Library Construction Planning Grants

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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

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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

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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

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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


The Dark by Lemony Snicket — A Review!

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When I was young I wasn’t really afraid of the dark.  I was more afraid of the snakes my brothers kept in the basement.  Well, in this picture book story young Laszlo was afraid of the dark that lived in the basement.  Laszlo knew the dark lived in other places like corners and hidden places in his house, but the basement was really scary to him.
Simple, but nice, illustrations depict dark and light as characters, in a way. At one point Laszlo picks up his flashlight and follows the dark downstairs into the basement.  What he discovers is that he needn’t be afraid of the dark.  This dark turned out to be good.
Snicket has a great way of luring you into his stories and this one is no different.  He creates a mood that draws you in and then, you see the light!
Great author, great book, great story!
Hope you enjoy it…Mary Ellen

See our newest books, DVD’s, and CDs with Wowbrary

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The Seekonk Public Library is excited to offer its patrons free “Wowbrary” email alerts that showcase the library’s newest items each week. The alerts feature the latest bestsellers, movies, music CDs, audio books, children’s titles, cookbooks, mysteries, travel guides, health books, science fiction and more purchased by the library.

The alerts help those interested in just specific topics, as Seekonk Public Library Adult Services librarian Michelle Gario points out. “It only takes a mouse click to see the newest arrivals in the categories you’re interested in. There are separate sections for nonfiction, fiction, recreation and more. You can quickly review and reserve our newest books from the convenience of your computer.”

Wowbrary alerts are free and do not require a library card. Go to to sign up or learn more.

Pay By Credit Card

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smart pay logo (1)You can now pay library fines and fees with a credit or debit card with a new service offered by the SAILS network called SmartPay. Library users have been asking for this convenient method of payment for several years.  After several months of study and field testing, SmartPay has  proven to be easy to use, secure  and confidential. You can pay your fines and fees from wherever you can access the internet.  All you need is a credit card, library card number and pin number. A link to the service can be found both on our website and the SAILS network catalog.

Here is some additional information about SmartPay.

  • Smart Pay transactions are secure.  SmartPay complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), and your transactions are protected by SSL certification, a protocol for transmitting data securely.
  • Your information is kept confidential.  SAILS Library network and participating public Libraries do not collect or store any personal information or credit or debit card processing data collected from the SmartPay site.
  • SmartPay requires a minimum $2 payment which can consist of multiple fines.  There is a 45 cent credit card processing fee per transaction not per individual fine paid.
  • Library fines and fees are cleared automatically from your library account during the payment process.
  • A failed transaction may leave a pending charge on your account.   These “pre-authorized” amounts normally clear within 24 hours
  • When you select SmartPay you are leaving the library website and have been directed to SmartPay, an online   resource to pay library fines and fees.  Technical requirements and services are the sole responsibility of SmartPay.
  • The service is being offered through the SAILS library network. When using SmartPay,  you agree to accept and assume all risks and responsibilities for the losses and damages that may arise from your use of SmartPay and release the SAILS Library Network and its member libraries from all liability.
  • This is strictly self-service. Under the terms of our agreement with SAILS, library staff members are not allowed to handle credit cards. We will be happy to answer questions and guide you through the process.
  • You can only pay fines accrued at libraries using the system.  As of today these libraries are Lakeville, Middleboro, Norfolk, Norton, Seekonk and Wrentham. Dartmouth, Halifax, Marion, and Plainville will be starting soon.

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 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.