Lawrence Public Library - Annual Report FY21

LawrencePublicLibrary2020

LAWRENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY

ANNUAL REPORT

JULY 2020-JUNE 2021


LAWRENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Top left to right: Atty. Eileen O’Connor, Mr. Jay Dowd, Miss Glennys Sanchez, Mr. Nelson Butten; Bottom left to right: Mrs. Patricial Burke,

Mayor Kendrys Vazquez, and Mrs. Arlene Ross; Top Right: Former Trustee Chair and Mayor, Daniel Rivera; Bottom Right: Trustee

Member, Mrs. Suzanne Piscitello

We would like to recognize former Trustee Chair and Mayor, Daniel Rivera whose service ended in January 2021. Thank you for your

service and commitment to the Library.

1

Front Page: Retirement Tribute for Louise Sandberg, Summer 2020


A WORD

FROM OUR BOARD

Dear Residents and Library Patrons,

Although the Library hung a closed sign on the door for most of the year, operations inside continued unabated. Thanks to an everhopeful

staff, who worked remotely or in person when they could, the Library was ready to reopen on May 2021 when the Governor

issued the all-clear to municipal services.

Regardless of the circumstances around the COVID pandemic in the present, a patron could always get a book. The staff preserved the

most fundamental of all Library services with a curbside pick-up program that made the circulation of books possible for anyone with a

request. Meanwhile, inside both the Main and Branch Libraries, the staff completed the long and complicated update of the

bookshelves, known as “weeding”. They carefully cleared the shelves of outdated and unused materials according to American Library

Association standards. A contract for $100,000 with our supplier means the latest in fiction, non-fiction, politics and poetry will appear

daily. The art of browsing for a book is restored. Participants are welcomed.

To their day-to-day priorities and goals, the staff committed energy to its work preserving the past. As City government modernizes,

decisions on what handwritten ledgers and type written memos needed saving became the problem of our Library assistants and

archivists. The Director forged a working relationship with the Lawrence History Center to assure researchers that Lawrence history be

boxed and shelved and ready to read again. Landing an Archives Arrangement and Description Grant from the State will help with the

personnel and project materials we will need.

And finally, the future was safely entrusted to the Children’s Room staff. From delivering back-to-school craft bags in September to

organizing Mother's Day cookie decorating in May, the creative minds of the librarians in charge clearly made our Lawrence kids their

special cause. Building a love for reading now is what creates successful students in the future. Their summer reading list brought all

of us back to our most memorable vacations.

The Trustees consider our staff as champions who have overcome adversity. They consider it their job. A grateful City has a fine

Library to move into again as soon as they are ready.

Sincerely,

James P. Dowd

Trustee, Lawrence Public Library

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.

2


A REFLECTION

FROM OUR DIRECTOR

For John.

This year was unlike no other. The collective loss we experienced and the trauma

that has affected the lives of so many, is hard to understand. As a Library team, we

aim to provide equitable access to resources and information; goals that became

ever more challenging with the stay home orders that restricted our patrons from

coming to us. It took no time to realize how much of a gap exists in our community

in terms of resource access. The digital divide is real. We have a long way to go.

And yet, we have come a long way. No matter the challenge, our staff showed up

and shifted the way we do things to meet the needs of those we serve. We showed

up to food distributions sites to give out books and art kits; we showed up at phone

banks to help reach the vulnerable, and we showed up online, via zoom and all of

the other platforms available to us. I am proud of our team for coming together

during the hard times and continuing to support one another all year.

This year provided us many examples of good people who are here to serve but

there is one I learned the most from this year, our dear John. The kindest,

friendliest, and most patient member of the team who always did what he could to

help a patron. He left us too soon but with his example, we will continue to show up

and show up strong because that is exactly what he would do.

