Head Librarian’s Report – March 2011

Before the Head Librarian’s report, a few links:

1) Screwy Decimal — which is the one children’s librarian blog you should be reading — attributes the following line to a patron: “What does the future of the library look like? It depends on you.

2) MassMarrier, which Tracy introduced me to, wrote this:

I suspect pitching necessities as well will be necessary. There are plenty of Americans, even more than usual in hard times, who are eager to forgo egalitarianism. The have-nots don’t get a lot of support in rough times, and little enough in good ones. Simply appealing to the American ideals of giving everyone a chance at the dream is seldom effective.

I am a book guy, one who has spent and still spends far more than my share of time in libraries. I am not a homeless fellow using a library to stay safe and warm. I’m not someone who needs to be there to access a computer and the internet. I’m not a teen who gets homework help there. Yet each of our groups and others uses and benefits from our branch libraries. That seems as American as it gets.

and now…the Head Librarian’s Report, minus the last few pages, which I’ve somehow misplaced.  If I find them again, I’ll include them at the end of this post:

Technology Services

AMHS and Capital Funding Proposal

An Automated Materials Handling System report including ROI (Return On Investment) analysis, City’s Infrastructure application for AMHS, and Capital funding request proposal have been constructed and finalized for Mark and City’s approval.

Circulation Deparment

  • Circulation draft policies have been revised and updated for several versions to incorporate new features of Evergreen ILS system and potential implementation of Automated Materials Handling system.
  • Looking back at February, the combined circulation for the month from all 3 branches was 66,717.  This is up almost 3,000 from the same time last year.  At the Main location, there were 38,044 visitors to the Library and 913 new Library Card registrations.
  • A great variety of behind the scenes and front desk tasks are performed by the circulation staff every day.  In order to ensure its continued effectiveness in Circulation workflow and staff job satisfaction in relation to their assigned tasks, Anne White, the Circulation Manager, has done a survey for her staff during the month of March.  The responses were very informative and helpful to Anne and Nancy Torowski, the Assistant Manager, for their daily schedule preparation.  It has been over two weeks since Anne and Nancy began implementing the survey results in scheduling.  Circulation staff have been experiencing positive changes in their work assignments and have been serving patrons with great smiles!
  • Circulation staff continued to focus their energies on helping our patrons at the Circ Desk, satisfying hols places on Library materials (an average of 250 per day), preparing incoming holds for our patrons (an average of 150 per day), work on planning a welcome package for new Library Card registrants, and various collaborative projects with Technical processing and Periodicals departments (MISSING project, A178 barcode project, DX2 DVD withdrawal, etc.).
  • Anne, Sue Groccia (the delivery supervisor) and Wei met with Greg Pronevitz, Executive Director of Massachusetts Library System, Inc. on Monday, April 4 to discuss a new delivery system in the State and its impact on WPL.  This new delivery procedure will be implemented on July 1.

IT Department

  • Ming created a new webpage to promote Scratch program on the Library’s home page, which linked all Scratch videos and lessons from the WPI student research project.
  • Due to some connection issues with our ISP vendor Charter Cable, Ming has rebuilt an outside webserver to host several apps, such as blogs, MachForm pages (email forms as one of the examples), online surveys, etc.  IT staff took advantage of existing VMware infrastructure and created a virtual machine as a webserver instead.
  • IT staff upgraded Altiris Deployment Solution to 6.9 SP4 to correct some lingering deployment issues.
  • Mike upgraded Rosetta Stone to the newest subversion and installed a new language (Level 4 English).  He also installed the newest learner station software on all 13 lab computers and configured a basic curriculum for Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester.
  • IT staff replaced all C/W MARS computers (41) with Dell Optiplex 380 model to stay in line with the requirements for C/W MARS.  These computers boast 4GB RAM and run WIndows 7 operating system.  They will be fully compliant when the Library rolls out the Evergreen ILS server, including Circulation, Technical Processing, Periodicals, and public services desks, and some office contending port computers.
  • IT staff upgraded all 4 Genealogy computers and one Grants Resource computer with recycled Dell Optiplex 330 models. These computers have had their memory doubled for faster processing as well as upgraded all software.
  • IT staff upgraded all catalog computers using recycled HP dc5700 models.  These OPACs now display random catalog pictures displayed as digital signage advertisements.
  • The Library’s Wi-Fi information is now included on the City’s home page.  (see here and here)
  • IT staff came up with IT HelpDesk protocols and Q&A in response to a high demand from both staff and patrons’ requests.  These guidelines are available on library’s intranet.

Periodicals Department

  • Three e-reader devices were purchased for staff research use.  They are kindle, Nook, and iPad.  Periodicals Department has proposed a list of magazine titles to be loaded on these devices, which was approved and funded by the Friends of the Worcester Public Library.  The ultimate goal is to provide another means for Library users to access and view the Library’s electronic magazines and newspapers.
  • The bindery materials that were sent last month arrived by the end of March.  Joan Stearns received and procesed these materials for patron access.
  • Periodicals Department is the designated coordinator to report any issue related to photocopying and printing across three locations to our outsourced vendor CopyData.  Two meetings with CopyData were held this month.  A strategic procedure was created to make our photocopying and printing service effective.  Channel of communications has also been defined.  Money collecting issue was addressed and put into action.  Joan Stearns leads her staff to put the new procedure into action.

