Future & Status of the Public Library

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Why Public Support & Use of Libraries Continues to Grow

A diverse group of about sixty Seekonk residents met  last evening to hear a presentation by the library design team from Tappe Architects.  Tappe has been hired by the Town to work with the Library Facilities Study Committee to coordinate a feasibility study and to develop schematic designs for the Seekonk Public Library of the Future. Part of the presentation included a discussion of why public libraries will remain important public institutions in the future.  Jeff Hoover, head of the library design team at Tappe referenced some of the sources listed below during his presentation.  The Facilities Study Committee maintains a list of articles and studies about the future of public libraries on its webpages. The links to these sources are replicated here to make them more easily accessible. 

Pew Research Center’s Internet in American Life Project

Massachusetts Municipal Association. The Municipal Advocate, Vol. 27, No. 1 – Municipal Libraries

Forbes Magazine

Institute of Museum & Library Services. 

Studies from the American Library Association

Knight Foundation 

 Library Journal

Building Study Survey

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The Seekonk Library Facility Study Committee will be surveying Seekonk residents to obtain information it needs to plan a library building that will meet the needs of the community for the next twenty years. The survey is available on-line, and convenient links to the survey are posted on the websites and Facebook pages of the library and the town. The committee plans to post links on the social media sites of other Seekonk organizations, including the Friends of the Seekonk Public Library.  Paper copies of the survey will also be available at the library. Residents will have until February 11 to respond.
The library planning and design team from Tappe Architects developed the survey for the study committee. The survey is designed to collect information about how residents currently use the library and how they anticipate using the library in the future. The planners hope to capture a wide range of opinions with the survey, so the study committee is encouraging all town residents to participate.

Link to the Survey

Board of Library Trustees Meetings

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Next Meeting of the Board of Library Trustees will be on
Wednesday,  January 20, 2016

at 6:00 p.m. in the Sullivan Room


a. Meadows Management Committee
b. Facilities Study Committee
a. Library Budget Request for FY 2017
A. Policy on Soliciting at the Library – Discussion & Vote
8. UNANTICIPATED BUSINESS – Items that could not be reasonably anticipated by the chairperson more than 48 hours in advance of the meeting
9. DIRECTORS REPORT – Questions & Discussion

Library Facilities Study Committee Meeting

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The Library Facilities Study Committee (LFSC) will be holding a regular open meeting at 6:30 on Thursday,  January 14. This meeting will be held in the Sullivan Room in the Seekonk Public Library.

Meeting Agenda

1. Call to order
2. Review and approve minutes from previous meeting
3. Old Business
a. Update on meeting with the Library Board of Trustees
b. Update on Tappe contract
4. New Business
a. Introduction and Getting Started with Tappe
5. The Community Speaks Comments & questions from the public
6. Agenda items that could not be anticipated 48 hours in advance of the meeting
7. Set next meeting date, agenda items and Adjourn

Library Positions Available

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First of Two Listings

Part-time Customer Services Associate

Posted: August 12, 2015

Department: Seekonk Public Library

Job Title: Customer Services Associate

Duties/Description: Customer Services Associates provide direct service to library users primarily by: checking-out, renewing, reserving and requesting library materials; issuing library cards and maintaining library records; responding to user inquiries and requests; recommending books and other materials that may be of interest to the user; instructing users in how to use library equipment and other services, including electronic services; explaining to users the policies and rules of the library and network, and resolving routine problems and referring users to other who can provide further assistance. Customer Services Associates also check-in materials, re-shelve materials, and process inter-library loans. Customer Services Associates may also select or recommend materials for acquisition, and engage in other activities related to the improvement or expansion of the services they provide.

Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants must be capable of operating a cash register, a personal computer, and related peripheral devices. Applicants must have basic knowledge of current Windows operating system, and Internet browsers and social media applications. Preference will also be shown to those with experience using of the automated library computer systems and the SIRSI/Dynix in particular.

Other Required Skills and Abilities: Customer Services Associates must have a strong commitment to public service and have the ability to interact courteously and patiently with the library users. Applicants must be able to communicate effectively with users and co-workers.
Applicants must be capable of understanding and executing the operational routines defined by the policies and procedures of the library and the SAILS network. This position is covered under a collective bargaining agreement. Starting rate is $14.17 per hour.
A familiarity with public library services and practices is highly desirable. Preference will be given to those with prior library work experience and/or those with work experience involving direct service to customers. Applicants must be able to work as a member of a team, adjust their activities to fluctuating demands of library users, and perform task despite frequent interruptions.

Hours & Conditions: This is part-time position, less than twenty hours per week. Work schedule includes some evenings and Saturdays.

Closing date:  4:00 p.m. August 24, 2015

To Apply: Please state your interest and qualifications in a letter addressed:
Peter Fuller, Library Director C/O Town Administrator’s Office  Seekonk Town Hall  100 Peck St.  Seekonk, MA 02771
AND enclose a completed Town of Seekonk Employment Application form. These can be obtained at the Town Administrator’s office or downloaded from the Town website at http://seekonk-ma.gov/pages/SeekonkMA_Administration/Employment%20Application.pdf. No emails please.

Second of Two Listings

Part-time Staff Librarian

Posted On:  August 10, 2015

Department: Seekonk Public Library

Job Title: Staff Librarian, Adult Services

Duties/Description:  Staff Librarians provide professional services and other forms of assistance directly to library users. Duties include professional services in the areas of reference, collection development, programming, instruction, technology support, and other tasks needed to provide core library services for adults and young adults.

