter of 2014 and follow-up with 4 parent-child workshops.  Stay tuned!