Lawrence Public Library - Annual Report FY20

LawrencePublicLibrary2020

LAWRENCE

PUBLIC

LIBRARY

ANNUAL REPORT

JULY 2019-JUNE 2020


LAWRENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Top left to right: Mrs. Patricia Burke, Mr. Jay Dowd, Mayor Daniel Rivera, Rev. John Dello Russo, OSA, Mrs. Suzanne Piscitello,

Bottom left to right: Atty. Eileen O’Connor, Mrs. Ana Rodriguez, Mrs. Mary Guerrero, Mrs. Arlene Ross

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We would like to recognize former Trustees, Mrs. Ana Rodriguez whose service ended in FY19 and Rev. John Dello Russo, OSA and Mrs.

Mary Guerrero whose service ended in FY20. Thank you for your service and commitment to the Library. We would like to welcome our

two newest Trustees, Mrs. Glennys Sanchez (Top Right) and Mr. Nelson Butten (Bottom Right) to the Board.


A WORD

FROM OUR CHAIR

Dear Residents and Library Patrons,

It is with great pride that as your Mayor, the Chair of the Lawrence Public Library Board of

Trustees, and fellow resident, I present you with the 2019-2020 Annual Report of the Lawrence

Public Library. This has been a year of transformation at our Library. We have prioritized efforts to

update the facility, including new elevators and updates to the Children’s Room and Teen Corner.

We have worked to transition our Library from a quiet place of study, to a thriving, robust

community center that brings us together. Our Library is now not only a place to go for reading,

research and studying, but also, a place to connect with your neighbors through activities that join

us together. Now, our Library is open Saturdays and Sundays, allowing for even more programming

and accessibility to the public.

This last year has brought unprecedented nationwide uncertainty as we navigate the COVID-19

global pandemic. Now more than ever, our community is in need of resources and outlets for

support as we navigate the new normal that requires staying home more often than venturing out.

With these new challenges, come new opportunities. I am happy to report that throughout these unprecedented times, our Library

staff, under the leadership of Director Jessica Vilas Novas, is well equipped to weather the demands that come with offering 21st

Century services and online programming amid a global pandemic.

As I reflect on these last six and a half years as Mayor, I often think of the things I am proudest of. Without question, the renaissance

of our Library is, for me, a tremendous point of pride. Lastly, I urge you to communicate with us on how we can we make your Library

better for you. The success of the Lawrence Public Library lies in the voices of our community in our work to make the Lawrence Public

Library better.

Sincerely,

Dan Rivera

Mayor & CEO

Chair, Lawrence Public Library Board of Trustees

MISSION

The freedom to pursue knowledge is a foundation of our democracy. The Lawrence Free Public Library, an essential public institution,

strives to serve as an accessible and responsive information and literary center for all residents of the Lawrence community. Through

its evolving collection of materials and an abiding concern for its customers, the Library exists to preserve the free development and

expression of ideas essential for an informed citizenry.

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WELCOME

FROM OUR DIRECTOR

Jessica V. Vilas Novas

Dear Community,

Yet another year has passed and here we are again, amidst a crisis which has us all

refocusing and realigning ourselves with the needs of those we serve. This past year

had many highlights and our most celebrated moment was the opening of our Main

Library on the weekend. We are thrilled to be able to offer services for extended

hours of operation into the weekend and during times many of our patrons can

access the Library more freely. Our reopening came to a halt shortly afterwards due

to the pandemic we are still making our way through. As with any challenges we

have faced, we continue to serve our community with pride and with the intention

of being responsive to its needs. We recognized the need for activities for the family

while quarantined and partnered with our funder, LITT, on an art kit giveaway to a

couple hundred families. We followed suit by giving away books as well as resource

flyers at all food distribution sites.

There is no telling what is to come in the next year but one thing is certain.

Regardless of the circumstance, the public library here and beyond, remains a vital

institution in the community; ready to serve and adapt to changes and willing to be

flexible to meet patrons’ needs.

We look forward to seeing you again in person. Until then, stay safe, connect with us

online, or meet us at curbside. If you can pick up a great meal at the curb, you can

pick up a great book, too.

Sincerely,

Jessica V. Vilas Novas

Library Director

Lawrence Public Library

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Welcome to your 2nd home — Janelle

MEET OUR STAFF

OUR STAFF IS HERE TO SERVE YOU AND AS A TEAM, WE CAN OFFER SERVICES

IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, ARABIC, PORTUGUESE, AND CHINESE.

Cassandra Abou-Farah

Assistant Director

Charles Allen

Library Assistant

Franklin Arias

Head Custodian

Genesis Vanderhorst-Batista*

Administrative Assistant

“Not all who wonder are lost” — Tolkien (Matthew)

Being a part of the

Library means connecting

with our community and

patrons. Providing what

our community needs and

putting smiles on our

patrons’ faces makes the

service we provide all

worth it. We look forward

to continue seeing you at

the Lawrence Public

Library.