Sincerely,

Jessica V. Vilas Novas

Library Director

Lawrence Public Library

3


MEET OUR TEAM

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

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

Cassandra Abou-Farah

Assistant Director

Charles Allen

Adult Reference

Librarian

Dalitza Liz

Library Assistant

Elvin Fabian

Circulation

Coordinator

This year brought many challenges;

however, the Library and the

community continued to prevail. There

is a quote that states, “You don’t know

what you had until it is gone.” That was

a true sentiment for this year. During

these tough times, the Library and

community relied on one another to get

through this pandemic whether it was

providing at-home programming or just

connecting with a patron. Let us

continue being there for one another

and remembering to choose kindness

during the good times and the bad.

— Cassandra

Emily Emerson

Library Assistant

Franklin Arias

Head Custodian

Giselle Encarnacion

Head of Technical

Services

4


MEET OUR TEAM (continued)

Helen Martinez

Library Assistant

Jacqueline Delacruz

Children’s

Coordinator

Janelle Canales

Lanzot

Library Assistant

John Tessier

Library Assistant

in loving memory

Julissa Perreaux

Administrative

Assistant

Kristy Martes Morel

Library Assistant

Lindsey Gazlay

Library Assistant

Luke Terry

Library Assistant

5


Marlyssa Gonzalez

Library Assistant

Matthew Ganias

Library Assistant

Mayra Prats

Library Assistant

Miguelina Feliz

Library Assistant

Nancy Gunther

Cataloger

Noelia Rosario

Library Assistant

Ricardo Olivo

Custodian

Sergei Franson

Library Assistant

Wen He

Library Assistant

6


THE LIBRARY IN THE TIME OF COVID

JULY 2020

Curbside service and limited inperson

appointments launched as

staff returned to the Library.

Patrons were able to borrow items

via curbside or come into the

building to use the computer for a

limited time while wearing a mask

and practicing social distancing.

AUGUST 2020

In partnership with Andover

Bread Loaf, the Library hosted its

4th annual Library Writing and

Arts Camp, virtually, engaging

with over a dozen youth over

two weeks filled with creative

writing and sharing.

7

AUGUST 2020

Comic Con, a virtual

conference for comic book

enthusiasts, was hosted in

partnership with Libraries

as a way to engage teens

during the pandemic. This

program was funded by

the Library Initiatives for

Teens and Tweens.

SEPTEMBER 2020

Limited edition Library cards

were designed by local artist

Celeste Cruz to honor the

late Congressman John

Lewis and as a way to

celebrate Library Card

Sign-up Month.

NOVEMBER 2020

The Library’s electrical

switchboard was replaced,

which has minimized the

risk of losing power if any

major natural events were

to occur.


2020-2021

FEBRUARY 2021

This year’s White Fund Speaker

Series received generous

support from The Mentor

Network. The social justice

themed series used a

community led approach as

community members

moderated the conversations.

Featured guests included Angela

Davis, Ibram X. Kendi, and

Patrisse Cullors.

APRIL 2021

The Children’s Department paid tribute

to its annual Jowdy World Knowledge

Challenge with a Spring Break Around

the World craft and activity theme bag

giveaway, as an alternative to the

regular in person program. This

program was funded in part by the

Massachusetts Cultural Council.

FEBRUARY 2021

The Library launched a new service

called Book a Librarian. This service

welcomes patrons to connect with

a Librarian one on one for book

recommendations, to get help

finding information, or to simply

have someone to talk to.

MARCH 2021

The computer lab reopened

as the Library aimed to

restore services almost a year

after the pandemic began.

JUNE 2021

The Library opened the building to the

public with limited restrictions on June

15th following the Governor’s

announcement lifting the emergency

order after over a year.

8


THE WHITE FUND SOCIAL JUSTICE SPEAKER SERIES

This year’s White Fund Speaker Series focused on the theme of social justice and featured prominent

speakers who shared their knowledge, experiences, and celebrity with hundreds who tuned in for

each online event. This series was community led in that the moderators were all Lawrencians who

derived their questions from fellow citizens. Enthusiastic audience response after the program could

be felt in the follow up questions. We expect important conversations inspired by these speakers will

take place across our City.

