The Wilmington Memorial Library's Board of Trustees approved and adopted this plan by a unanimous vote at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2009.
The Library Director invited 11 community residents representing a broad spectrum of age and backgrounds to participate in the long range planning process. The committee included a teenager right up through retirees. Parents of preschool children and teenagers were also represented. The committee included representatives from the Board of Library Trustees, the Finance Committee, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, the Rotary Club, and the Town’s historical museum. Consultants from the Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System (NMRLS) facilitated three meetings with the Long Range Planning Committee. The Library Director, Assistant Library Director, Reference and Adult Services Librarian and Teen Services Librarian participated in the first meeting; the Library Director, Assistant Library Director and Technical Services Librarian participated in the second meeting.
At the first meeting on June 1, the Library Director presented a “Community Profile” and a “Library Profile” that served as an orientation to current conditions. NMRLS consultants Scott Kehoe and Mary Behrle used the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) technique to garner input from the committee about the library and the environment in which it currently operates.
The Library Director and the Assistant Library Director conducted the SWOT analysis with the library staff on June 19. The library staff was also asked for input on the development of a revised mission statement. The Library Director posted a draft of the mission statement on the staff blog to garner further feedback.
The Library Director provided the Board of Library Trustee on June 16 with the results of the S.W.O.T. developed at the first Long Range Planning Committee meeting. The Trustees reviewed the S.W.O.T. and added additional comments. The Library Director also asked the Board of Library Trustees to respond to the following questions:What is the role of the public library in a digital world where information is easily available from many sources?What can or should the library offer the community in order to stay relevant?
At the second meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee on June 24, the Library Director summarized the results of the meetings with the Library Trustees and the library staff. NMRLS consultants, Susan Babb and Mary Behrle, lead the committee in brainstorming vision statements for the community. After prioritizing those vision statements to which the library could best respond, the committee developed draft goals and objectives.
In addition to input from the above meetings, the library conducted a community survey to solicit input for the long range plan. During the month of July, the survey was available on the library’s web site and the Town’s web site, at the library, the Town Hall and the Department of Elderly Services. Staff and volunteers also gave out the survey at the Town’s Fourth of July festivities. In development of this long range plan, the results of two other surveys done in 2008 were also reviewed: a Parent Survey on Library Services for Children done in October 2008 and a Teen Services Survey done in November 2008.
The Library Director and Assistant Library Director reviewed all of the comments and data from the community survey and the input from the Long Range Planning Meetings, staff meeting and Trustee meeting. In addition, they looked at long range plans from other libraries as well as trends that will likely impact the delivery of library service over the next five years. Organizing the data into categories, four strategic directions were indentified for this planning cycle: 1) a center for ideas, information and inspiration 2) a visible and integral part of the community 3) a learning and evolving organization and 4) a vibrant and inviting facility. Goals, objectives and activities were developed within each of these concepts. The goals and objectives were given to library department heads for review and feedback and subsequently presented to the library staff at a staff meeting on September 11 for review and feedback.
Susanne Clarkin, Library TrusteeEileen MacDougall, Library TrusteeRobert Hayes, Friends of the Library Fundraising ChairmanTerry McDermott, Curator-Harnden TavernDaniel Wandell Jr., Finance CommitteeLouis Cimaglia, Board of SelectmenMargaret Kane, Chairman School CommitteeHarold Cunningham, Wilmington RotaryJacqueline Raffi, Wilmington Education FoundationJordan Higgs, Teen Library PageJoy Lemay, Parent of young children
Library StaffChristina Stewart, Library DirectorCharlotte Wood, Assistant Library DirectorKatie Huffman, Reference and Adult Services LibrarianSusan MacDonald, Children's Services LibrarianBrandy Danner, Teen Services LibrarianAlicia Verno, Technical Services Librarian
Wilmington Memorial Library enriches life in the community by supporting and promoting the joy of reading, lifelong learning, and personal entertainment, and is a welcoming place for quiet reflection, human interaction, and community connection.
According to Mary Behrle, Assistant Director at NMRLS, the 436 completed surveys is considered a very good response rate. Those who completed the survey were primarily female (72.5%). With this in mind, the marketing library services to men will be a part of this Long Range Plan. The largest age category of those completing the survey was between the ages of 31 to 50 (47.3%). Ninety percent had used the library in the last six months. Of the 42 who checked off that they had not used the library in this time period, 41 checked off “use the Internet at home” as one of the reasons why.
