of the Library Director
Each morning John Lin of the Circulation
Department wades through a mountain of books dropped through the outdoor book drops and
places them on carts to be discharged, then shelved.
As we get ready to celebrate the
10th anniversary of the new Main Library building, it's hard to
believe how far the Newton Free Library has come and how much we've grown. Last October, the Newton Free
Library was honored to be ranked the second best library in the country in communities with a population of
50,000-100,000. Hennen's American Public Library Ratings index is based on nationally collected data including
library expenditures, circulation, collection size, and the number of visits made to the library. Newton scored number
two when compared with 447 libraries across the United States.
The Library received several other honors during the year. The Massachusetts Library
Association awarded us first place for our FY2000 Annual Report in its Public Relations competition, while our
cable television show "At the Library' won first place in the Talk Show category and second place in the
Municipal Show category at the Northeast Regional Video Festival.
Circulation of materials increased by 13% in FY01. A superior collection of materials of all kinds
spurred our users to borrow more items than ever before (The Theodore D. Mann Building alone lent over
1,500,000 items), while interesting and varied cultural and
educational programming attracted over 33,000 attendees. The
Library staff also worked hard to help Newton residents
effectively use our new electronic resources to find the information
they need, whether at the Library or from a personal
Several of our best new resources were funded with
a $20,000 Library Services and Technology Act federal
grant which allowed staff to develop a Virtual Career Center.
The Career Center web site pulls together the very best of
the web, helping people explore career options, write
resumes and cover letters, and search for the best job opportunities.
The grant also funded a variety of programs on job
search techniques which have attracted large and
enthusiastic audiences, and a Career Resources computer class
which shows how to best use the new web site and its
powerful resources. There are now 12 public computers in the ITTC, in addition to 30 other public PCs scattered throughout
the Main Library and the branches, and they are used
nearly every hour the library buildings are open.
Outstanding educational and cultural programs for the year included talks by authors Cynthia
Ozick, Father Robert Drinan (taped and shown on C-Span's book talk program), Chet
Raymo, and Jane Holtz Kay.
We held our first off-site program, a very well attended private gallery talk and tour for library patrons of the
Edvard Munch exhibit at Boston College's McMullen Art Museum. Concerts included performances by former
BSO violinist Marylou Speaker Churchill, BSO assistant concertmaster Nurit Bar Josef, the Boston
an East Meets West concert by pianist Li Fan and guzheng player Jun Qin. Children's programs included
the Summer Reading Program with its "Open Books! Open Frontiers!" theme, several World Cultures programs,
and the ever popular Science Tuesday funded by the Friends of the Newton Free Library.
Volunteer hours showed an increase for the
9th straight year, with over 12,500 hours (6.5
FTE) contributed by over 200 faithful volunteers. We wouldn't be the community resource we are without
our wonderful corps of volunteers, who come in every day of the week to help us provide the best possible
library service to our customers.
I am forever grateful to the wonderful and exceptional staff of the Library, who work unceasingly to
make the Newton Free Library the best in the Commonwealth. I also wish to thank Mayor Cohen, the Board
of Aldermen, and the city administration and department heads for all of their assistance and support. I
am particularly grateful to the Board of Library Trustees and the Friends of the Library, who support the
Library's vision and goals both philosophically and financially, and are
always there when we need them.
Reference librarians Alan Allaire and
Brenda Goldman, designers of the Virtual Career
Center, standing near the Career Books collection on
the second floor.
it’s the virtual world of information available
through our online resources and highspeed Internet
connection or our strong print and audio/visual
collection, the Newton Free Library has the resources to
broaden your horizons.
This year, the Library launched a Virtual Career Center
with users logging on daily to research career options
and coming in droves to the Career Workshops. Two new
personal computers for career research are located in
the Information Technology Training Center. Special
software on career exploration and company profiles are
available through Library subscriptions. (More in the Director’s
In the Reference Department, new acquisitions included
the multi-volume, newly updated Grove’s Dictionary
of Music and Musicians and the online version of the
Oxford English Dictionary.
