The Library is closed today on Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day
About the Library - Annual Reports - 2001
Annual Reports 2001
Newton Free Library
Annual Report 
Fiscal Year 2000 - 2001
Report of the Library Director Expanding Your World More, more, more
This is Your Library Making the Connection Making a Difference
Opening Doors for Young Minds Learning through Technology Cultivating the Life of the Mind
FY 2001 Financial Report
Report of the Library Director

Each morning John Lin of the Circulation Department wades through a mountain of books dropped through the outdoor book drops and places them on carts to be discharged, then shelved.

As we get ready to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new Main Library building, it's hard to believe how far the Newton Free Library has come and how much we've grown. Last October, the Newton Free Library was honored to be ranked the second best library in the country in communities with a population of 50,000-100,000. Hennen's American Public Library Ratings index is based on nationally collected data including library expenditures, circulation, collection size, and the number of visits made to the library. Newton scored number two when compared with 447 libraries across the United States.

The Library received several other honors during the year. The Massachusetts Library Association awarded us first place for our FY2000 Annual Report in its Public Relations competition, while our cable television show "At the Library' won first place in the Talk Show category and second place in the Municipal Show category at the Northeast Regional Video Festival.

Circulation of materials increased by 13% in FY01. A superior collection of materials of all kinds spurred our users to borrow more items than ever before (The Theodore D. Mann Building alone lent over 1,500,000 items), while interesting and varied cultural and educational programming attracted over 33,000 attendees. The Library staff also worked hard to help Newton residents effectively use our new electronic resources to find the information they need, whether at the Library or from a personal computer remotely.

Several of our best new resources were funded with a $20,000 Library Services and Technology Act federal grant which allowed staff to develop a Virtual Career Center. The Career Center web site pulls together the very best of the web, helping people explore career options, write resumes and cover letters, and search for the best job opportunities. The grant also funded a variety of programs on job search techniques which have attracted large and enthusiastic audiences, and a Career Resources computer class which shows how to best use the new web site and its powerful resources. There are now 12 public computers in the ITTC, in addition to 30 other public PCs scattered throughout the Main Library and the branches, and they are used nearly every hour the library buildings are open.

Outstanding educational and cultural programs for the year included talks by authors Cynthia Ozick, Father Robert Drinan (taped and shown on C-Span's book talk program), Chet Raymo, and Jane Holtz Kay. We held our first off-site program, a very well attended private gallery talk and tour for library patrons of the Edvard Munch exhibit at Boston College's McMullen Art Museum. Concerts included performances by former BSO violinist Marylou Speaker Churchill, BSO assistant concertmaster Nurit Bar Josef, the Boston Kleztet, and an East Meets West concert by pianist Li Fan and guzheng player Jun Qin. Children's programs included the Summer Reading Program with its "Open Books! Open Frontiers!" theme, several World Cultures programs, and the ever popular Science Tuesday funded by the Friends of the Newton Free Library.

Volunteer hours showed an increase for the 9th straight year, with over 12,500 hours (6.5 FTE) contributed by over 200 faithful volunteers. We wouldn't be the community resource we are without our wonderful corps of volunteers, who come in every day of the week to help us provide the best possible library service to our customers.

I am forever grateful to the wonderful and exceptional staff of the Library, who work unceasingly to make the Newton Free Library the best in the Commonwealth. I also wish to thank Mayor Cohen, the Board of Aldermen, and the city administration and department heads for all of their assistance and support. I am particularly grateful to the Board of Library Trustees and the Friends of the Library, who support the Library's vision and goals both philosophically and financially, and are always there when we need them.

Expanding Your World

Reference librarians Alan Allaire and Brenda Goldman, designers of the Virtual Career Center, standing near the Career Books collection on the second floor.

Whether it’s the virtual world of information available through our online resources and highspeed Internet connection or our strong print and audio/visual collection, the Newton Free Library has the resources to broaden your horizons. 

This year, the Library launched a Virtual Career Center with users logging on daily to research career options and coming in droves to the Career Workshops. Two new personal computers for career research are located in the Information Technology Training Center. Special software on career exploration and company profiles are available through Library subscriptions. (More in the Director’s Report).

In the Reference Department, new acquisitions included the multi-volume, newly updated Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Our membership in library networks connects patrons to a wider realm of information. This year the Minuteman Library Network provided online versions of the Dictionary of Literary Biography and Grove’s Dictionary of Art as well as remote access to NoveList. The MetroWest Regional Library System provided the Gale Student Resource Center and in-Library use of the wide-ranging FirstSearch. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sponsored the 3,000+ e-book collection, NetLibrary.