The survey showed that patrons use the library primarily for reading. Of those who responded to the survey, 82.6% indicated that the reason they used the library was for reading material. Movies were the second highest category at 63.1% and information was the third highest at 44.7%.
The survey included a question regarding their perception of the library. Of those completing the survey, 204 indicated that the library is up to date and innovative. Only 28 considered the library dated and old fashioned. The makeover most likely contributed to this positive perception of the library. There were many positive written comments about the makeover improvements. Of those completing the survey, 363 believe that the library is a valuable community service. The ratings on the library facility for exterior appearance, interior appearance, and cleanliness were split between excellent and good. The major “weakness” identified by all groups in the SWOT exercise was lack of space. The space problem also was reflected in many of the written comments in the library survey.
The SWOT exercise done by each group identified the library staff as one of the “strengths.” Of those completing the survey, 81% rated the staff as excellent for courtesy, 82% as excellent for helpfulness and 79% as excellent for knowledge. The high marks given to library staff were also reflected by many the written comments. Although there were a few negative comments about the friendliness of the staff, these were in the minority. Customer service objectives are included in the Long Range Plan.
The following comments/suggestions were repeated multiple times in answers to the last two questions: What would you like the library to offer that it does not currently offer? What would you like to see changed or improved at the library?
Although expanding hours will most likely not be feasible during this planning cycle due to budget constraints, the Board of Library Trustees has requested that the Library Director do a cost analysis for opening Sunday hours during the school year. In light of the current economic climate and the Town’s current priorities to build a new high school and a fire substation, the expansion of the library facility will not be a part of this planning cycle. The Board of Library Trustees, however, would like to evaluate community support for new library facility in 2015.
Although there were comments expressing a desire for a larger collection, space limitations in the current facility prevent expansion of the book collection. In the adult department, however, there is space to add a few more magazine subscriptions. A video software collection will also be added. The library will continue to provide a current collection of materials on topics of interest and need in a variety of formats. E Books will also be added to the collection.
The lack of quiet study space in the library study space was a repeated theme. Again limited space makes the creation of quiet study difficult. Creative ways to meet the need for quiet study in the library will be investigated.
The Long Range Planning Committee as well as survey comments suggested name tags for staff. The Library Director is working with library staff to implement name tags.
Thanks to the supplemental funding from the Friends of the Library, a wide variety of programs for all ages is offered. In order to reach an expanded audience, presenting programs Friday evenings and on Saturdays will be investigated. Traditional and new ways to market programs will be implemented.
The need to improve marketing library services came out in the SWOT exercises and the library survey. There were a significant number of responses in the library survey indicating that people were not aware that the library had museum passes and free wireless internet available. There were also suggestions for programs that the library already offers. The survey results show that the use of the library web site ranks high (53%) as a source of information for library services and events, followed by newspaper, flyer on bulletin board, and email newsletter. Improving the library web site and integrating more social networking technology into library promotion is included in the Long Range Plan.
A center for ideas, information and inspiration
Goal 1. Children will discover the joy of reading and become lifelong learners.
Objective 1. The Children’s staff will offer at least two programs each calendar year on the importance of reading or related literacy topic.Activities:
Objective 2. Children’s staff will offer programs that reach an expanded audience.
Objective 3. Circulation of the Children’s collection will increase an average of 2.5% per year through the end of FY15.
Objective 4. The Children’s Room will become a destination for families during non-programming hours as measured by increased headcount taken at regular intervals.
Goal 2. Teens will expand their interests and excite their imaginations through programs and materials that provide enjoyable experiences.
Objective 1. Teen librarian will offer programs that reach an expanded audience.
Objective 2. Circulation of the teen collection will increase by an average of 2.5% per year through the end of FY15.
Objective 3. The Teen Zone will become a destination for teens as measured by increased headcount taken at regular intervals.
Goal 3. Adults will enjoy a wide variety of popular materials, have access to informational resources, and will be offered a wide array of programs and events.
Objective 1. Develop tools that will help patrons navigate the library’s online resources and other reliable information sources.
Objective 2. Expand readers’ advisory services.
Objective 3. Adult Services will offer programs that reach an expanded audience.
Objective 4. Circulation of the adult collection will increase an average of 2.5% per year through the end of FY15.
Goal 4. Patrons will be able to obtain materials in good condition conveniently and with reasonable speed.
