Present:  Peg Bodine, Dave Maher, Tom Skowron,  Ellen Smith, Betty Wuelfing, Dawn Thistle

Absent:  Harbour Fraser Hodder, Scott Norrie

Guest:  Joanne Carey

Meeting convened at 7:05 pm

Minutes of the September Meeting were approved.

Librarian’s Report                                                  


                                                                                    2020                            2021   

September, 2021         All Items circulated from        1637                            1687

                                                this library

                                    NB Items circulated                1766                            1563

                                    Checkouts Overdrive               308                              329

Financial Report:

Account Balances as of:6/30/21FY22: 7/31/218/31/219/30/21
Salary Account  1,668.0970,186.2561,789.2556,269.25
Library Expense Account  4,201.8939,012.3130,260.9024,230.30
State Grant  1,976.49  1,492.29  1,492.29   1,282.26
Gift Account  1,035.25  1,035.25  1,317.34      817.34
Child Book Gift     625.29     625.29     625.29      625.29
Trust Funds (expendable)16,682.9516,682.9516,682.95 16,720.48

September Activities and Programming (Facemasks still required):

I submitted the State Aid Financial Report.  Despite the pandemic, we were able to spend the required amount on materials, which should ensure that we receive State Aid for this fiscal year.

Children’s programming continued with weekly Tuesday storytimes with crafts.  Brianna reports that the numbers of children and caregivers are increasing.  [Community Connections has begun to expand programming this fall, but their activities are still not up to pre-pandemic levels and there are no Read, Build, Play or Parent/Child Playgroup sessions here in North Brookfield.]  Bri has planned a Halloween Teen Trivia Night and a children’s Halloween Party for later this month.  She has also been reaching out to the school librarians and the East Quabbin Land Trust to build partnerships and assist in promoting events.

LEGO Club participation has decreased somewhat with the start of school and the younger Dungeons & Dragons group is no longer meeting here.  The older D&D group did meet in September and seems to like the meeting room (with computer projector and screen) a lot.  The Haston Art Club met on September 13 to make the wool sewing kit, originally scheduled for May 2020, with Louise Meierdierks.  Our next meeting will be on October 18 to make pumpkin still-lifes with Laura Dusty.

The Coloring Club continued to meet on Mondays. The Book Group met with 14 participants, including 4 via zoom to discuss Educated by Tara Westover.  Zoom has continued to be helpful by allowing members to participate who cannot come to the library.

The Friends’ Book Sale has earned well over $1000 at last reckoning.  We received a $250 check from one patron!

Preserving our Memories Grant:

The last two programs funded by the grant, “Find Your Ancestors” with Seema Kenney and “A Private View of the Past” with Amy Hietala, were very interesting and had decent attendance.  I have interviewed 11 people for the grant video and am still making appointments.  I have sent several videos to Josh Allen for editing, though he obviously won’t be able to complete the project until I have sent him all the videos.  I am required to submit a “final” report to the MBLC by October 15, but I am expecting the project to end by June.

Finally, Julie Stepanek (originally scheduled for summer 2020) came back to teach us how to play ukulele.  Nine people–of all ages—attended this NB Cultural Council funded program.

Building Maintenance:

Renaud returned to replace the leaky gasket and the chiller has been behaving since.  I have emailed regarding making an appointment to switch over from cooling to heating.  I have now used all my budget for maintenance and repair.  The Friends have given the library $5000 to pay for the ongoing bills for this fiscal year, but we all agreed that I and Trustees should meet with the Selectmen/Finance Committee to explain the situation and see if any funds are available this year.  I will request an appropriate increase in my FY23 budget request, of course.

Hurricane Ida blasted through with lots of rain that leaked in all the old familiar places.  Dave Maher and I tried to follow the path of the Sunny Reading Room leak in the attic, and it seems like it might be coming from the lintel over the old front door. I contacted Raymond Simoncini (Raymond James Restoration) regarding this and the “bulge” that his team had pointed out during their original assessment. 

I am waiting to hear from him regarding hiring an engineer to give us an estimate of what would be involved in taking care of the “bulge.”