Minimum Qualifications: This position requires a Master’s Degree in Library Science from a program accredited by the American Library Association, certification from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and a successful completion of a professionally supervised public library internship or an equivalent combination of at least one year of training or experience in a public library providing direct service to the public.

Skills and Abilities Required: Staff Librarians must have a strong commitment to public service, an ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, work independently with minimal supervision, and possess an ability to assess and take appropriate actions. Candidates must have a broad and demonstrable knowledge of current and emergent technology including mobile devices and social media.  A working knowledge of integrated library systems, preferably SirsiDynix, and experience with WordPress is desirable.

Hours:   Nineteen (19) hours per week.

Salary: The starting rate is $22.23 per hour and increases in three annual steps. This is a 19 hour part time, non-exempt position covered under a collective bargaining agreement with the Town. 

Closing dates:   Internal Applicants must apply before 12:00 (Noon) on Friday, August 21. Applications from those not currently employed by the Town of Seekonk will be considered until the position is filled.

Send: Please submit a resume with a letter stating your qualifications to Peter Fuller, c/o Office of Town Administrator, Town Hall, 100 Peck Street, Seekonk, MA 02771 or send fax to (508) 336-3137. No emails please.

Service Opportunities

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Would you like to be more involved in the community while also helping to strengthen and improve the Seekonk Public Library? If so, there are several opportunities available for you to help your library.  We are seeking service-minded library users to run for the Board of Library Trustees, to serve on the Board of Directors of the Seekonk Library Trust, or to serve on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Library.  These three organizations are vitally important to the success of the library.  Past and present members of all three boards have known the personal satisfaction of helping a service that is so important to town residents. I know that you could find it rewarding as well, and I will be happy to speak with you about joining one of these boards.   Descriptions of each board and its duties are described below. If you are interested in learning more about any of these positions, you may reach me by calling (508) 336-8230, ext. 5101 or sending an email to pfuller@seekonkpl.org.  Thank you for helping us provide the best library service possible.

– Peter Fuller, Library Director

Board of Library Trustees – Under state law, the Library Trustees are responsible for the administration of the public library.  In the case of the Seekonk Public Library, this also includes the Seekonk Meadows. The Trustees are responsible for making library policy, planning, and approving budgets and major expenditures. The Trustees also administer state grant-in-aid funds.  The Board of Library Trustees generally meets monthly. This is an elective office, and if you decide to be a candidate you will need to obtain signatures from at least 50 registered voters by February 17, 2015 to be placed on the ballot. We can help you collect those signatures.

Seekonk Library Trust – The Seekonk Library Trust is a private non-profit, tax-exempt organization. The Library Trust was established to receive large gifts and bequests to the Seekonk Public Library.  The Seekonk Library Trust provided funding for both the Seekonk Meadows and the library’s Innovation Center.  The most visible activities of the Library Trust in recent years have been their annual appeal for donations to the New Century Fund, and the awarding of the annual St. Hilaire Public Service Award. This Board meets four to six times a year. There are two openings on the governing board of the Seekonk Library Trust. Both new members will be appointed by the Board of Library Trustees.

Friends of the Seekonk Public Library – The Friends of the Seekonk Public Library is another non-profit, tax-exempt organization that raises money to expand and enhance library services.  The money raised by the Friends of the Library pays for museum passes and special programs such as Family Nights and many of the Summer Concerts. The Friends manage the booksale in the lobby and conduct other fundraisers throughout the year. The Board of Directors generally meets monthly.  Any member of the Friends of the Library may serve on the Board of Directors. The Friends Board appoints its own members and elects its own officers.

Survey on Library Hours

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The library greatly appreciates the help of the 519 people who took the time to participate in the recent survey on library hours. Although the library continuously collects data on how and when it is used, it was extremely helpful to have some direct feedback from users. The survey indicated a strong desire to have the library open earlier and close later on Saturdays. Many of the people surveyed wanted the library to open at 9:00 rather than 10:00 on weekdays. There was also strong interest in opening the library on Sunday afternoons during the school year. More study will be needed, however, to determine the financial feasibility of adding Sunday hours. The Board of Trustees has requested a small increase in the operating budget for fiscal year 2016 base on this survey data.

Are Libraries Threatened?

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One of my favorite places to visit on the Web is Humans of New York. It is a photographer’s daily chronicle of  people he encounters in the city. He recently posted this picture and exchange with a gentleman at New York Public Library. Many of these insightful comments apply to all of the 16,415 public libraries in America. It certainly captures how I perceive the mission of the Seekonk Public Library. The library primarily serves readers and expects to do so for a long time.  The library is also in the information business. The library provides access to new information technologies and trains people in how to use it. The library is also what Ray Oldenburg described as that “great good place”. The library strives to be a welcoming, communal space where people of all ages can comfortably come together to learn, work and share ideas. — Peter Fuller, Director



“I don’t think the library is threatened. Circulation of physical books has never been higher. But I wouldn’t even agree that libraries are in the book business. I think they are in the information sharing business. And it just so happens that books have been the primary method of sharing information for half a millennium. The library isn’t going to compete with the internet. It’s going to be part of the internet. New York libraries have one of the greatest collections of information in the world, and one of our goals is to have it all curated, linked, and navigable.”

 “But once you’ve uploaded all your information, haven’t you made yourself obsolete?”

 “Absolutely not. Libraries provide a third space that is neither home or work, where people can come together and do thinking work. There will always be that need. And a third of New York depends upon the library system for not only free books, but free computers as well.