Objective 1. The library’s collections will be weeded continuously based on use and condition.
Objective 2. Items will be ordered, processed, and shelved ASAP.
Objective 3. Investigate the cost of adding Sunday hours during the school year. FY 12
Goal 5. Residents will have reliable public access computers and opportunities to learn about emerging technologies.
Objective 1. Annually review and update the library’s technology plan. Activities
A visible and integral part of the community
Goal 1. Residents will take advantage of the library’s resources by being made aware of its programs and services through effective marketing and promotion.
Objective 1. The library will have an identifiable brand used across all promotional materials. FY11.
Objective 2. The library will expand the use of traditional methods of marketing such as newsletters, displays, brochures, handouts, bookmarks, and local cable TV.
Objective 3. The library will use social networking sites to market library services.
Objective 4. The library’s web site will be user-friendly and up-to-date.
Objective 5. Library services will be marketed to targeted populations.
Goal 2. The community will be enriched by partnerships with businesses, schools and local organizations.
Objective 1. Library staff will initiate visits with local schools and organizations.
Goal 3. Patrons will appreciate the Town’s heritage with an accessible local history collection.
Objective 1. Increase the accessibility of the local history collections through digitization by FY14.
Objective 2. Investigate options for supporting local oral history projects by FY13.
Goal 4. Residents will be informed about local resources and events by convenient access to community information.
Objective 1. Expand, organize, and make available community information of interest to patrons. FY11, FY12.
A learning and evolving organization
Goal 1. Residents will have a public library responsive to their needs.
Objective 1. Seek a steady stream of feedback from the community through focus groups, surveys, comment cards, evaluation forms, web site, and social networking sites.
Objective 2. Annually review policies to ensure they are in line with needs and best practices. Activities:
Objective 3. Continually review procedures and staffing patterns for efficiency for optimum use of library resources.
Objective 4. Continuously scan the environment for new technologies and other trends and develop them as appropriate to enhance library services.
Objective 5. Seek supplemental funding sources.
Objective 6. Continue to evaluate and seek improvement in staff communication.
Goal 2. Patrons will be served by an innovative staff with technology resources and competencies necessary to do their work.
Objective 1. Technology Plan will be updated annually and will address regular replacement schedule for staff computers and the development of staff technology competencies. Objective 2. Provide the necessary support for staff attendance at technology related workshops and conferences.
Objective 3. One staff meeting per year will include an outside expert to speak on a relevant technology topic.
Goal 3. Patrons will receive excellent customer service by a highly trained staff.
Objective 1. Develop customer service standards.
A vibrant and inviting facility
Goal 1. Residents will have a library that provides areas for quiet study.
Objective 1. Investigate ways the small meeting room can be used for quiet study. FY10- FY11
Objective 2. Investigate ways to create a quiet zone in the non-fiction area. FY0-FY11
Objective 3. Evaluate community support for moving forward with a new or renovated facility. FY15.
Goal 2. Residents will have meeting rooms with the latest technology.
Objective 1. Update meeting rooms in calendar year 2010.
Goal 3. Residents will have a clean and well-maintained library facility and grounds.
Objective 1. Develop plan for exterior library improvements including new back entrance, awning over book return and handicapped entrance, and outdoor reading area. FY11
Objective 2. Ask Public Buildings Department to address specific building improvements.
Objective 3. Provide a clutter free and neat library appearance.
The Town of Wilmington is a suburban community with a mix of residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, and industrial parks located in northern Middlesex County halfway between Boston and the New Hampshire border along Interstate Route 93. The town is approximately seventeen square miles in size, and lies at the headwaters of the Ipswich River Basin. Wilmington is bounded by Andover to the north, Billerica and Tewksbury to the west, Burlington and Woburn to the south, and Reading and North Reading to the east. The topography in Wilmington is generally low lying with wetlands covering approximately 25% of the town.