Patrons who enjoy reading books in their original language welcomed the suggestions listed in our new column on Foreign Language Books in the monthly newsletter.

In response to requests for assistance using the Internet, an Introduction to Search Engines class was added to our many other popular hands-on computer classes.
More, more, more

Circulation skyrocketed this year as our strong, diverse collections made it possible for us to lift most borrowing limits. Figures were especially high for literacy materials, Russian and Chinese print and audio/visual items, children’s and adult paperbacks, music scores and non-fiction videos such as drama, travel, etc. 

The non-fiction collection was strengthened in the areas of art, interior and graphic design, health, religion, business resources, science and career books.

Audio/visual materials continued to be popular. This year we increased purchases of CDs and DVDs and the Children’s Room purchased more DVDs and Russian and Chinese videos. The Library holds more than 46,000 videos, CDs, DVDs, CD-ROMs and books on tape.

This is Your Library... and we want you to know about our services and be able to easily find whatever you’re looking for.

This year the Library website was updated to include directions and online versions of forms and brochures while both the Reference homepage and the Children’s Room homepage were redesigned to make navigation easier. The Online Resources Reference page is now accessible from the City of Newton’s website (

Wall maps of the Library and its collection were mounted near the elevators and staircases. Our new rotating display of recommended fiction on the second floor has proved very popular as have the weekly displays and bibliographies on the A-frame in the lobby. Bibliographies on many topics are also available on the Library’s website.

The Library publicizes events and services in a variety of ways: through media relations, brochures and flyers as well as the monthly newsletter, the website, a virtual slide show in the lobby, and the cable television show "At the Library" which features interviews with librarians as well as authors and others who will be appearing here. This year an entertaining public service announcement promoting the new Virtual Career Center ran on Newton’s cable access station.

Making the Connection

Our Technical Services Department operates steadily behind the scenes, ordering all books and audio/visual materials, receiving and cataloging them, mending books, receiving periodicals and checking on missing issues...

The Library reaches out to all Newton residents with a variety of services and in a variety of ways, aiming to make our services more useful and accessible.

The branches in Waban, Auburndale, Newton Corner and Nonantum connect patrons throughout the city to the Library system. From pre-schoolers to seniors, residents enjoy visiting their neighborhood branch to find something good to read, look up information on the Internet or attend a book discussion group or children's program.

Our English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education programs connect those seeking literacy skills with the larger world of books and other reading matter. This year more than 40 students participated in one-on-one tutoring and nearly 20 people participated in beginner, intermediate and advanced conversation groups.

The Social Services Department assists our visually and hearing impaired patrons, recommending books and books on tape, delivering books to the homebound on a weekly basis, providing a large collection of large print books, talking books, described videos, reading machine, TTY device for the hearing impaired and many magnifiers and amplifiers. An Optelec machine, which enlarges print for those who are visually impaired, may be borrowed for a three-week period as may many of the other materials and devices. For patrons who are hearing impaired, the Library keeps a hand-held amplifier in the shape of a phone receiver at the Reference Desk to make conversations easier with librarians. This year, the Library added a voice reader program to the large print computer in the Reference atrium that reads aloud the text and images, making the Internet and Minuteman Library Network catalog much more accessible.

The Library provides outreach services, this year reaching nearly 600 patrons with booktalks at nursing and retirement homes and the Newton Senior Center. The Reference staff gave Library tours to residents of senior housing and enlightened Simmons College Library Science graduate classes on our Information Technology Training Center program.

Opening Doors for Young Minds


One of the popular Lap-Sit Storytimes held at the branches for our 2-year-old and under patrons.

The Children's librarians opened the doors to new reading and learning experiences, leading storytimes for various ages and recommending books to their young patrons. They also ran a Summer Reading Program with reading incentives, visited the schools, prepared booklists and assisted children with the computers and in finding materials for homework assignments.

Popular programs included Science Tuesdays, groups for writing Poetry and Book Reviews, lap-sit storytimes for children under two years old, the World Cultures series, a Poetry Journal evening, the Teddy Bear Picnic, Skip Gordon's songs and stories of the old West, the annual Puppet Sale and much more. Many of the special events are sponsored by the Friends.