Our membership in
library networks connects patrons to a wider realm of
information. This year the Minuteman Library Network
provided online versions of the Dictionary of
Literary Biography and Grove’s Dictionary of
Art as well as remote access to NoveList. The
MetroWest Regional Library System provided the Gale
Student Resource Center and in-Library use of the
wide-ranging FirstSearch. The Commonwealth of
Massachusetts sponsored the 3,000+ e-book collection, NetLibrary.
Patrons who enjoy
reading books in their original language welcomed the
suggestions listed in our new column on Foreign Language
Books in the monthly newsletter.
In response to requests for assistance using the
Internet, an Introduction to Search Engines class was
added to our many other popular hands-on computer
skyrocketed this year as our strong, diverse collections
made it possible for us to lift most borrowing limits.
Figures were especially high for literacy materials,
Russian and Chinese print and audio/visual items,
children’s and adult paperbacks, music scores and
non-fiction videos such as drama, travel, etc.
collection was strengthened in the areas of art,
interior and graphic design, health, religion, business
resources, science and career books.
continued to be popular. This year we increased
purchases of CDs and DVDs and the Children’s Room
purchased more DVDs and Russian and Chinese videos. The
Library holds more than 46,000 videos, CDs, DVDs,
CD-ROMs and books on tape.
is Your Library...
we want you to know about our services and be able to
easily find whatever you’re looking for.
This year the Library
website was updated to include directions and online
versions of forms and brochures while both the Reference
homepage and the Children’s Room homepage were
redesigned to make navigation easier. The Online
Resources Reference page is now accessible from the
City of Newton’s website (www.ci.newton.ma.us./library).
Wall maps of the
Library and its collection were mounted near the
elevators and staircases. Our new rotating display of
recommended fiction on the second floor has proved very
popular as have the weekly displays and bibliographies
on the A-frame in the lobby. Bibliographies on many
topics are also available on the Library’s website.
The Library publicizes
events and services in a variety of ways: through media
relations, brochures and flyers as well as the monthly
newsletter, the website, a virtual slide show in the
lobby, and the cable television show "At the
Library" which features interviews with librarians
as well as authors and others who will be appearing
here. This year an entertaining public service
announcement promoting the new Virtual Career Center ran
on Newton’s cable access station.
Our Technical Services Department operates steadily behind the scenes, ordering all books
and audio/visual materials, receiving and
cataloging them, mending books, receiving periodicals
and checking on missing issues...
The Library reaches out to all Newton residents with a variety of services and in
a variety of ways, aiming to make our services more useful and accessible.
The branches in Waban, Auburndale, Newton Corner and Nonantum connect
patrons throughout the city to the Library system.
From pre-schoolers to seniors, residents enjoy
visiting their neighborhood branch to find
something good to read, look up information on the
Internet or attend a book discussion group or
Our English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education programs
connect those seeking literacy skills with the
larger world of books and other reading matter. This year more than 40 students
participated in one-on-one tutoring and nearly 20
people participated in beginner, intermediate and advanced conversation groups.
The Social Services Department assists our visually and hearing impaired
patrons, recommending books and books on tape, delivering books to the homebound on a
weekly basis, providing a large collection of large
print books, talking books, described videos,
reading machine, TTY device for the hearing impaired
and many magnifiers and amplifiers. An Optelec machine, which enlarges print for those who
are visually impaired, may be borrowed for a three-week period as may many of the other
materials and devices. For patrons who are
hearing impaired, the Library keeps a hand-held
amplifier in the shape of a phone receiver at the
Reference Desk to make conversations easier with librarians.
This year, the Library added a voice reader program to the large print computer in
the Reference atrium that reads aloud the text and images, making the Internet and
Minuteman Library Network catalog much more accessible.
The Library provides outreach services, this year reaching nearly
600 patrons with booktalks at nursing and retirement homes and the Newton
Senior Center. The Reference staff gave Library tours to residents of senior housing
and enlightened Simmons College Library Science graduate classes on our
Information Technology Training Center program.
Doors for Young Minds
One of the popular Lap-Sit Storytimes held at the branches
for our 2-year-old and under patrons.