Based on the local census, Wilmington’s 2008 population is 23,066 which reflect a 6.4% increase from 2003. The 2010 Census, currently underway, will likely show little significant change in Wilmington’s racial demographic profile compared to the 2000 Census. According to the 2000 Census, Wilmington’s population is racially homogenous with 96.3 % categorized as “white.” Compared to the 1990 Federal Census, this figure represents a slight decrease in the white population and an increase in other racial categories. In 1990, there were 172 residents of Asian race compared to 434 reported in the 2000 Census. In 1990, there were 81 residents of Hispanic origin compared to 203 in the 2000 Census. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 92.4% of the population had a high school diploma and 41.4% had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Wilmington’s convenient location and accessibility via highways and commuter rail make it a good place to live or locate a business. Residential development is concentrated in the upland areas. Industrial development is concentrated in three locations: the southeast corner of Wilmington; north of Route 125 and in central Wilmington east of Route 93. The principal commercial and business districts are located along Main Street (Route 38), Lowell Street (Route 129) and on Middlesex Avenue. In 2008, new commercial development occurred along the Main Street corridor where several businesses, including Staples, opened their doors at the new Wilmington Crossings.
According to the 2000 census, 9,029 workers commute from Wilmington to outside and 18,286 workers travel to work in Wilmington. The unemployment data for Wilmington reflects the national increase in this category due to current economic conditions. According to the Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training, the unemployment rate in March 2009 was 7.6% compared to 4.3% in March 2008.
According to the Town Assessor, there are 7,098 housing units in Wilmington. The majority of these homes are single family dwellings. There are also seven apartment complexes. In May 2006, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a study for families seeking to live in the greater Boston area. Of the 142 communities surveyed, Wilmington ranked second in affordability, taking into account the quality of life issues addressed in the study. (Town of Wilmington 2006 Annual report)
The economic impact on home sales has resulted in a decline in home values and number of homes sold over the past year. According to the Warren Group, publishers of Bankers and Tradesmen, the average sale price of a single family home in Wilmington in 2009 is $335,000.
Wilmington’s financial picture was described by the Town Manager in the 2008 Annual Report. “The Town of Wilmington, although not immune from harsh economic realities facing families, businesses, governments and other entities, fared better than many communities. …..At the end of calendar year 2008, the Boston Globe published several articles on local development and municipal property taxes. Bucking the Trend is how they referred to the Town of Wilmington.” The residential tax rate decreased with a budget that was balanced with no lay off of personnel or reduction in services. The FY10 Municipal Budget is $77,294,810.
In 2008-2009, there were 3,780 students enrolled in the Wilmington Public Schools. A recent study of all existing school buildings recommended that a new high school be built. A “Statement of Interest” has been submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the entity that authorizes school construction funding from the Commonwealth. Wilmington adopted full day kindergarten in 2007 with no tuition to these students. Wilmington is also one of the few communities in the area that does not charge user fees to students participating in school sports or other extracurricular activities. The Wilmington School/Business Partnership and the Wilmington Education Foundation are two organizations that work to support and broaden the education experience of Wilmington's students.
Wilmington is a member of the Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School District where 245 students are enrolled in the current school year. Six students are home schooled and 291 students attend private schools. The Abundant Life Christian School, the only private in Wilmington, has a student population of 168 K to 8 students.
Many residents participate in the social and cultural activities provided by an active town Recreation Department, a local arts council and numerous local civic and social organizations. The Elderly Services Department provides services and programs to the senior community. “Fun on the Fourth” held during the week of July 4th on the Town Common is a popular annual event attended by many residents. The Wilmington Historical Commission, Friends of the Harnden Tavern and the Wilmington Minutemen are involved in historical programs and preservation. The Wilmington Memorial Library provides a variety of cultural and educational programs for all ages. The Friends of the Wilmington Memorial Library operate the only used bookstore in Wilmington.
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Massachusetts Department of Education - Wilmington Enrollment Indicators
Library Facility One of the major goals of Wilmington Memorial Library’s Long Range Plan FY06-FY10 was to provide residents with “a modern library facility that is welcoming and user friendly.” Although Wilmington was awarded a $3,377,615 construction grant to build a new library in July 2005, efforts to secure the local funding balance of $8.3 million in November failed. Given the loss of the proposed new library, the goal to provide a “modern library facility” was evaluated with a new focus. Despite challenging space constraints, staff developed a plan to transform a worn out and dated facility into a welcoming and user friendly building.
In early 2006, library staff brainstormed on the best way to redesign the first floor of the library in order to create and best use the limited space for collections, computers, displays and service desks. The first step was to remove large book stacks. In order to do this, staff did a systematic weed of the adult book collection. We were then able to increase the number of public internet computers on the first floor from six to twelve, create more open display space and relocate service desks. The interior makeover included the purchase of a new circulation desk, reference desk, tables and chairs, display units, a new ceiling and lighting on the first floor and painting of specified areas.