This program was made possible by the long term support of the White Fund upholding its mission to

present an annual series to “enlighten the mind and elevated the character of the young” and was

funded generously by the MENTOR Network.

9

Angela Davis

Author of Are Prisons Obsolete?

and Women, Race & Class

Hosted on: February 3, 2021

Ibram X. Kendi

Author of How to Be an Antiracist and

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive

History of Racist Ideas in America

Hosted on: March 3, 2021

Patrisse Cullors

Author of When They Call You a Terrorist:

A Black Lives Matter Memoir and An Abolitionist’s

Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing

Yourself and the World

Hosted on: May 20, 2021


Featured is The Poppy Field by Claude Monet, one of 17 paintings owned by the White Fund in Trust for the People of Lawrence.

Established by Daniel Appleton White in 1854, the White Fund has presented to the community an annual speaker series. His will noted that the

series be delivered “...with special design to enlighten the mind and elevate the character of the young.” In 1939, the series welcomed our very

own Robert Frost whose original program brochure is displayed in the Library Local History Room. More recently, the Library has had the honor

of welcoming series speakers including Julia Alvarez, Elizabeth Acevedo, Junot Diaz, Martin Espada, and those featured in this year’s program.

10


FAVORITE MOMENTS

THE JOWDY

CHALLENGE

REIMAGINED

“GRAB & GO BAGS”

The Children’s Department’s new approach to

programming during the pandemic included

providing families with grab and go bags filled

with educational and entertaining materials. They

created a special grab and go bag themed Spring

Break Around the World to honor the annual

Jowdy World Knowledge Challenge which could

not be held for the second year in a row. This

Library tradition that has lived on for over 30 years

was celebrated at home by children and families

and featured six different countries.

11


FOOD

EXPLORERS

The Library partnered with Food Explorers, an

organization with a team of registered dieticians,

to bring a cooking class experience into the

homes of our community members. Patrons

learned how to make pizza, chocolate chickpea

truffles, and chicken quesadillas to name a few of

the meals created. All ingredients were provided

via curbside to patrons who registered for the

program.

12


FAVORITE MOMENTS (CONTINUED)

CITIZENSHIP/

ESOL CLASS

The Library continued its partnership with the

Adult Learning Center providing Library workshops

to its Citizenship/ESOL class via Zoom, resulting in 5

people obtaining their citizenship. With funding

support through the Mass. Board of Library

Commissioners' Citizenship Corners and Expanded

Language Services grant, 10 students received a

resource bag. The resource bag contained supplies

which included notepads, pencils and dictionaries,

Citizenship/ESOL resources from the community

and Library resources that all can benefit from

while enrolled in class and beyond the class.

13


BECOME

HEALTH

LITERATE!

Similarly, our work around health literacy

continued. This year, we held a Spanish language

only nutrition series. Twelve people attended this

series. We are grateful to our partner, UMass

Extension and their nutrition program for

providing the class. We look forward to offering

the series in the future.

14


VISIT OUR

STORYWALK ®

The Lawrence Public Library installed a StoryWalk® in the Campagone

Common and O’Connell South Common in April 2021. The project features

44 reading stations, each showcasing a page of the featured book. The goal

of the StoryWalk® project is to encourage exercise, reading and family

connections through a healthy outdoor activity.

THE BOOKS CURRENTLY FEATURED ARE:

Sofia Valdez, Presidenta tal Vez by Andrea Beaty

and

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Essex County

Community Foundation’s Greater Lawrence Summer Fund.

Thank you to the City of Lawrence’s DPW Department for installing the displays.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of

Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with

The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

15


Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, Children’s Room Coordinator Jacqueline Delacruz, and Library Assistant

Miguelina Feliz, welcomed children from the YMCA to help launch the StoryWalk®.

