The Library is closed today on Sunday, May 24 and will be closed on Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day
About the Library - Annual Reports - 2002
Annual Reports 2002

The year started off with a bang for the Library, when we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Theodore D. Mann Building in September. The festivities included a day of family entertainment and tributes followed by a month of special concerts and programs in October. The Newton Tab called the Library "a treasure" in its editorial of October 3, 2001, and commented that the Main Library was more active than any other library building in the state. Who would have believed that our circulation of materials would increase from 1,600,000 in FY01 to over 1,825,000 in FY02. Who would have believed that we would have the largest increase in lending in our history, an increase of 15% and over 240,000 loans; that attendance at programs would increase by over 2,000; and that the English as a Second Language tutoring program would double in size. It was truly a banner year for the Newton Free Library, as we served more customers in more and better ways than ever before.
The Library was honored several times over the past year. In August the International Federation of Library Associations met in Boston, the first time the organization had met in the United States in many years, and Newton was one of a handful of public libraries chosen to host tours of librarians from around the world. A busload of librarians from many different countries enjoyed a tour of the building and a lovely reception hosted by the Library Trustees. The Library was also chosen as one of 8 public libraries from across the country to host a program sponsored by Woman’s Day magazine and the American Library Association on how to get published. Finally, the Virtual Career Center was singled out by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners as an exemplary project from among the business and career grants it awarded in 2001.

Several exciting improvements provided expanded service to the public. The computers in the Information Technology Training Center were upgraded to provide faster access to the Internet. A new computer with a printer, scanner and CD burner has proven to be very popular with students and other users who can scan photos and other graphics into their research papers, business presentations, and personal correspondence. The Friends of the Library funded the purchase of a pc based language lab for students learning to speak English. Our redesigned web page makes it easier than ever to find out what’s available and what’s happening at the Library.

The Oliver Family of Newton commissioned sculptor Nancy Schon to design a bronze statue of Winnie the Pooh and his hunny pot to keep Eeyore company on the Children’s Patio. Following a successful fundraising campaign spearheaded by the Olivers, the statue was unveiled on Mother’s Day and dedicated in memory of their daughter Sarah. Now, more than ever, children and their families visit and play with the magical characters.

Our calendar of educational and cultural programs was better and more varied than ever. Over 35,500 people from toddlers to senior citizens attended programs that were scheduled nearly every day the Library was open. Highlights for adults included a number of programs to help better understand the events of September 11, author talks by Elizabeth McCracken, Alex Beam, and David Kertzer, celebrations of Chinese New Year, the winter solstice and African American History Month, and a stellar line-up of classical music concerts. We continued to partner with All Newton Music School, the Jane Austen Society and Green Decade Coalition among other organizations for some of our programs.

The Children’s Department offered creative, enjoyable programming to children of all ages. Highlights included the Book Investigator workshop which produced a journal of book reviews that the children wrote, a Literacy Fair which promoted the importance of reading, and weekly story hours and other programs for children ages 1 to 7.

The Library received a Library Services and Technology Act federal grant funded through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to fund a preservation survey of our Newton history materials. We will use the recommendations in the survey to develop a program to better preserve our historical collections, and make them more accessible to library users.

Volunteer hours increased in FY02 to nearly 14,500 hours (7.5 FTEs) contributed by nearly 300 faithful volunteers. They are here every day of the week, quietly working to ensure that the Newton Free Library remains the best in the Commonwealth.

I am forever grateful to the wonderful and exceptional staff; they truly make the Library the success that it is. I also wish to thank Mayor Cohen, the Board of Aldermen and the City administration, department heads and Library Policy and Planning Committee for all of their assistance and support. I am particularly grateful to the Board of Library Trustees and the Friends of the Library. Their philosophical and financial support of the Newton Free Library is unwavering.

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Library patrons’ borrowing power increased with our access to the Virtual Catalog. Users can now search many Massachusetts library catalogs simultaneously and request items online.
Our collections were strengthened in Foreign Languages, Diversity, Parenting and Home Schooling.

A brand new web page was developed for our Legacy for Literacy program with student and tutor applications for literacy and ESL, new acquisitions of materials, description of the Divace language lab and links to related websites.

An ESL training takes place 
at the Library

Circulation of Young Adult books increased greatly and a large collection of books was purchased, based on the Newton middle and high school reading lists.
The Information Technology Training Center remains a popular place with classes in Basic PC Skills, Internet, Search Engines and more – and for patrons using the PCs and Internet night and day.
Assisted hearing devices are now available at the Circulation Desk to amplify programs in Druker Auditorium.
Adult programming highlights included an exhibit by photographer Peter Vanderwarker, a Stem Cell Research panel, a concert by the duo SpiritFiddle and an author appearance by Pulitzer Prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The Library now hosts more writing groups and added a popular Cinema Discussion Group this year.
The Friends contributed more than $55,000 to the Library this year for Children’s Room activities, a special ESL language lab, the Poetry Festival, many books and other materials.
The branches in Auburndale, Waban, Newton Corner and Nonantum held more children’s programs.
Social Services now has a standing order for current best-sellers in large print. The collection was also expanded to include many more current described videos for adults and children.
More than 3700 books were delivered to the homebound and to nursing home and senior housing residents.
Highlights of new Children’s programming included very popular sing-a-longs, the PALS program which introduced families to Library services, an Earth Day concert, an Underground Railway Theatre play about the power of books and reading, an African-American History Month storyteller and the continuing Science Tuesday programs and the Summer Reading Program.

Our popular annual 
Teddy Bear Picnic

The redesigned Children’s webpage is beautiful, easy to navigate and chock full of useful information.
The Development Office raised close to $14,000 through Herb Regal and Judy Austin’s bi-annual barbeque and our first ever Antiques Appraisal Day led by Skinner appraisers. In addition, almost 1,000 people responded to our annual city-wide appeal, bringing in more than $95,000! These funds, which supplement our municipal appropriations, are used for enhancing the collections and keeping our technology up-to-date.
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Income Expenditures
Total Income: $4,609,853 Total Expenditures: $4,600,465
Adult and Children’s Print 1,034,554
Adult and Children's Non-Print 760,917
Loans to Other Libraries 34,344
Total: 1,829,815 (+15% from FY’01)
The Collection
Print Materials: 494,409
Non-Print: 52,034
Added to the Collection in FY02
Print: 39,020
Non-Print: 10,082
Reference Questions Answered 318,890
Head Count (people who walked into Library) 569,269
Program Attendance 35,666
Volunteer Hours 14,500
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