The makeover of the Children’s Room was launched in July 2007 with some unexpected funding. Wilmington Memorial Library was notified that it was one of three libraries in the nation selected to receive funding from “the Idearc Media American Library Association (ALA) Reading Renovation Volunteer Project” that included $20,000 and volunteer help to support the project. Idearc Media graphic artists created murals based on the theme of Wilmington’s historic Baldwin apple. New shelving with cut out designs of animals and a Baldwin apple puppet theater were funded by Idearc Media. The Friends of the Library purchased the new tables and chairs and paid for the upholstery of the couch with beautiful red fabric that completed the new look in the preschool area. Friends of the Library provided the funding for a new circulation desk in the Children’s Room scheduled for installation by mid June, 2009.
The makeover of the Teen Zone coincided with the makeover of the Children’s Room. In July 2007, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners approved the library’s application for “Serving ‘Tweens and Teens” grant in the amount of $20,000. The two year federal grant supported the makeover of the Teen Zone with the purchase of new furniture. The Friends of the Library also contributed to this makeover with the purchase of the computer workstations in the Teen Zone.
The exterior of the library was improved with a new expanded parking lot, a 24/7 drive up book return and “a clean up” and planting of new shrubs in the front of the library. In 2008, the Friends of the Library funded a new library sign for the front of the library.
The source of funding for the library makeover has been a combination of municipal financial support, state aid and federal grant funds, Friends of the Library support and private funds. Although the Town supported the library makeover through the budget and with personnel support from the Public Buildings Department, it should be noted that the majority of the funding for the library makeover came from state aid funds and the Friends of the Library.
The makeover is still a work in progress with plans to add new directional signage, display end panels of the first floor, and reading area for school age children in the Children’s Room. The makeover project has received positive feedback from library patrons and recognition by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners in its newsletter publication. Library Director Christina Stewart received the Unsung Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women for spearheading the makeover project following the defeat of the proposal to build a new library.
Although the makeover project has been successful in many aspects, limited space and functional design still present problems for providing optimum library service in a 40 year old building. Difficult decisions and choices had to be made regarding collection reduction. For every book added to the collection, one has to be removed in order to fit the allocated book shelf space. There are no specified quiet study areas in the library. Responses on the Town Wide Survey in 2004 indicated that quiet study was the most important feature for the library. Some patrons have complained about the “noisy” library during peak busy periods. The Teen Zone is very crowded after school and some teens have complained that Teen Zone space is too small. A preschool computer is still located in a hallway due to lack of space in the Children’s Room. All areas of the library are not handicapped accessible.
Collections Books Systematic aggressive weeding of the adult book collection began in FY04. The adult book collection has been reduced from approximately 50,000 books in FY01 to a current collection of approximately 30,000, which is a 40% reduction. Although the weeding of the collection was necessary to create space as noted above, this process also served to rid the collection of dated and worn out material. Consequently, the book collection is more relevant and responsive to user needs resulting in an increase of 12.5% in circulation for adult books between FY05 and FY08. The FY08 adult book circulation was the highest on record. This increase is also attributable to a patron’s ability to find books more easily in book stacks that are less cluttered. The creation of a “Hot Title” collection making best sellers available for in house browsing and more displays of popular items have also contributed to the increase.
The systematic weeding of children’s book collection began in FY06. This labor intensive weeding project proceeded at a less aggressive pace compared to the weeding of the adult book collection. The number of books in the children’s book collection was reduced from a high point of 38,000 books in FY05 to a current collection of approximately 25,000 books, which is a reduction of about 34%. The circulation of children’s books stayed relatively flat between FY05 and FY08. However, monthly circulation statistics show an increase for FY09 likely due to the completion of the makeover and the final phases of this major weeding project.
Due to the small area allocated for the Teen Zone, teen book collection represents about 5% of the total collection. The collection is primarily a browsing collection of popular titles of interest to teens. There are approximately 3,752 books in the collection and about 150 audio books. Circulation of the teen collection has increased by 19% from FY05 to FY08.
Magazines and Newspapers The library has 164 subscriptions providing a wide range of magazines and regional and local newspapers. Retrospective issues of the two local newspapers The Town Crier and the Wilmington Advocateare available on microfilm in the library’s local history room.