16


OUR

COLLECTION

A special shout out to former Library team

member Emily Emerson who led our Library’s

weeding project. The pandemic provided the

unique opportunity of having more time and

space to approach a project of this magnitude

in a way that would not disrupt our daily

operations. Through an intense and thorough

thinning process, our entire collection of

books, DVD, magazines, and other Library

materials were evaluated to determine which

items would leave the collection, making room

for new material and to make browsing easy

for our patrons. This process, called

“weeding,” is a standard Library practice done

periodically to ensure that we maintain a

relevant and diverse collection that is up to

date and meets the needs of our community.

17


VISIT OUR LOCAL

HISTORY ROOM

Staff assisted researchers who couldn’t visit to look at

records themselves. The team supported searches of

newspapers, city documents, school records, censuses, vital

records, and family papers to provide researchers with

information about ancestors, family homes, and businesses

from long ago. To keep the local history room in the public

eye, we generated several blog posts, including a tale of the

connection between Lawrence, Massachusetts and

Lawrence, Kansas. There is a remembrance of Robert Frost’s

1961 inaugural poem in light of 2021’s poem by Amanda

Gorman, a deep-dive into the brief history of leather

postcards in light of a recent donation of such a postcard

featuring an embossed picture of the old Lawrence Public

Library building. The Library launched its participation in the

Community Webs program supported by the Internet

Archive. This is an opportunity for the Library to preserve,

organize, and provide access to digitally born records for

future use in researching and understanding the Lawrence

of the early 21st century.

Pictured Left: Read more about Amos Lawrence’s moment of

truth in our Immigrant City Blog which can be found on the

Special Collections page on our website.

18


OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

BUDGET

REVENUES

EXPENSES

Reserves:

Trust Funds $168,952

Capital Improvement Project:

Replacement of the Electrical Switchboard: $249,433

19


OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

STATS

Our Library added to the collection 8,194 books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, and more.

Library Team members completed 4,580 reference transactions. These are questions relating to locating or accessing

various resources or items in our collection.

Our patrons borrowed 147 cultural passes.

There were 1,723 computer reservations.

There were 2,047 curbside appointments.

Our patrons made 79 reservations to use the Trustee Room, Auditorium, and Robert Frost Room for study sessions.

2,406 patrons attended virtual, in person, recorded, or curbside programs.

Our patrons borrowed 14,201 Library items which include DVD, books, audiobooks, and more.

There were 21,247 active Lawrence Library card holders.

The Library offered 50 programs, many of which were recurring and virtual programs throughout the year.

THANK YOU FOR ENGAGING WITH THE LIBRARY!

18 20


THANK YOU

TO ALL OF OUR LIBRARY PARTNERS

Andover Bread Loaf

Adult Learning Center

Lawrence City Departments

Lawrence Arts Collective

Lawrence Public Schools

Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

Perkins Library, School for the Blind

Lawrence History Center

UMass Extension

Ashley Perez, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High

School student, working on an assignment as

an intern at the Library.

21


THANK YOU

TO ALL OF OUR FUNDERS

Essex County Community Foundation

Friends of the Lawrence Public Library

Internet Archive

Lawrence Cultural Council

Lawrence Partnership

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Massachusetts Cultural Council

MassDevelopment

Check presentation from the Lawrence Partnership's LEADS pitch day panelists:

Glynn Lloyd, Executive Director of Foundation for Business Equity and Mill Cities of

Community Investment; Beth Francis, President & CEO of Essex County Community

Foundation; Jonathan G. Isaacson, Chairman and CEO, The Gem Group, Inc.; Lori

Trahan, Congresswoman, Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District.

Presented to the Lawrence Welcome Center project partners: Jessica V. Vilas Novas,

Lawrence Public Library Director; Frank Kenneally, Merrimack Valley YMCA, CEO

Jennifer Mezquita, NECC, Vice President of Student Affairs, Susan Kamacho,

Gemline, VP of Human Resources Maria Gonzalez Moeller, The Community Group,

CEO; Alexandra Nova, Lawrence Partnership, Deputy Director.

The White Fund

The Social Equity Group

The MENTOR Network

22


GET INVOLVED

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

use your help to promote its importance 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 is a non-profit, volunteer organization made up of

community members who support our Library. This 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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