May 2021 Minutes


The meeting convened at 4:30 pm on the lawn in front of the library.

IN ATTENDANCE: Trustees Gloria Parkinson, chairwoman; Wendy Neil, vice chairwoman; E. Russell Grady, Sarah Laganelli, and Karen Nugent; and Library Director Marie Letarte.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Melissa Fournier, the library’s head of adult services, said she was there on behalf of the library staff. She said the possible placement of a second book drop in front of the library would be dangerous and irresponsible. The box, she said, would be difficult to move from the street to the back door, and the narrow driveway presents a safety hazard with vehicles coming and going. Also, she said a disabled person could not be hired because of the physical requirements of the task. Ms. Fournier said the trustees, in the plan to put a drop box out front, were not thinking of staff and patron safety.

Trustees then decided to take a planned discussion on the drop box out of order on the agenda.

Mr. Grady said the entire building is not up to ADA standards, and that Lancaster, Sterling, Boylston, Berlin and West Boylston all have drop boxes in front of their libraries. Ms. Neil pointed out that the drop box was formerly at the top of the front stairs, and that a disabled person could be hired and be exempt from moving a drop box cart or carrying books. She and Ms. Nugent said books could be moved throughout the day in bags, a few at a time.

Ms. Letarte said she spoke to Facilities Director Brian Farragher about placement of a drop box, and he said the only feasible spot is near the driveway. Trustees decided the spot is not safe, and directed Ms. Letarte to speak to Mr. Farragher about installing the drop box near the sidewalk entry.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The April 27, 2021 minutes were approved 5-0 with some amendments, including recording the results of votes and motions from that meeting. The motion to approve the amended minutes was made by Ms. Nugent and seconded by Mr. Grady and passed unanimously.


A. Director’s Report: Facilities—The front and back doors are now open. There is a 60-minute limit for visitors and masks are required through May 29 per the state mandate. We will follow guidelines from the town Board of Health and Selectmen after that. Masks will be required for children 12 and under because they are not yet eligible for Covid vaccines, and for unvaccinated patrons after the mandate is lifted. Signs will be up reminding patrons of those rules.

The Fire Department inspected the library for potential fire hazards. None were found.

The water damage/fire escape were looked at by Mr. Farragher and a contractor but no conclusion was reached as to the source of seeping water into the building. There are differing opinions and it is difficult to diagnose and fix.

Mr. Farragher has arranged to have the chimney repointed and the flashing and vents replaced using leftover funds, before the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

A proposal for security cameras was received, to cost $7,300 for three cameras at the three doors. Installation must include prevailing wage. More quotes were requested but Ms. Letarte has not heard back from them.

Community Room: Mr. Farragher has reached out to contacts for carpeting, built-ins and painting. Estimates are in progress. Since there is no current remedy for water seeping through the west wall, trustees decided to repaint that wall – the accent color wall – yearly.

Programming/Computing/Technology: An online museum pass module was launched, meaning patrons can reserve passes online.

Programming through the summer will be outside as much as possible, and continue online.

RBDigital Products has dropped Acorn TV as of May 15, meaning we lost some offerings (Great Courses, Qello Concerts, Indieflix, ACT/SAT test prep, and Learn It Live) but Great Courses, and Indieflix have been added to Overdrive. We resubscribed to Universal Class. Some services which were not used much can be added back.

Budget: A CHNA9 mini-grant of $1,000 was received for “Let’s Get Moving! Exercise for people who hate exercise.”

Personnel/Meetings/Outreach: Ms. Letarte will collaborate with the Clinton Housing Authority to bring outreach to residents there–starting with a library card signup day. Some programming may be brought there.

Ms. Fournier’s Racial Equity Book Group had its first meeting on May 20.

Juneteenth is now a recognized state holiday and is on the town calendar. The library will not close that day, but employees can take a floating holiday.

B. Review of Library Policies:

A revised policy on Collection Management was approved 5-0. The motion to approve was made by Ms. Nugent and seconded by Ms. Neil. It was last updated in June 2014. Updated forms for patrons to request removal of materials are available.

Ms. Parkinson gave an update on assessment of the old collection in the stacks, which was curtailed during the pandemic due to safety reasons. Assessment will start in June, and is expected to be finished in six months. Temporary employees will be hired for the task in three-month intervals.

A motion (made by Mr. Grady/seconded by Ms. Laganelli) to approve a “boilerplate” policy on basic library use, formulated by the American Library Association, passed unanimously.


Mr. Grady suggested hiring someone to take minutes at trustee meetings, due to ongoing squabbling about who will take minutes. It was suggested that a high school Excel Club member, or honor society member be recruited, or a Senior Tax Rebate Program volunteer. Mr. Grady pointed out that other town boards have paid employees doing minutes.

TRUSTEE ADVOCACY STRATEGY: Ms. Parkinson recommended that trustees watch the May 5, 2021 Selectboard meeting at which selectmen reviewed proposed articles for the June 7 annual town meeting warrant. A Citizen’s Petition calling for reducing the compliment of library trustees from 6 to 5 was discussed. Mr. Grady said he submitted that petition because an even number of trustees can result in tie votes. Ms. Neil and Ms. Nugent said there are hardly ever tie votes. Ms. Nugent said tie votes result in whatever was proposed going down to defeat.

The town meeting warrant will be studied by trustees when it is officially approved.

The meeting adjourned at 6:07 pm. The motion to adjourn was made by Ms. Neil and seconded by Mr. Grady, and passed 5-0.

NEXT MEETING: Scheduled for 4:30 pm June 22, on Zoom because Ms. Nugent will be away.

Minutes submitted by Karen Nugent