Media The library’s media collection which includes music CDs, audio books, and DVDs represented 14.1% of the collection and accounted for 27% of the circulation in 2008. The circulation of CDs is beginning to level off due likely to the popularity of digital downloads. The video collection in the adult department has been eliminated with many classics replaced in DVD format. The number of videos in the children’s collection has been reduced by 70% with more of the popular and classic films now available on DVD. The teen collection has a small CD and DVD collection along with a few software titles. There are plans to add circulating software to the children’s collection this year.
Museum Passes The library has discount passes to 10 area museums and parks funded by local organizations. Patrons can reserve museums passes on the library’s web site.
Local History Collection The local history collection that was housed in the Bicentennial Room was moved to the Library Director’s former office on the first floor as part of the library makeover. The relocation of this collection to the first floor makes it accessible for research assistance from the Reference Librarian. The primary focus of the collection is current and historical information about Wilmington with some limited material on contiguous towns. Artifacts and traditional archival material, such as letters and diaries, are not a part of this collection due to limited space. Consequently, the Bond Collection that includes such artifacts related to Wilmington’s history will be relocated to the Harnden Tavern.
Electronic Resources Using their library cards, patrons can access a variety of state and regionally funded electronic databases at home and in the library. Among the most popular databases for research are Infotrac that provides millions of full-text articles on a wide range of topics and Proquest that provides full text access to the Boston Globe (1980 to current) and the Boston Herald (1991 to current) plus ten other Massachusetts newspapers. In addition, eight additional databases are funded by our library. These databases include World Book Encyclopedia, Price It, an antique and collectibles database, Chilton’s and Mitchell Manuals databases for auto repair, Legal Forms, Testing and Education Reference Center (practice exams for a variety of academic and licensing tests) and Ancestry (a genealogy database). In 2006, downloadable audio books became available through MVLC.
Technology The Wilmington Memorial Library (WML) is a member of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) and shares an integrated library system called Horizon with thirty-five other libraries. MVLC operates a wide area network (WAN), which connects its member libraries to the Horizon system and to the Internet. The library’s public computers connect to the Internet via the Comcast network. As part of the Town’s contract with Comcast, there is no charge for this connection which is stable and fast.
The library currently provides eighteen public Internet access computers (twelve in the adult area and six in the Teen Zone) plus five public HIPs (online catalog). Computer use has increased by 67% since 2004. Due to the increased demand for Internet computers, the library implemented an automated sign in system for computer reservations in April, 2009.
Wireless access was introduced in the library March, 2006. The service is available throughout the building with two access points on the first floor.
The library’s web site (www.wilmlibrary.org) was redesigned in the fall of 2006, resulting in a user-friendly layout with an appealing design. The library’s web site won first place in the Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award in 2007.
ProgramsAdult Programs Beginning in September 2008, the library began offering online registration for adult programs. Specially designed bookmarks with information about upcoming programs were given to patrons at checkout. These seasonal bookmarks received first place in the Massachusetts Library Association Public Relations Awards in May 2009. Good marketing, the ability to register for programs online and interesting programs with a series theme resulted in 25% increase in adult program attendance in 2008 compared to 2007, with a significant number attending their first program at the library.
Wilmington Reads is a town wide reading program that began with the support of a federal grant in 2004 and is now offered in alternate years. The target audience is high school and adult readers. The collaborative support from the Wilmington High School and the public school administration has contributed to the success of Wilmington Reads. In 2009, the Wilmington Reads title was the Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien the book was checked out 295 times January through March and 345 people attended 10 programs during the month of March.
In February 2009, the library hosted its first Friday night Jazz concert. The first floor of the library was transformed into a “jazz club” complete with cloth covered tables, flickering table lights, and low illumination. Award winning singer, Athene Wilson, and her quartet performed two 45 minutes sets wowing the audience with her wide ranging repertoire. Ticket costs were kept to a reasonable $7.00 due to funds from the Friends of the Library and to monies received from a CD anti-trust settlement. The reaction from the audience was a clear call for more programs of this kind. In response, the library has booked April Hall and trio for an August jazz concert and the group, Too Human, for a jazz concert in December.
Children’s Programs The library’s program offerings for children include traditional preschool story time programs, story and craft programs, book discussion groups, a writing group for school age children and family movie nights. Special events funded by the Friends of the Library feature professional performers including storytellers, musicians, puppeteers, theater groups and animal shows. The annual summer reading program focuses on a theme to inspire and encourage children to read during the summer months. Over 680 children signed up for Play It, the 2008 summer reading program.
