The Maynard Public Library’s Long Range Plan
Patricia Chambers, Chair
Board of Library Trustees
Cheryl Bouchard, Secretary
Elizabeth T. Binstock, Member at Large
Approved by the Board of Library Trustees on
June 21, 2016
The Long Range Planning Process
The Trustees of the Maynard Public Library appointed a committee in June 2015 to create an updated Long Range Plan for the library. The Board of Trustees had approved Long Range Plans in 1994 and 2009. As the goals of these earlier plans had been largely accomplished, the Maynard Public Library was in need of a new document to give the Trustees, Library Director, and library staff, guidance in developing and implementing public library services over the next five years.
The Long Range Planning Committee members included Library Trustees Patricia Chambers, Cheryl Bouchard, and Elizabeth T. Binstock, former Library Trustee William Cullen, Friends of the Maynard Public Library President Sally Thurston, Community Member Alysson Severance, Assistant Town Administrator Andrew Scribner-MacLean, and Library Director Stephen Weiner.
About the Town of Maynard
Formerly known as Assabet Village, the Town of Maynard was incorporated in 1871. Like many New England mill towns, it attracted immigrant labor. Today, it is still proud to be home to many immigrants and their descendants. As of 2015, the Town has 4,292 households and a population of 10,359. There are 1,890 people under 18 years of age, of whom 594 are under 5 years old. There are 8,469 people 18 years old or older. Maynard supports its own K-12 school system and is part of a regional vocational school, has its own police and fire, highway, parks, water and sewer departments, and curbside trash pickup. The library, health department, and services for seniors are also provided through the Town’s annual appropriations.
A Short History of the Maynard Public Library
The Maynard Public Library has been growing ever since it started in 1881 in a vacant school room. In 1885 the library moved to the Riverside Cooperative Building where it stayed until July 1918 and then moved to the second floor of the Naylor Building on Nason Street. The library moved again in 1962 to Main Street, to the west wing of the newly built Town Building, erected on the site of the Wilson School. At first the library occupied the lower floor of the building, a space of 3,000 square feet, but in 1976 it expanded into the second floor as well, making a library of just under 7,000 square feet, the largest library facility the town of Maynard had ever known.
The library was still in the Main Street location when the first Long Range Plan was written in 1994. The site at the Town Building was determined to be too small for realistic library building expansion, and the Board of Library Trustees began looking for other sites appropriate for a new public library building. The Roosevelt School, an abandoned elementary school on Nason Street, was selected as a new library site in 1999. In 2001, the Friends of the Maynard Public Library were awarded nonprofit status, enabling them to initiate a capital campaign, through which they raised about $600,000 in donations toward the building project. The Trustees received a building grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners in the amount of $2.2 million and the Town provided the rest of the funding. The architectural firm Lerner, Ladds, and Bartels was selected as the project’s architects, and Colantonio, Inc. was named as the general contractor. The building project began in earnest in December 2004, and when the new public library building opened its doors at the Roosevelt School site in July 2006, the public library returned to Nason Street, where it had been 46 years before.
Maynard Public Library Mission Statement
The mission of the Maynard Public Library is to be open to all citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to serve primarily as a popular materials center and a support system for independent learners. The library serves age groups from preschoolers through senior citizens. It acts as a center for recreational reading, information, and culture. The library accomplishes these missions through the provision and maintenance of an updated library collection, contemporary computer access, and by providing vital programming. Library staff member provide these and other programs with support from volunteers, the Friends of the Maynard Public Library, and community organizations.
Maynard Public Library Policies
The Maynard Public Library offers services at no charge and extends borrowing privileges to all citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The library subscribes to those policies determined by the Minuteman Library Network (MLN) and those prescribed by the Massachusetts Library System (MLS).
The library supports the right of patrons to access a wide range of information and delivery formats, both through the use of Maynard Public Library materials and through the use of automated networks. The Maynard Board of Library Trustees endorses the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View statements of the American Library Association. The Trustees also endorse the Library Bill of Rights. The library’s mandate is to not take positions on issues, but to support well informed discussion of issues. See Appendix A for the complete text of these endorsements.
The library staff attempts to identify community needs on an ongoing basis and to meet these needs with available resources.
Maynard Public Library Services
The Maynard Public Library offers information retrieval, recreational reading materials, educational services, cultural programming, and public meeting rooms. These services are realized through use of current technology; purchasing appropriate print, digital and non-print materials; presenting programs relevant to the community; and offering meeting rooms to community groups, local businesses, and Town boards.
Maynard Public Library Holdings
Since 2013, Maynard Public Library holdings have increased by 4.5% to 75,024 total holdings. Print titles have increased in those three years (through 2015 measured in fiscal years, July - June matching the funding cycle) but printed titles actually dropped slightly in the past year as poorly circulating holdings were removed. The largest gain in holdings continues to be in electronic titles. E-books, and streaming music and movies continue to be popular with all age groups and 1,290 titles have been added in three years – fully a 10% gain in these popular holdings. The strong holding figures are supplemented by interlibrary loan borrowing where the Maynard Library is a popular loaner as well, as the circulation figures show.