— Cassandra

Janelle Canales Lanzot

Library Assistant

Jackie Delacruz

Children’s Room

Coordinator

Emily Emerson

Library Assistant

We are excited to see our familiar patrons, and to make friends with our new ones! — Marlyssa

*= former staff

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Keep calm and read on. — Nancy

MEET OUR STAFF

I've been lucky to hear many true stories from our patrons in the library. I am looking

forward to seeing every one of them and having more conversations. — Wen

Giselle Encarnacion

Head of Tech

Services

Elvin Fabian

Circulation

Coordinator

Miguelina Feliz

Library Assistant

Matthew Ganias

Library Assistant

Marlyssa Gonzalez

Library Assistant

Nancy Gunther

Cataloguer

Wen He

Library Assistant

Dalitza Liz

Library Assistant

Helen Martinez

Library Assistant

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Grateful and proud to have the opportunity to serve and to be a part of this community

for so many years. Looking forward to many more. — Giselle


Welcome back to our library. We are glad to serve and help you all again. — Noelia

The Children's Room has missed you a great deal. I can't wait to connect with you all. I am

so eager to see you light up our Children's Room with your energy! Stay safe. — Miguelina

Welcome back! I feel very fortunate to be a part of this wonderful library family

and look forward to seeing everyone. — John

I am more than blessed to be part of a space where families can learn, create and talk about

any issues without discrimination, harassment or bias. — Jaqueline

Ricardo Olivo

Custodian

Julissa Perreaux

Administrative

Assistant

Mayra Prats

Library Assistant

Noelia Rosario

Library Assistant

Mariela Sanchez*

Teen Coordinator

Louise Sandberg*

Archivist

Luke Terry

Library Assistant

John Tessier

Library Assistant

Allan Zapata*

Library Assistant

A library is nothing without its patrons. We are very grateful to continue to serve you

and we look forward to seeing you at the library very soon. — Emily

*= former staff

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ONE FOR THE BOOKS

AUGUST 2019

LIBRARY WRITING &

THE ARTS CAMP

The Library hosted its 3rd

annual Writing and the

Arts Camp, sponsored by

Andover Bread Loaf. This

two-week program is

open to middle and high

school youth and features

local guest artists and

organizations.

OCTOBER 2019

FENCE

REMOVAL

The Library’s main

entrance fence was

removed in an effort to

provide a more welcoming

public space to all.

DECEMBER 2019

MURAL UNVEILING

In partnership with

Lawrence-based art and

social justice nonprofit,

Elevated Thought, Inc., the

Library unveiled an over

40-foot mural on the

Haverhill Street façade,

depicting Lawrence’s past,

present, and future.

OCTOBER 2019

YOUTH ADVISORY

COUNCIL

NOVEMBER 2019

CITIZENSHIP CLASSES

AT THE LIBRARY

DECEMBER 2019

GINGERBREAD

HOUSE DECORATING

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A Youth Advisory Council

was formed which met

throughout the school

year to plan programs for

youth by youth, supported

by the Library Initiatives

for Teens and Tweens

grant.

The Lawrence Public

Library, in partnership

with the Adult Learning

Center, launched a

citizenship class at the

Library, supported by an

MBLC Library Services and

Technology Act grant.

The Children’s Room

hosted its 3rd Annual

Gingerbread House

Decorating event. The

event took place in the

auditorium due to the

increase in participation

every year, bringing in

over 100 participants.


2019–2020

JANUARY 2020

WEEKEND REOPENING

AT MAIN LIBRARY

As a result of increased staffing,

the Library’s Main Branch

reopened on the weekends

after over a decade.

MARCH 2020

BUILDING CLOSED

DUE TO PANDEMIC

While the building was closed, the

Library remained open providing

online resources and programming

to the community through

Facebook Live and Zoom.

MAY 2020

VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING:

COMMUNITY ART EVENT

Library staff distributed art kits at all

COVID-19 crisis food distribution sites,

supported by the Library Initiative for

Teens and Tweens grant. Workshops

were provided by Elevated Thought,

Inc. and Essex Art Center through

Facebook Live, making art accessible

to families during the stay home

advisory.

JUNE 2020

LIBRARY BEGINS

REOPENING PROCESS

After over three months at home,

Library staff returned to the building

to begin the reopening process.

Starting with telephone services, the

Library moved on to offer curbside

services, allowing patrons to pick up

items to borrow, and receive copy/

fax/print services from the curb.

