|The John Cotton Dana Library Relations Award, CITATION, given for “a well-planned, low-budget Public Relations Program which enlisted wide community involvement for the approval of a bond issue to expand a 90-Year-old-Library facility.” Sponsored by the H. W. Wilson Company & the American Library Association Library Administration & Management Association Public Relations Section.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: Summer Reading Program, The Children’s Department.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Merit Award, Media Presentation: The J. V. Fletcher Library & The Westford Academy Cheerleaders.
|1992 Baker & Taylor Books’ “FOLUSA VALENTINE’S DAY CONTEST.” First Place Winner for “Romantic Rendezvous,” a romantic tale written by Westford patrons.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place, Category OTHER: Murder in the Library.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, PR for Pennies: Murder in the Library.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: Summer Reading Program.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: Coordinated Campaign.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Bookmark. Special Recognition: Darrell Eifert, Head of Circulation.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Summer Reading Program. Special Recognition: Heidi Zeibig, Children’s Librarian; the Staff; the Friends of the J. V. Fletcher Library, Inc. and Volunteers.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Honorable Mention: Library Annual Report. Special Recognition: Ellen D. Rainville, Director; Darrell Eifert, Head of Circulation.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: PR for Pennies. Special Recognition: Suzette Jefferson, Darell Eifert.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: Summer Reading Program. Special Recognition: Heidi Zeibig & the Youth Services Department.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Web Site. Special Recognition: Darrell Eifert, Webmaster.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Third Place: Brochure. Special Recognition: Darrell Eifert; Suzette Jefferson.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Honorable Mention: Library Annual Report. Special Recognition: Ellen Rainville, Director; Darrell Eifert, Graphic Designer.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Web Site.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Fourth Place: Flyer.
|Town of Westford’s “First Annual Winter Solstice Door Competition,” Honorable Mention.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, First Place: Library Annual Report.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Third Place: Summer Reading Program.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Honorable Mention: Flyer.
|Ellen Rainville, Library Director is chosen as Westford’s Unsung Heroine of 2006 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Brochure. Special Recognition: Kira McGann, Young Adult Librarian.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Second Place: Media Presentation. Special Recognition: Kira McGann, Young Adult Librarian & The Young Adult Advisory Board & Cliff McGann.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Honorable Mention: Logo.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their Wizard of OZ themed entry in Westford’s 42nd Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” — for the second year in a row! — for their “It’s a Small World After All” themed entry in the 43rd Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for an unprecedented 3rd YEAR IN A ROW for their “Dream Big…Read” entry in Westford’s 44th Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The library won First Place in the People’s Choice Awards for their “Book” tree entry in the 2013 “Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.” The library also won Second Place in the Business/Town Department Division.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Award, Community Reads Program: “Westford Reads the Civil War” won first prize.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their “Every Hero has a Story” themed entry in the 47th Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The Library won First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “Harry Potter Forbidden Forest” entry in the 2015 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|The library won First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “Dr. Seuss” entry in the 2016 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Hall of Fame Award: to Director Ellen Rainville.
|The Library won First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “Reading is Awesome” Lego entry in the 2017 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their “Readers Rock” themed entry in the 50th Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The library won First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “Star Wars” duo tree entry in the 2018 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their “A Universe of Stories” Star Wars-themed entry in the 51st Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The Library tied for First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “Alice in Wonderland” entry in the 2019 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their “Into the Woods” fairy tale-themed entry in the Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The Library won the “Coveted Roudenbowl” for their “Be a Readosaurus” dinosaur-themed entry in the Annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Westford Kiwanis.
|The Library tied for First Place in the Business/Town Department Division for their “ABC” entry in the 2023 Westford Festival of Trees Celebration.
|The Westford Library originated in this year as a subscription “Social Library,” an institution founded by 25 citizens “willing to promote literature and useful knowledge among ourselves and our families.” The Library was contracted on February 14, 1797. Subscription shares in the Library cost $2.00 each.
|First printed catalogue of 102 titles was produced.
|The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a law allowing Towns to appropriate monies for a public library. (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 78, Section 7.)
|The Proprietors of the Social Library donated their collection of 1300 volumes to the Town, under the following conditions: Said inhabitants shall annually expend in the purchase of books for said Library a sum of money not less than $30.00. Said inhabitants shall furnish and keep in good order a suitable room in the middle of said Westford where said Library shall be kept under the charge of a suitable Librarian. Said inhabitants shall make suitable and proper regulations respecting the preserving, keeping in repair and loaning the books in said library. Whenever said inhabitants shall refuse to make the appropriation before mentioned, said Library shall revert back to said Proprietors or their heirs.
|With no public housing, books were kept in the homes of the librarians during this period: Charles L. Fletcher (1859-1863); Eliza I. Herrick (1863-1869); and Amanda M. Hale (1869-1871).
|With the construction of the Town Hall this year, the Library moved into a public building. The room to the immediate right of the main entrance to the Town Hall was set aside for the Library. Clara M. Wiley (1881-1887) presided over the Library in its years in the Town Hall. The Library had a collection of 3,192 volumes.