Complete holding statistics are available in Appendix B
Maynard Public Library Circulation Statistics
In the seven years since the last Long Range Plan was developed, technology has greatly impacted library circulation. Books, movies, and music titles can now be accessed ‘on-demand’ often for little or no cost, mounting a direct challenge to the historically ‘free’ advantages of a public library. Maynard’s experience mirrors what is happening nationally. Library circulation is down about 9% in those seven years, despite increased holdings. The majority of the decline, however, is in printed titles, while the number of titles circulated electronically has increased dramatically. For example, Freegal (a music streaming service) use is up 63% since it was purchased in 2013 and Overdrive (e-books) use is up 96% since originally purchased as part of a Minuteman Library Network program in 2010. Complete circulation statistics are available in Appendix B
The Maynard Public Library is a member of the Massachusetts Metrowest Regional Library System and the Minuteman Library Network.
The Maynard Public Library is closely aligned with and supported by the Friends of the Maynard Public Library. The Friends provide funding and guidance in library programs and services.
Accomplishments of the 1994 Long Range Plan
The 1994 Long Range Plan had three priorities: for the Maynard Public Library to join an automated network, to upgrade staff, and to develop a building expansion program. All of these goals have been met. In July 1995, the Maynard Public Library became a full member of the Minuteman Library Network. Increasing the library staff was an ongoing project. A full time equivalent (FTE) position was added to the library department in 1996, a part time staffer was added in 2002, and additional hours were added for permanent and temporary personnel. As a result, staff increased from 4.4 FTE in 1995 to 6.7 FTE in 2006. Staff salaries were upgraded, making the pay and benefits in Maynard competitive with other similar communities.
An improved library facility was also a goal of the Long Range Plan. Initially, attempts were made to physically improve the 7,000 square foot library at the Town Building site by re-arranging the collection and painting the interior, but research revealed that the building was too small for a library suitable for a town the size of Maynard. Finally the Trustees decided to renovate the abandoned Roosevelt School, a 24,300 square foot facility. Construction began in December 2004 and was completed in June 2006. The new facility solved all the physical deficiencies noted in the earlier Long Range Plan. The current library building is ADA compliant, and has separate floors for Children’s and Young Adult Services, Adult Services, and Circulation Services. The library also has three public meeting rooms, study rooms, quiet reading areas, more public computers and an elevator. In addition, the new library facility has room for collection growth.
Accomplishments of the 2009 Long Range Plan
The 2009 Long Range Plan identified these priorities: to increase library hours open to the public, to support more programming for teens, and to expand into digital services. Since 2009, hours open to the public increased from 42 to 43 per week. The Young Adult program was expanded through a multi-year Young Adult programming grant award and through the creation of a permanent part time Young Adult librarian position. Other accomplishments included: increased funding and support from the Town, increased access to electronic/digital resources, the adoption of a Collection Development Policy, and a focus on building maintenance. In addition, a variety of library programs were offered and a digital collection was created.
One goal that was not realized was the creation of a Library Foundation. After extensive research it was determined that the objective is unreachable at this time.
The 2016 Long Range Planning Process
The Long Range Planning Committee met from June 2015 until May 2016. Long Range Plans created by other public libraries were reviewed. A public meeting was held to get greater input. The following sources were reviewed to better understand and implement the planning process: Planning for Results: a Public Library Transformation Process by Ethel Himmel and William James Wilson (ALA Editions, 1998), and Sandra Nelson’s The New Planning for Results: a Streamlined Approach (American Library Association, 2001).
A survey was conducted, asking respondents to rate aspects of library service, the physical plant, and staff responsiveness. The survey was promoted through social media, at the annual Town Meeting, at the Town Hall, Senior Center, on the library’s website, and in the local newspaper. Approximately 640 people responded to the survey. Overall, respondents rated library services positively.
Survey respondents praised the Maynard Public Library’s useful collection, its strong public programming, and the responsiveness of its staff. Requests for greater availability of meeting spaces for community groups were noted. In terms of the collection, books were reported to be the most widely used materials (cited by 88% of respondents), followed by museum passes, and DVDs. Respondents noted a strong preference for printed rather than digital materials. There was broad interest in an online museum pass reservation system, and longer library hours. Programming was another area of interest, with a focus on online learning programs; and a wider programming scope, including nonfiction programs, more author programs, and craft programs. In terms of children’s programming, there was a strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, arts and craft programs, and more frequent story hours. Concerns about building maintenance were also expressed.
Recommendations of the Long Range Planning Committee
I. Increase Library Responsiveness to the Community
1. Increase hours the library is open to the public
The library now exceeds the state standard in terms of hours open. Survey respondents requested more evening hours, possibly Sunday hours, and that the library remains open Saturdays during the school summer recess. The most natural extension of hours is to remain open until 9 PM on Wednesday nights.
The library will work with the Board of Selectmen to provide funding for longer open hours.
2. Develop collections and programming
Under the guidelines of the Collection Development Policy, continue to offer content in a variety of formats.