FEBRUARY 2020

TEEN CORNER’S ONE

YEAR ANNIVERSARY

The Teen Corner had its start

as a drop-in program in the

auditorium afterschool and

has grown into a furnished

department of its own, staff

with a Teen Coordinator.

APRIL 2020

NEW ELEVATORS

The City invested $384,900

for this capital improvement

project, providing a full

replacement of both Main

Library elevators, complete

with a nice interior finish.

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WEEKEND REOPENING

The Lawrence Public Library reopened its Main Branch on the weekends on Saturday, January 11, 2020 as a result of increased staffing.

This special day was commemorated with a grand weekend opening celebration which kicked off with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and

was followed by many fun activities throughout the building, including a full mini golf course on the second floor.

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PHOTO:

Special guests in attendance were Mayor and Library Board Chair Daniel Rivera, members of the Library Board of Trustees and the

Massachusetts Library Board of Commissioners, Senator Barry Finegold, Chief of Police Roy Vasque, and City Councilor Marc Laplante.


Above: Youth enjoying Library Mini Golf in the stacks.

Below: Youth excited to receive a copy of The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Families engaging with Storyteller Nicolette Heavey from Stories in the Streets.

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MURAL

UNVEILING

In partnership with Lawrence-based art and social justice

nonprofit, Elevated Thought, Inc., the Library unveiled an

over 40-foot mural on the Haverhill Street façade on

December 20, 2019. Art panels depicting Lawrence’s past,

present, and future offer a sight to take in and reflect upon.

This project was the culmination of 18 months of planning

by the organization as well as support from various

community organizations including the Lawrence Heritage

State Park, Lawrence History Center, Groundwork Lawrence,

Lawrence Cultural Council, the City of Lawrence, and its

primary funder, the Essex County Community Foundation

through its Creative County Initiative program. The planning

months included community engagement sessions across

the city engaging many youth voices from the Boys & Girls

Club of Lawrence, the Lawrence YMCA, and Movement City.

A common theme in all conversations was the importance

of youth in the City, acknowledging how young Lawrence is

and how its past, present, and future have been and are

determined by the actions and influence of young people. It

is no surprise that the final art piece centers on a young

child, a Lawrence kid, who at the mural unveiling gleamed at

the giant image of herself.

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Elevated Thought (ET), Inc. Executive

Director, Marquis Victor, shares at the

mic the long and thoughtful process

the organization took in order to fulfill

the desire to have the mural truly be a

community-based project. ET Art

Director, Alex Brien, stands nearby

along with a half dozen of ET’s team,

many of whom participated in the

program as youth just years prior.

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FAVORITE MOMENTS

HALLOWEEN

SCAVENGER HUNT

This past year’s Halloween was like no other. A

rainy day turned into a fun indoor scavenger hunt

for families to enjoy. Our Children’s Room,

decorated and staffed with Library team

members, welcomed close to 100 families. Kids

and their families enjoyed a fun and educational

scavenger hunt of the children’s collection, and

room itself. This program was a staff favorite and

we look forward to hosting it again.

SATURDAY WRITING &

THE ARTS WORKSHOP

Sponsored by Andover Bread Loaf, the Children’s

Room held monthly Saturday writing and art

workshops. Kids were provided a writing prompt,

and given time to write, then share with the group

which proves from time to time again to be an

empowering experience.

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TEEN CORNER’S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

The Teen Corner celebrated its first year with an after

school event welcoming teens with pizza, raffles, and

cake. This new space was carved out of what used to be a

larger reference collection with multiple stacks. After

reorganizing the layout, the Teen Corner was born and

over its first year, developed into a safe space for teens to

come and do homework, socialize with friends, talk to

staff, and participate in programming. A Youth Advisory

Council was formed which met throughout the school

year to plan programs to host discussions for youth by

youth on hot topics.

The Library is grateful for the support it has

received from the Library Initiative for Teens and

Tweens (LITT) which awarded the Library with

$6,586 to purchase furniture, a LED flat screen,

computer software, food for programming, and a

stipend for the Youth Advisory Council

participants.

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FAVORITE MOMENTS

FITNESS SERIES

The Library hosted Raquel “LaDura” Lara,

National Coach from the Yes, You Can

program for a 6-week fitness challenge.

Community members met in the auditorium

on Thursdays and were rewarded with a

Library tote bag after they completed the

challenge. This program was funded in part

by a grant from the National Network of

Libraries of Medicine’s Health Literacy grant.

CITIZENSHIP CLASSES

The Library, in partnership with the Adult Learning Center,

launched citizenship classes, which are held during the

school year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the

Robert Frost Room. This program is supported by the

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC)

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant for

Citizenship and Expanded English Language Services for New

Americans. This two year grant, awarded in the amount of

$15,000, assisted the Library’s efforts to revamp its

citizenship corner and expand existing language offerings.