Respectfully submitted,


Old Business: 

  • The Library Building Maintenance Committee (LBMC) will meet at 9:00 am, Saturday, Nov. 20th for the annual walk-through and inspection of the building.
  • Dawn will contact the Fire Dept. about their annual inspection and will suggest Nov. 20 at the same time as the LBMC meeting as a possible date.

New Business:

  • Dawn presented the updated Materials Selection Policy which was approved unanimously by the Board.  (See attachment)
  • Guest Joanne Carey discussed the library’s Materials Selection Policy and explained to the Board that she feels there is a lack of balance reflected in the library’s non-fiction collection.  She feels that there should be more materials representing a conservative viewpoint.  The Board thanked Joanne for her input and Dawn invited her to make suggestions for future library material purchases.

Meeting adjourned:  8:13 pm

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday 3 November 2021 at 7:00 pm

Submitted by:  Ellen Smith, Secretary

Attachment: Materials Selection Policy

It is the function of the Haston Free Public Library to serve all residents of the Town of North Brookfield.  Books, periodicals, and audio-visual materials are provided for information, for general educational advancement and for the enrichment and recreation of borrowers.   For the specialized or out-of-print materials not available here, the library depends on the CW MARS (Central and Western Massachusetts Resource Sharing) and Massachusetts Library System for inter-library loan service and delivery.

Book selection is performed by the Youth Services Librarian for the Children’s Department and Young Adults and by the Library Director for the other areas of the Library.  The Library Director is responsible overall to the Library Trustees for the development of the collection.  Factors which may limit the selection of materials include primarily, the availability of funds, space in the library, and whether or not the cost of an item outweighs its value to the overall community.

Books and other materials are selected according to the following policy:

  • Materials selected must meet high standards of quality in content, expression and format.  These standards are not determined by any one individual, but rather from a consensus of well-known journals and critics (i.e. the Library Journal, Booklist, etc.)
  • Materials of local history shall be purchased.
  • The Library will purchase works written by authors whose views, though they may be widely rejected, have affected the shaping of world events.
  • The Library is responsible for providing materials on controversial issues, and whenever possible, to represent many shades of opinion on these issues.
  • Serious works are not necessarily excluded because of unpleasant language or frankness.   If a work has artistic merit or provides important information, it has a place in our collection.
  • Criteria essential to the selection of non-fiction for both the children’s and the Adult collection include authoritativeness, accuracy, objectivity, timelessness, clarity of presentation and community need.  An attempt is made to limit purchases of specialized research materials for which there might be demand from only one or two members of the community.
  • An up-to-date, balanced and useful collection will be maintained through a continual discarding and replacing process.  Worn but basic titles will be replaced and obsolete or infrequently used material withdrawn.
  • Gifts of books to the library may be accepted if they meet the standards of the Materials Selection policy as outlined above.
  • The Library is opposed to the removal from its shelves at the request of any individual or group, books or materials which have been chosen according to the Library Materials Selection Policy.  Furthermore, the library will oppose coercion on the part of an individual or group seeking to have books or materials added to the shelves contrary to the Materials Selection Policy.
  • Because they represent an ideal which the Library is trying to maintain, the Board of Trustees endorses the “Freedom to Read” statement of the American Library Association, and the “Library Bill of Rights” adopted by the American Library Association.

rev. 10/6/21


Present:  Peg Bodine, Dave Maher,Scott Norrie, Tom Skowron, Ellen Smith, Betty Wuelfing,

Dawn Thistle

Absent:  Harbour Fraser Hodder

Meeting convened at 7:03 pm

Minutes of the July meeting were accepted.

Librarian’s Report:


                                                                                    2020                            2021   

July 31, 2021              All Items circulated                  934                            1651

                                    NB Items circulated                1265                            1583

                                    Checkouts Overdrive              348                               318

August 31, 2021          All Items circulated                1515                            1858

                                    NB Items circulated                1677                            1739

                                    Checkouts Overdrive              354                               351

Financial Report:

Account Balances as of:5/31/216/30/21FY22: 7/31/218/31/21
Salary Account 7,992.12  1,668.0970,186.2561,789.25
Library Expense Account 6,574.30  4,201.8939,012.3130,260.90
State Grant 3,892.68  1,976.49  1,492.29  1,492.29
Gift Account 1,701.74  1,035.25  1,035.251,317.34*
Child Book Gift     625.29     625.29     625.29     625.29
Trust Funds (expendable)16,682.9516,682.9516,682.9516,682.95

*The gift account shows an increase due to the receipt of Cultural Council Grant funds.