|When this “commodious” room in Town Hall became crowded, the Trustees began to suggest the suitability of a larger room or preferably a building, and “hoped that some generous son of Westford might find it in his heart to give such a building.” This was realized when Westford native Jonathan Varnum Fletcher, then residing in Belmont, contributed $14,000 towards a library building; this gift was matched by $5,000 from the Town.
|The new library was dedicated on June 4, 1896, and was named in honor of its benefactor, J. V. Fletcher. At the time of the dedication of this building, Carrie E. Read was the librarian; library holdings had tripled to 9,000 volumes, with a circulation of 14,041 items.
|With the term of Mary P. Bunce, the library literally and metaphorically entered the 20th century. The collection was classified according to the “new” Dewey Decimal System and a card catalog was created.
|The Trustees decided to establish a Children’s Room/Department “in order to encourage the children to make more use of the library and to render it as attractive as possible.”
|Magazines were first allowed to circulate. For many years, books were sent weekly to Forge Village, Graniteville, Parkerville and Brookside. Baskets were left at a store or private home for use by these Town residents.
|Electricity replaced the gaslights.
|May E. Day began her 42-year stay as Westford librarian. She initiated book deposit stations, opened the stack room to adults, and added musical recordings to the collection.
|Alice V. Day became librarian and served in that capacity until 1971. Story Hours began, a Children’s Reading Program took root, and the J. V. Fletcher Library began its affiliation with the Eastern Massachusetts Regional Library System.
|Ms. Marian Winnek, great-granddaughter of J. V. Fletcher, donated funds for a Children’s Room. Existing basement space was converted and renovated for this purpose.
|Extensive renovations were made to the library – main floor rooms were altered, a stack mezzanine was added, the basement was finished and a small addition to the basement area was designed to house an expanded Children’s Department. This renovation was funded by a $27,000.00 LSCA (Library Services and Construction Act), Title II federal construction grant.
|Robert R. Simmons administered the library, expanding library hours to six-day service, and then to seven. The Friends of the J. V. Fletcher Library organized in 1972 and began their annual Used Book Sale. In 1974, the Story Hour Room was redecorated and renamed in honor of the late Judy Proia. The library operated a “Free University” of continuing education and high interest programs.
|Francesca L. Denton’s stay as Director was marked by a grant-funded Bookmobile that was the “M.O.S.T.” – Mobile Outreach Service Team (funded under L. S. C. A. Title I monies). Thanks to a $35,000 C.E.T.A. technical grant, the library began a recataloging and retrospective conversion project preparatory to automating the circulation system and joining a resource-sharing automated network. In 1984, Town Meeting appropriated $12,000 for an initial feasibility study for a modern library addition.
|Ellen Downey Rainville was promoted from Assistant Director to Director.
|Town Meeting approves $169,000 for Working Architectural drawings.
|In June, the library automates its circulation and technical processing departments, as a new member of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC).
|Town Meeting approves land purchase to the rear of the Library and appropriates a $2.28 million bond issue for addition/renovation.
|On April 5, the community participates in a soggy Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new building project. The Library wins the John Cotton Dana Public Relations Award for the slide-tape show “J. V. Fletcher Library…Still Making History.” Additional land is purchased to the rear of the Library lot.
|The Trustees create the Ellen Downey Rainville Continuing Education Fund to award monies to staff members seeking to further their library education and skills.
|Service is suspended from July until mid-October as the dirty and dangerous stages of construction are entered. On October 17, the library reopens to the public.
|The J. V. Fletcher Library is named a grant finalist for a $200,000 Public Library Construction Grant award. The new library is dedicated the evening of May 20, with a Family Open House on May 21. Select areas of the former facility are renamed and rededicated.
|The library staff undergoes reclassification and upgrade; the library divides into specialized divisions to provide quality service to the community.
|Initiation of “Fathertimes”, a monthly bedtime story time quickly became a library favorite. The bookmobile circulated over 10,000 items during its 500 stops. The Library received first prize in Massachusetts for the summer reading program “Along the Moccasin Trail” and the Library and Friends group presented “Murder in the Library,” a cocktail party murder mystery featuring town officials.
|This year saw the introduction of an electronic card catalog as well as a microfilm/microfiche reader, a CD-ROM workstation and multiple library databases. Library Director Ellen Rainville was chosen as one of 32 librarians from three countries to participate in the Library Leadership Institute. The library received a $5,000 collection development grant.
|Another “Murder in the Library” program entertained community members. The Library experienced ice dams and extensive flooding in the Meeting Room and ground floor common areas. Director Rainville was chosen President of the Massachusetts Library Association. The library won the coveted “Roudenbowl.” A $60,000 payment for the Library Improvement Act was received in addition to a $5,000 collection development grant.
|The library reached fourth highest level of circulation in the MVLC, in part due to providing a multitude of programs for young and old, and providing new technologies along with the restoration of full Saturday hours. The growing Westford population continues to challenge interlibrary loan and programming, and increase the potential for additional hours.