Technical Processing and Cataloging Departments

  • With 77% staff reduction in Cataloging Department (due to retirement), Anne Johnson, the one remaining copy cataloger, along with four other staff from Technical Processing Department, have been performing magic to have library materials ordered, received, cataloged, and processed for patron use.  It is noticeable that certain types of materials are gradually piling up on the backroom shelves.
  • A total of 6,556 books as part of ongoing double barcode project were re-barcoded this month.  Enormous thanks to Lisa, Kim, Bukurie, the circulation and periodicals staff on all their hard work!
  • Copy catalogers have met with Wei to plan out the structure of locations in the bibliographic database as part of the Evergreen migration.  Jeremy ran 6 reports on locations to be removed from the database; Anne, Jeremy, and Joan began work on relocating items.
  • 3,100 items were recataloged and 3,465 items were withdrawn as part of continuing efforts to clean up the bibliographic database in time for the Migration to Evergreen.  146 item records were corrected that used item-types being removed by the consortia due to disuse.
  • Jeremy and Wei have met Reference and Youth Division separately to discuss collection inventory and weeding criteria.  Several reports were generated by Jeremy for pertinent subject specialists on missing items or items that have not circulated for 5 years.  A flow chart of handling these materials was created to expedite this process.
  • Special projects were added due to low acquisitions activities from subject specialists this month.  One of the examples is to begin recataloging books in the juvenile holiday collection for easy retrieval of library patrons.
  • DX2 has reached its capacity!  Discussion meetings were held and follow-up actions were taken.  Jeremy had circulation report generated; Joan and her staff re-processed some of the DX2 DVDs to open shelves in conjunction with the help from Circulation staff.
  • All adult Playaways from the Frances Perkins Branch were re-packages due to new format provided by the vendor; TS staff began working on children’s titles.
  • We started another batch of automatic media order by using profiling method based on subject specialist’s criteria to have vendor automatically send us popular DVD titles for Frances Perkins Branch Library.

Respectfully submitted,

Youth Services Division


  • A new round of programming, Babytime, Lil’ Todkins, and Mother Goose on the Loose, started the first week of March and will run for 5 weeks.
  • Special programs were provided to a group of home school Daisies and a Brownie troop.
  • Programs for teens, Teen Writers, Anime Wings, and Teen Manga Group, continue to attract a small but steady group of participants.
  •  The Teen Book Club resumed meeting after a yearlong hiatus.  Participating teens select what they want to read and discuss.  They started with Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins…a terrific choice.
  • Rezarta Tupja, YA Librarian, introduced library services to three groups of 5th and 6th grade students who are participating in My City, an after school program funded by CultureLeap.

The middle school librarian for Abby Kelley Foster Charter School, started a library card drive.  Online applications are arriving to be completed by circulation staff.  A YS librarian will be visiting AKFCS to deliver the cards to students.

The WPL kiosk at Worcester Public Schools Parent Information Center is now complete.  A sign was hung in the waiting room to encourage parents to acquire library cards for their children and themselves.  Another kiosk is currently being prepared for installation in the Fanning Building for GED, ELL, and Night Life students.  Thanks go to Wei, Mike and Ming for assisting with this outreach.

One of Worcester’s finest teens, Jahnoy Edwards, spoke on behalf of Worcester Public Library at the Legislative Breakfast, March 11.  The Library can thank Jahnoy and his mother, Tracy Dankwah, for starting and maintaining Anime Wings, the anime viewing club for teens.

****On March 18, Iris Cotto was notified that she will receive the 2011 Katharine F. Erskine Award for Arts & Humanities on May 3.  Please join me in congratulating Iris for this prestigious award and thanking her for her efforts to reach out to both the Hispanic community and the families living in shelters.

Respectfully submitted,



Frances Perkins Branch

An exciting development for the FPBL/Greendale Branch is the plan for further changes to the interior space.  Over the course of the month, Mr. Chip Hagy from Tucker Interiors met several times with Mark Contois, Doreen Velnich, and Robin Oliver to review ideas for improvements.

The result is a list of stylish replacement furnishings — from moveable DVD displays to a comfy chair to sit in to read to a child; from an efficient staff work desk area, to a spacious magazine and newspaper center.  Some items have been on the Branch wish list for years, and other suggestions came from looking at the space usage in a new light, so to speak.

The idea of having better quality furniture that serves the intended purpose in a fresh, strong way comes from Mark Contois who brings to WPL a lot of experience in this area.  The new shelving will be attractive, adjustable for height of materials, and flexible to use in a variety of ways.  Bookcases on casters can afford space for special functions, and can be adapted to various new spaces in the future.

The celebrated new circulation desk that is the focal point of the Branch (the marble counter brings attention to and resonates with teh deep green marble trim of the majestic fireplace) will become even more prominent when flanked with complementary furnishings.

 This “little branch” renovation, that started with the circulation desk transformation just a few months ago, has the potential for a lot of impact — better staff workflow, better visibility, a cozy pre-school area, more room for computers for children, more attractive paperback shelving with teens and ‘tweens, increased capacity for books and AV, and an overall added sophistication for the whole place.  A brighter, more spacious, and “finished” look will be achieved by the new desks, carpeting, and lighting, as well.  The front entrance vestibule and parking lot entrance foyer will also benefit froma  new decor.  A library Andrew Carnegie would STILL be proud of!

Adult Programs in March — Highlights

Regular adult programming for the month includes:

Resume Help – Tuesday Mornings with Dr. Terry Chapman.  Dr. Chapman will be speaking at the upcoming Volunteer Recognition Event on Wednesday, April 13.   After a long career as a professor at Northeastern University, he now volunteers each week offering some level of professional career counseling to the patrons of WPL.


One thought on “Head Librarian’s Report – March 2011

  1. jmstewart says:

    4 more jobs cut at the library, Nick is linking it to failure in health insurance bargaining

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