July & August Activities and Programming (Facemasks still required):

  • I submitted the ARIS (annual report) data to the MBLC for FY21, and the State Aid (Financial) report is almost complete (due on October 1).
  • With the hiring of Brianna Lamb as Youth Services Librarian, we were able to kick off our Summer Reading program.  Bri planned and presented 7 Tails & Tales storytimes with crafts and 6 Maker Mondays over the course of the summer.  Attendance at each program was pretty low, but 36 kids registered and there were only a few programs with zero attendance.  Summer reading programs funded (at least in part) by the NB Cultural Council, included Henry the Juggler (July 31), Ed the Wizard twisting balloon animals (August 7), and Reptiles Rock (August 17). Combined attendance for these programs was 69. Reptiles Rock, not surprisingly, was the most popular.  Brianna hosted an “End of Summer Reading Party” on August 21 with refreshments and games that she created.  Prizes were awarded to the Summer Reading participants.
  • LEGO Club has been meeting weekly since July1, and we now have two Dungeons & Dragons groups.  An older (late teens, early twenties) group meets once a month and a younger (age 13-18) group meets weekly.  The Haston Art Club met on July 12 to make piñatas with Laura Dusty and on August 9 to make needle-felted owls with Brianna.   The Art Club will meet next on September 13 to make sewing kits with Lou Meierdierks.

The Coloring Club continued to meet on Mondays. The Friends group did not meet, but they came to the library to assist in setting up, managing and packing up the Book Sale on August 28.  Over 100 people came, and we made $750.  The Book Sale continues for the month of September on the lower level of the library. 

The Book Group met as “beta readers” in July with author Jack McClintock to critique his book, Sin Eater, about his years working as a prison psychologist. We all agreed the book was interesting and offered many (mostly) constructive suggestions for improvements. On August 31 we discussed The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich.

Preserving our Memories Grant:

  • I purchased a video camera and lighting equipment for creating videos with North Brookfield residents who describe how they have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.  So far I have completed 4 15-minute interviews (which have turned out quite well!) and have 5 more scheduled.  My hope is to finish with at least 20 videos of a diverse cross-section of the population.  Josh Allen has agreed to help with compiling a “highlights” video. Although this process may take longer, I will need to spend any remaining funds by the end of September.
  • Two more programs paid for from this grant will take place next month:  On September 9, genealogist Seema Kenney will return to talk about Find Your Ancestors, and on September 14, Old Sturbridge Research Librarian Amy Hietala will discuss “A Private View of the Past,” focused on diaries and correspondence from their collections.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned programs, we have also rescheduled Julie Stepanek’s popular “Learn to Play Ukulele” class for September 21–funded by a 2020 NB Cultural Council grant.


Both Brianna and Gabby have moved confidently into their new roles.

Building Maintenance:

Renaud came on August 2 to do a complete assessment of the HVAC.  They identified a problem with a cracked drain pipe likely caused during the winter by insufficient glycol in the system.  We will need to hire Gurney Water Treatment to add glycol when we switch over to heating ($960 in October?).  Later that week there was a drip from a ceiling pump over the non-fiction collection which was repaired on August 9 (no charge). On August 19, the drain pipe was fixed ($630) On August 23 the chiller had stopped running. Renaud came and determined that a bypass valve was malfunctioning, creating a low water flow.  They will be back to replace the actuator.  On August 30 one of the large cold water pipes in the boiler room sprung a leak.  Renaud came and stopped the leak, but will need to replace a gasket (at least).  They’re returning on September 1.  The charges are certainly adding up, but these are repairs that must be made.

Respectfully submitted,


Old Business:  None

New Business:  Discussion of details in the recently distributed “Appointed and Elected Committee Handbook”.  Dawn spoke with Town Clerk and determined that trustees minutes may be posted on the library website since it is linked to the town website.

Adjourned:  7:53 pm

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, Oct. 6th at 7:00 pm

Submitted by:  Ellen Smith, Secretary


LIBRARY TRUSTEES MEETING 7 July 2021 (in person and via Zoom)

Present:  Peg Bodine, David Maher, Scott Norrie,Ellen Smith, Betty Wuelfing, Dawn Thistle

The meeting convened at 7:07 pm

Minutes of the June meeting were accepted.

