By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Grafton – Library Director Beth Gallaway briefed the Board of Selectmen during its meeting May 5 on the town library’s many successes during 2014.
The numbers tell an optimistic story. During the year, books out were up 28 percent to 142,300, while digital items out were up 40 percent. The library entertained 64,377 visitors, up 35 percent, compiled by using an automatic door counter. New for children are “build kits” that can be checked-out. Visitors buying coffee ($1.00) at the library and using the WiFi access accounted for a large part of the visitor upsurge, as the library provides the only WiFi available to many townspeople.
The library now offers six computers to adults and an additional two for children. Participation in theme events, such as Batman’s Birthday Celebration, Star Wars Appreciation Day, Lego Building, picnics, and other such activities were up 66 percent over the previous year. Adult activities such as a knitting club are also offered. There are now 10,755 library card holders, up 27 percent, with 60 percent of card holders being Grafton residents. All this on a fiscal year 2014 library budget of $523,830, just one percent of the annual budget, noted Gallaway.
Gallaway ended her presentation to the selectmen by mentioning that a building program for a new, larger library was something she urged them to consider. The selectmen thanked her for her presentation.
In other business, the selectmen voted unanimously to remove approximately 4.03 acres of land at 79 Old Upton Road from agricultural use. Noting that the price has been stable, the selectmen voted unanimously to sign with WasteZero, Inc, a contract for the pay-as-you-throw bags available to townspeople. Similarly, they voted to sign with the Central Mass Health Alliance, the inter-municipal agreement for an additional three years. James Brawn, Jr., was appointed to the Department of Public Works as a heavy truck driver, and Paul Sharon was appointed to the Economic Development Commission.
The Board noted that state law now requires cities and towns to have pet disaster plans (http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/ready-massachusetts/pets-and-animals-in-emergencies.html) and said that this was something the town had to generate. A discussion item was for the town to have an Elderly Summit, during which selectmen would listen to seniors’ concerns, and Selectmen Dennis Flynn suggested a seniors’ breakfast which the board could host.