The library will put a greater focus on:
arts and craft programs
STEM programming for children
3. Advance technologically
It is critical that the library remain current with new technologies, both for the recreational and informational needs of its patrons and because some information may only be available in newer formats. As technology and digital resources become a greater component of the library program it is critical that the library develop resources accordingly.
To insure appropriate technological development the library will:
Request a library technology budget within the Town appropriation.
Hire staff with an information technology background.
Have staff attend training sessions sponsored by the Minuteman Library Network and the Massachusetts Metro-west Regional System.
Keep abreast of current technology used in public libraries through library literature.
Attend workshops focusing on new technologies.
Purchase digital programs essential for patron use.
Apply for grants to support these efforts.
4. Increase library visibility
The library sponsors approximately 12 event programs annually as well as approximately 150 weekly programs each year, but some survey respondents felt that these programs and other library services weren’t well advertised.
To increase visibility for its collection, services, and programs, the library will:
Put more program signage up inside the library building.
Make sure all programs are displayed at the library’s web site.
Advertise programs on the local cable channel.
Make sure the local paper gets press releases in a timely manner.
Use social media to advertise library services and programs.
Work with the Friends of the Maynard Public Library to increase the library’s visibility.
5. Improve staffing patterns
There are two critical areas in which additional staff is needed to better deliver public library services in Maynard. Over the last 20 years the library has grown from having three computers and a dial up connection to the Minuteman Library Network to having its own server, 16 public computers, and seven staff computers, as well as offering patrons access to several software programs and databases. There has been no staffing increase to manage these computers. Bringing on a part time, on-call staff person to manage and resolve computer issues, and consult with permanent library staff, would position the library to better handle current and future technological needs. In addition, between the programs offered by library staff and the Friends of the Maynard Public Library, the library presents more than 20 programs per month. A ten hour a week program manager is needed to help develop, promote, implement, and staff these functions.
To add staff the library will:
Keep the Board of Selectmen and the Town Administrator apprised of increased library use and needs.
Meet with other Town departments to better inform them of library staffing needs.
Write new job descriptions for additional positions and review those of current staff members.
6. Improve outreach to underserved constituencies: ESOL speakers
Residents for whom English is a second language were identified as a population that is currently underserved by library programming and holdings.
The library can better meet the needs of non-native language patrons by:
Inviting English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes to tour the library.
Recruiting volunteers to organize appropriate programs for ESOL learners.
7. Partner with other Town agencies
To better strengthen the library’s standing in the community, it is advisable to work with other Town agencies whenever feasible.
The library will partner with other agencies by:
Attending monthly meetings of department heads.
Meeting with different departments (Health, School, Recreation, Council on Aging and others) to assess in what ways the library can work with them.
Implementing suggestions from other departments.
Sponsoring meetings of other Town departments at the library.
Seeking funding for these initiatives where it is available.
8. Maintain library facility
The most important library development in recent years has been the construction of the new library facility, allowing patrons more services and more comfort. The building has to be well maintained and, in some cases, improved upon. Areas to be maintained: general building condition and attractiveness and exterior grounds. Areas to be maintained and/or improved include fire alarm systems, HVAC, building security, and others.
The library can ensure its facilities are well maintained by:
Working with Maynard Facilities Manager to proactively address building maintenance projects.
Adding identified projects to Town’s Long-Term Capital Plan to establish a dependable funding process for capital needs.
II. Strengthen the Library’s Financial Status
It is crucial that the library remain financially strong. Across Massachusetts, public libraries receive, on average, between 1.2 and 2.0% of municipal budgets. Maynard currently funds its library at 1.37% a slight reduction from the previous fiscal year and a trend of declining investment by the Town.
The library will proactively work toward a stronger financial position by:
Requesting that annual library budget be increased to 1.5% of general fund budget by FY2021. This would be equal to an increase of $73,000 in today’s budget.
Meeting with the Town Administrator and Board of Selectmen and articulate library budgetary needs.
Ensuring budget submittal includes appropriate increase over the previous fiscal year.
Meeting with the Finance Committee and other administrators as needed to explain budget request.
Keeping aware of grants offered at the federal, state, and local level.
Studying and applying for grants offered by the American Library Association.
Applying for at least one Maynard Cultural Council grant annually.
Requesting funding for library programs from the Friends of the Maynard Public Library as appropriate.
III. Review and Revise Long Range Objectives
This Long Range Plan has been developed to cover library growth over the next 5 years. Progress in meeting goals, as measured by achieving objectives, will be evaluated by the Library Director and Board of Trustees annually after the date of the plan’s implementation. This evaluation may result in the addition, deletion, or revision of these objectives in response to changes and new developments. At the end of the fourth year, the Board of Library Trustees will convene a new long range planning group to update and implement a new five year plan to coincide with the ending of this one.
Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1.) It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2.) Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3.) It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4.) There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5.) It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6.) It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
7.) It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by: American Library Association and Association of American Publishers
Freedom to View Statement
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
A history of the Library Bill of Rights is found in the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual.
Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights
Maynard Public Library Holdings for Fiscal Years 2013 - 2015