Librarian’s Report                                                  


                                                                                    2020                            2021   

June 30, 2021              All Items circulated                  934                            1596

                                    NB Items circulated                288                             1467

                                    Checkouts Overdrive              224                               276

Financial Report:

Account Balances as of:3/31/214/30/215/31/216/30/21
Salary Account18,041.0211,918.72 7,992.12  1,668.09
Library Expense Account10,616.01  7,915.92 6,574.30  4,201.89
State Grant  2,872,75  6,189.51 3,892.68  1,976.49
Gift Account  1,926.37  1,701.74 1,701.74  1,035.25
Child Book Gift     625.29     625.29     625.29     625.29
Trust Funds (expendable)16,682.9516,682.9516,682.9516,682.95

June Activities and Programming:

June felt closer to normal than we’ve been in a long time. On June 1 & 8 we held the virtual Writing Your Autobiography with Seema Kenney with three attendees.  This was part of the Preserving our Memories grant project funded through the MBLC.  Also on June 8 was Let’s Draw Animals with Rick Stromoski.  This was also virtual and had 4 attendees.  It was REALLY fun, and I would love to have Rick back in person.  On June 19 we held our first real face-to-face program with LEGO Master Builder, Dan Steininger.  The meeting room was packed 26 kids and their families (all in masks, of course!).  The powerpoint presentation started slowly, but once the LEGOs were dumped out and the competitions began, everyone had a total blast.  It was a great way to start our in-person programming back up, plus kids want us to get the LEGO Club going again.

The ever-faithful Coloring Club continued to meet on Mondays, the Friends held their summer get together in the library (it was supposed to be at Helen Foyle’s, but she had skunk issues!), and the Book Group had its year-end meeting/cookout at Bob LaFlamme’s.  Bob has sold his house, so it was sad to know that we will not be meeting there anymore! 

Programs for July will include Henry the Juggler (July17) and Ed the Wizard (July 31) plus a Piñata Party—a piñata-building craft night for the newly-formed Haston Art Club—on July 12.  The Haston Art Club plans to meet on the second Monday of every month.  The LEGO club will meet on Thursdays and, last, but absolutely not least, Summer Reading Tails & Tales begins on July 6. 

Summer Reading will feature the usual reading log, on which kids record all the books they have read.  As long as they have read at least one book, they can select a prize from the prize table.  At the end of the summer there will be even bigger prizes (thank you for your donations, David Maher!)  Summer Reading programming includes Maker Mondays with STEM projects for older elementary kids and Tails & Tales Tuesday Storytimes for the younger kids with a story and a craft.


Rebecca Laughlin decided not to accept our offer of the Youth Services Librarian position.   After a couple of days of panicking, I asked Brianna if she would be interested.  I had asked her earlier in the spring, and she had said no, but now she would like the job.  I am very pleased, as I believe she brings a lot of enthusiasm to her work, and this will be a good way for her to embark on her professional library career.  The other great result is that Gabby Holmes can move directly into Bri’s position. So, we are all set for an easy transition.

Building Maintenance:

Renaud HVAC & Controls is our new HVAC contractor.  They switched our system over to cooling on June 8.  They have moved billing to the start of the new fiscal year, so there will be no issues with paying them with FY21 funds.

All members of the Building Maintenance Committee have agreed to continue to serve, and Dave Maher has also joined the committee.  Reappointment by the Selectmen should happen soon.

Cooking program for children has been proposed by a patron.  The Senior Center kitchen is appropriately equipped.  The logistics need to be worked out since the patron would like to have more than 5-10 children participate.  Dawn feels 5-10 would be the best size group given the size of the space, etc.  Further details will follow.

CWMARS cost have gone down by about $800 because of the elimination of a rather large number of items from our database, including outdated materials and items that have been lost or missing for a long time.

Respectfully submitted,


Old Business:  None

New Business:

  • New COVID 19 guidance from Gov. Baker’s office allows for remote meeting to continue until April 2022.

Adjourned:  7:38 pm

Submitted by:  Ellen Smith, Secretary

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday September 1, 2021 at 7:00 pm (No meeting in August)