The Children's librarians opened the doors
to new reading and learning experiences, leading storytimes for various ages and recommending
books to their young patrons. They also ran a
Summer Reading Program with reading incentives, visited
the schools, prepared booklists and assisted children
with the computers and in finding materials for
Popular programs included Science
Tuesdays, groups for writing Poetry and Book Reviews,
lap-sit storytimes for children under two years old, the
World Cultures series, a Poetry Journal evening, the
Teddy Bear Picnic, Skip Gordon's songs and stories of
the old West, the annual Puppet Sale and much more.
Many of the special events are sponsored by the Friends.
The colorful, easy-to-use Children's Room website leads you to a calendar of our programs
as well as book recommendations, games,
homework help, book lists for parents and
preschool sites and activities in the Greater Boston
Young Adult librarians
encouraged teens to read in the YA Summer Reading Program (nearly 200 books were read
this year), taught library research skills to an expanding number of high school
classes, regularly prepared booklists and updated
the easel display in the YA area on the second floor. Their sponsorship of students in
the "Letters About Literature" state-wide
contest, resulted in top honors for three participants.
The YA paperbacks were moved adjacent to the adult paperback area to make room for
the growing collection, including 1300 new books purchased just this year!
website connects you to a Library calendar of events,
bibliographies, online resources, a class schedule for
the Information Technology Training Center, Children’s
and Young Adult Services, information about the Friends,
our catalog and much more.
The Online Resources page allows you to access your
library account. It also offers connections to useful
Internet resources, the Minuteman catalog, Career Center
Homepage, encyclopedias, databases on many subjects,
magazines and periodicals in our collection, community
information and other categories.
the Life of the Mind
From concerts by BSO musicians and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors
to community events, we've got something for everyone. In addition
to those programs mentioned in the Library Director's Report, this
year's highlights included:
|Concert by Boston Symphony
Orchestra violinist Sheila Fiekowsky
||Author appearances by
political analyst Robert Kuttner and Alan Lightman, author of
Einstein's Dreams and The Diagnosis
||Video showing of Oscar-winning animator
Derek Lamb's work
WGBH-radio host Ron Della Chiesa
Art exhibits by Anthony Apesos with
his haunting retelling of an Egyptian myth, prints by Hiroko Lee, "An Artist's Portrait of
Ho Chi Minh" by C. David Thomas
|Holiday concert by PBS
improvisatory pianist Jacqueline Schwab
|West African Drumming Concert
Friends' Book & Author Luncheon with
Brian McGrory and Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander
|10 Literary Discussion and Writing
Groups and 1 Camera Club
||Chinese New Year Celebration of word
games, choral concert and displays
||The Library embodies ideals that draw donors
to contribute and volunteers to serve: equal access
to information, nurturing an interest in reading and
learning, providing a community center. We thank the Board
of Trustees, Policy and Planning Advisory
Subcommittee, Board of Visitors Subcommittee, as well as
Volunteers, the Friends and our Donors. Their generosity
substantially contributes to the quality of our collections, services
Volunteers make a big difference in the life
of the Library and the Newton community, shelving books, cataloging materials, providing
research assistance, watering plants, writing computer
programs, etc. More than 200 volunteers generously gave of
their time this year.
The Friends _ approximately 1200 in membership! _ enthusiastically support the
Library financially, with hands-on assistance and as advocates.
This year they managed very successful quarterly booksales at Auburndale, ran the Main Library
giftcart and bookcart in the lobby, organized volunteers to
shelve books, planned the Book & Author Luncheon and
much more. Their contributions totaled more than
$50,000 including a special "20/20 Vision Gift" of $20,000 for
adult DVDs and Children's CD-ROMs. Other funds supported numerous Children's programs, the
annual Poetry Festival and staff development training.
Individual and business donors help support a
first-rate collection of print and audio/visual materials
and technical equipment. Our development office
supplements government funds by soliciting tax-deductible
contributions through mailings, the Library newsletter and
special events. This year's Library Lovers' Evening,
sponsored by the Trustees, raised the record amount of
nearly $20,000 that was used to purchase new computers
and printers as well as a public scanner station.
Proceeds from the year-end appeal were used to significantly
augment the budget for new materials.
2001 Financial Report
Income: $ 4,210,430
Total Expenditures: $ 4,197,240
State Aid to
State Aid for
Grant for Career Services.............................
1,588,262 (+13% from FY’00)
(people who walked into
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