The colorful, easy-to-use Children's Room website leads you to a calendar of our programs as well as book recommendations, games, homework help, book lists for parents and teachers, preschool sites and activities in the Greater Boston area.

Young Adult librarians encouraged teens to read in the YA Summer Reading Program (nearly 200 books were read this year), taught library research skills to an expanding number of high school classes, regularly prepared booklists and updated the easel display in the YA area on the second floor. Their sponsorship of students in the "Letters About Literature" state-wide contest, resulted in top honors for three participants. The YA paperbacks were moved adjacent to the adult paperback area to make room for the growing collection, including 1300 new books purchased just this year!

Learning through Technology

Our website connects you to a Library calendar of events, bibliographies, online resources, a class schedule for the Information Technology Training Center, Children’s and Young Adult Services, information about the Friends, our catalog and much more.

The Online Resources page allows you to access your library account. It also offers connections to useful Internet resources, the Minuteman catalog, Career Center Homepage, encyclopedias, databases on many subjects, magazines and periodicals in our collection, community information and other categories.
Cultivating the Life of the Mind

From concerts by BSO musicians and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors to community events, we've got something for everyone. In addition to those programs mentioned in the Library Director's Report, this year's highlights included:

Concert by Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Sheila Fiekowsky Author appearances by political analyst Robert Kuttner and Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams and The Diagnosis Video showing of Oscar-winning animator Derek Lamb's work
Evening with WGBH-radio host Ron Della Chiesa

Art exhibits by Anthony Apesos with his haunting retelling of an Egyptian myth, prints by Hiroko Lee, "An Artist's Portrait of Ho Chi Minh" by C. David Thomas

Holiday concert by PBS improvisatory pianist Jacqueline Schwab
West African Drumming Concert
Friends' Book & Author Luncheon with Brian McGrory and Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander


10 Literary Discussion and Writing Groups and 1 Camera Club Chinese New Year Celebration of word games, choral concert and displays

Making a Difference The Library embodies ideals that draw donors to contribute and volunteers to serve: equal access to information, nurturing an interest in reading and learning, providing a community center. We thank the Board of Trustees, Policy and Planning Advisory Subcommittee, Board of Visitors Subcommittee, as well as Volunteers, the Friends and our Donors. Their generosity substantially contributes to the quality of our collections, services and programs.

Volunteers make a big difference in the life of the Library and the Newton community, shelving books, cataloging materials, providing research assistance, watering plants, writing computer programs, etc. More than 200 volunteers generously gave of their time this year.

The Friends _ approximately 1200 in membership! _ enthusiastically support the Library financially, with hands-on assistance and as advocates. This year they managed very successful quarterly booksales at Auburndale, ran the Main Library giftcart and bookcart in the lobby, organized volunteers to shelve books, planned the Book & Author Luncheon and much more. Their contributions totaled more than $50,000 including a special "20/20 Vision Gift" of $20,000 for adult DVDs and Children's CD-ROMs. Other funds supported numerous Children's programs, the annual Poetry Festival and staff development training.

Individual and business donors help support a first-rate collection of print and audio/visual materials and technical equipment. Our development office supplements government funds by soliciting tax-deductible contributions through mailings, the Library newsletter and special events. This year's Library Lovers' Evening, sponsored by the Trustees, raised the record amount of nearly $20,000 that was used to purchase new computers and printers as well as a public scanner station. Proceeds from the year-end appeal were used to significantly augment the budget for new materials.

FY 2001 Financial Report

Total Income: $ 4,210,430

Total Expenditures: $ 4,197,240

Grants Received:

State Aid to Libraries..............................................................$82,771

State Aid for Loans to Non-residents..................................... $69,491

LSTA Federal Grant for Career Services............................. $20,000



Adult Print............................................................................... 526,713

Adult Non-Print ...................................................................... 489,815

Children's Print ....................................................................... 435,377

Children's Non-Print ................................................................ 136,357

Total: 1,588,262 (+13% from FY’00)


Reference Questions Answered...........................................................................318,942

Head Count (people who walked into Library).........................................................606,639

Program Attendance................................................................................................33,399

Volunteer Hours......................................................................................................12,675

| Newton Free Library Home | Annual Report for Fiscal Year 1999 - 2000 | Top of page |
2001 Copyright © Newton Free Library.

        Sign Up For: Program or New Book alerts
330 Homer Street, Newton, MA 02459 • (617) 796-1360 • TTY: (617) 552-7154
© 2004-2015 Newton Free Library. All rights reserved. City of Newton