The library surveyed parents using the Children’s Room for a two week period in October, 2008. There were 133 surveys completed. The overall results were very positive in terms of staff, programs, services, collections and the overall appearance of the Children’s Room. The following were the top choices for items most interested in seeing added:
The top three categories for programs most likely to attend:
The above items will be addressed this calendar year.
Teen Programs Wilmington Memorial Library is one of seven libraries in our population group of fifty-four libraries that employs a full-time Teen Services Librarian. Having a Teen Services Librarian since May 2002 has enabled the library to offer a variety of teen programs. In 2008, the library offered 71 teen programs and an attendance of 719. The teens who attend these programs are usually middle school age students. The attendance numbers can range for one or two teens to up to 20 on average. Since the makeover of the Teen Zone, there has been a noticeable increase in activity with teens using the computers, doing homework or playing board games at the café tables. The “Serving ‘Tweens and Teens” grant received in 2007 supported the creation of a Teen and ‘Tween Advisory Board. In addition, the grant provided funding for the teen collection and for program initiatives about science, technology, consumerism and visual literacy.
A Teen Survey was done online in November 2008. Sixty-eight teens responded. Results were mostly positive; critiques usually referred to the room being too small and location next to the children’s room (“too many little kids crying”).
Staffing The library staff includes the Library Director plus 12 full-time employees and 14 part-time employees. Four part-time library aides and the part-time reference librarian each work 20 hours per week. There are nine library pages who work a total of 80 hours weekly. Based on a 35 hour work week, the total of number of hours worked equals 18.14 full-time equivalencies (FTE).
Friends of the Library The Friends of the Library was organized in 1997 and has grown to over three hundred members. The Friends provide support for many library programs, museum passes, furniture and equipment not provided through the municipal budget.
In April 2007, the Friends opened “The Book Store Next Door” at 183 Middlesex Avenue. (This small house next to the public library was purchased by the Town at Town Meeting in November, 2005). Donations of gently used books, videos, DVDs and CDS are available for sale every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays 12 noon to 3 pm in addition to Wednesday evenings in the summer. This endeavor has proven to be a wonderful community service in that it provides a place for residents to recycle their books, a place to find wonderful reads at bargain prices, and a place for volunteers to raise funds for library improvements. In 2008, the Book Store Next raised $18,355. The Friends of the Library also conduct an annual fund raising drive in November.
Financial Information The public library has to date received fair and equitable municipal financial support. The library’s budget for FY10 is $952,622 representing 1.23% of the FY10 Municipal Budget. Eighty percent of the library’s budget goes towards salaries.
Funding from non-appropriated sources include the Friends of the Library, community organizations, state and federal grants, and individual donations. In FY09, the non-appropriated sources represented about 5.6% of expenditures.
How does Wilmington Memorial Library Compare? According to the Massachusetts Public Library Data 2008 Rankings Report published by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Wilmington Memorial Library placed 14th out of 54 libraries in the population group 15,000- 24,999. The rankings are based on measures such as total operating income, salary expenditures, holdings, circulation, etc. This ranking has held fast for the past few years.
Although the matrices used to rank libraries in similar population groups are helpful comparisons, one can also look at comparisons within the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. For example, Wilmington showed the third highest circulation increase of all member libraries from July-November 2007 to July-November 2008. Wilmington was also the first library in the consortium (perhaps the state) to offer self pickup of items on hold. Wilmington does not offer self checkout currently but hopes to offer self-check out in FY10. Self pick up of holds makes the self-check out process much easier. There are four libraries in MVLC that offer self-checkout but they do not offer self-holds.
Wilmington Memorial Library has received a number of awards for services and program. (See attached list). Wilmington’s strongest asset is its creative and dedicated staff that is responsible for these awards, for creative programming and for the library makeover. The library staff is currently in the process of adopting a “book store” concept of browsing collections called neighborhoods. We believe our library may be the first to tweak the Dewey Decimal system in Massachusetts.
Every town contiguous to Wilmington has either built a new facility or expanded/renovated its facility within the last 25 years. As noted above, the 40 year old 15,000 square foot library facility remains the biggest challenge to providing optimum library service in the 21st century.
Wilmington Memorial Library175 Middlesex Ave. Wilmington, MA 01887 Main Phone: (978) 658-2967Youth Services: (978) 694-2098Hours & DirectionsM-Th 9am-9pm, Fri 9am-5pm Sat 9am-5pm (closed Saturdays during summer)
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