Students visited the Children’s Room to engage with

bilingual books to practice English, and the computer lab to

access the Pronunciator and ProCitizen databases.

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COLLECTION HIGHLIGHT

The Library has undertaken an ambitious endeavor to revamp its collection. In an effort to improve the collection and

continue to develop it into an inclusive and diverse set of offerings, thousands of library materials in the form of books,

magazines, and DVDs were reviewed with the aim of removing anything that was outdated, worn, or damaged. This

Library standard process is called “weeding” and the Library referenced the best practices outlined in the CREW Manual,

(Revised and Updated by Jeanette Larson, 2012). Items that get removed from the collection go to one of several

destinations. They are either donated to an organization, included in a future book sale, returned to the book distributor

for a credit, or recycled. The Lawrence History Center has partnered with us on this project to help us assess which items,

although worn or outdated for a public library, may go live in their collection.

Additionally, the development of the collection is being taken seriously and a new emphasis has been placed on acquiring

materials that speak to a diverse community. The Library aims to provide updated materials and also to revamp the entire

world languages collection, adding emphasis on Spanish titles to address our largely Spanish speaking community’s needs.

Finally, the Library is working to actively contribute to its shared digital collection found on Overdrive and is also adding to

its collection materials from the Perkins Library for those who are print and visually impaired.

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COVID-19 CRISIS:

BUILDING IS CLOSED BUT THE LIBRARY IS OPEN

Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020 in response to the COVID-19

pandemic. While the Library had to physically close its doors to the community, it continued providing its services

through different outlets. Library cards were offered online through a simplified registration process. Homework

help, story times, health information, and programs like Fuerza Open Mic and Live Art Sessions were offered

through our social media. We continued to catalog new items from home to prepare for the Library's reopening.

Additionally, Library staff made wellness calls to community members as part of the City’s outreach efforts.

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OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

BUDGET

REVENUES

EXPENSES

Reserves:

Trust Funds $168,372

Capital Improvement Project:

Main Library Elevator Replacement $389,400

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OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

STATS

53,044 people visited the Library.

11,351 public computer sessions were recorded.

27,810 books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, and more were borrowed by our patrons.

1,355 Lawrence residents registered for a Library card.

9,353 people attended a program or meeting in one of our meeting rooms. There were

238 bookings of our Trustees Room, 240 of the auditorium, and 200 of the Robert Frost

Room. The Local History Room hosted 74 bookings and our Art Gallery had 6 events.

Library team members worked on 4,356 reference transactions. These are questions

related to locating or accessing various resources or items in our collection.

The Library offered over 50 programs, many of which were recurring programs throughout

the year.

THANK YOU FOR ENGAGING WITH THE LIBRARY!

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THANK YOU

TO ALL OF OUR LIBRARY PARTNERS

Act It Out Drama Club

Andover Bread Loaf

Adult Learning Center

City Departments

Creative Drama Club

Elevated Thought, Inc.

Elliot Services

Essex Art Center

Feria Internacional Del Libro

Greater Lawrence Health Center

Lawrence Public Schools

Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

Operation Able

Perkins Library

Tech 4 Hood

City Nurse, Jacqueline Aguilar, providing a free

blood pressure screening during her weekly

blood pressure drop in at the Library.

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THANK YOU

TO ALL OF OUR FUNDERS

Essex County Community Foundation

Friends of the Lawrence Public Library

Library Initiative for Teens and Tweens

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union

Mrs. Theresa Jowdy

Library team is presented with a check from Merrimack

Valley Credit Union President & CEO, John Howard, as

part of a three-year Library literacy program grant award.

The White Fund

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GET INVOLVED

You too can help the Lawrence Public Library by getting involved! The Library can

always use your help to promote its values to the community and accomplish its goals.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Get more information by visiting our Reference desk located on the 2nd floor of our Main Library. Volunteering

may consist of performing clerical or computer work, assisting with Homework Help, or reading a book during

story time. There is always something to do at the Lawrence Public Library and the time given is promised to be

rewarding and appreciated.

BECOME A FRIEND OF THE LIBRARY

The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library are a nonprofit, volunteer organization consisting of

community members who support our Library. This support makes it possible for the Library to

improve public service programs for adults and children, as well as to provide museum passes.

Membership is open to anyone who wants to help improve and grow our Library.

LAWRENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY

MAIN

51 Lawrence Street

Lawrence, MA 01841

978-620-3600

BRANCH

135 Parker Street

Lawrence, MA 01843

978-620-3650

lawrencefreeLibrary.org

fb.com/lawrencefreeLibrary

@lawrencefreeLibrary

@lawfreeLibrary

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