|A restored budget allowed circulation to increase 56%. The library parking lot was extended to sixty spaces and the Main Floor carpet was replaced. In anticipation of the building’s 100th anniversary a Centennial Celebration Committee began planning. The library received a $3,000 LSCA grant to survey the historical collection. The Rossi family donated a Young Chang studio upright piano and a quilted wall hanging in memory of K. Evelyn Rossi. “Star-Trik” was the latest adult murder mystery program enjoyed by many.
|Three hundred Victorian garbed guests attended the Library Gala dinner dance on June 1, 1996 and were treated to music, dancing, speeches, an elegant dinner, ice sculptures, mirth and a full moon. The bells of First Parish Church United were rung one hundred times at midnight. Sunday festivities were family oriented and featured a Barbershop Quartet in addition to music provided by the Westford Academy Band. Attendees were treated to cookies, popcorn and lemonade.
|February marked the 200th anniversary of the town’s Social Library and was irreverently celebrated with a Mardi Gras Murder Mystery. The Library received an LSTA Preservation grant to conserve the 1896 Visitors register book, historic photographs and the Lowell Morning Citizen’s June 5, 1896 newspaper coverage of the library dedication. Phase One of technology began with the library converting to hub and router. Director Rainville was elected to Vice-President/President elect of the newly formed Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System.
|A technology plan was created in anticipation of Y2K. Representative Geoff Hall was the recipient of the Library Advocacy Award for his unstinting support of library legislation over the years. A three year cataloging project of reconverting the entire audio-visual collection was completed.
|The library was rewired to offer enhanced database and internet access to the public. A $10,000 grant was received for the preservation of 298 glass plate negatives lent by the Roger Day family. Two copies of each image were created by the Northeast Document Conservation Center with one copy for the Westford Museum and one for the J.V. Fletcher Library.
|Technology advances continued to transform library services. In the fall, a new town-funded Bookmobile came to the library with Maureen Barry continuing at its helm. Working with the Town Clerk and the Westford Museum, the Library was awarded a $6,600 grant from the Massachusetts Document Heritage Program for a collaborative survey of historic materials throughout the town of Westford.
|Space continued to be an overriding concern. Collections were rearranged as interior painting took place. The snowy Apple Blossom parade kicked off the Summer Reading program, which had 1,880 participants. The library received two grants totaling $8,000 from NMRLS. The Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library augmented town funds so we could meet minimal mandated service levels.
|This was a record breaking year for the library with total circulation over 318,000. The Friends of the Library provided funds to be open on Sundays from January through April in addition to providing new signage and shelving for Juvenile, Young Adult and Fine Arts departments.
|After a bilingual survey of over 100 persons, a Chinese language collection was added. The library sponsored Link to Literacy program continued to grow. Thanks to funding of $19,380 from the Community Preservation Act the library’s front Victorian façade was cleaned and restored. Memorial donations honoring Veronica Whitehouse were put towards constructing a silent study space on the mezzanine.
|The library was tied in to the shared municipal sewage treatment plant behind the Abbot School. Library technology was upgraded in anticipation of Merrimack Valley Library Consortium’s move to a new software release in late August. Two failed heat pumps were replaced and the Board of Trustees matched the expenditure by paying for a new energy management system to control the boilers, heat pumps and radiant heat systems.
|Cub Scout Pack 95 donated $1,200 to start a circulating CD-ROM collection. Kathleen Hutchins, Head of Youth Services, secured a $10,000 Mother Goose on the Loose grant. Kristina Leedberg, Head of Reference, was chosen to participate in the Library Leadership Institute.
|Funding was restored for Sunday hours by the Library Friends Advocacy campaign. Grant funds were received to enhance the Large Print collection. A library improvement project began with worn carpets being replaced, a warmer palette of paint applied and public furniture was updated. This took place in the ground floor Meeting Room, lower hallway, Fine Arts area and main floor Reference area. Ellen Rainville and Catherine Carroll attained 35 year anniversaries and Maureen Barry her 25th. The brand and logo for the library created by Extra Mile Design was implemented on all flyers, banners, bookmarks, brochures and rack cards.
The first ever Friends of the Library Annual Appeal resulted in the Children’s Room being repainted, recarpeted, refurnished and decorated under Phase III of the Library improvement project. Community Preservation Act funding allowed restoration of the Elisabeth J. Fisher map of the United States and a Walling map of Middlesex County.
July saw the first meeting of the Westford Job Seekers network. Renovation and refurbishment of the Mary Atwood Lecture Hall was funded by the Friends Annual appeal. Catherine Carroll retired after 37 years of dedicated public service to the town of Westford.
Overdrive launched, providing downloadable ebooks and digital audiobooks to patrons. A drop-in Lego Club was started. MVLC began migration to opensource Evergreen software. The facility received a new heat pump, energy efficient Exit signage, upgraded smoke detectors, a new water heater, a cable drop in the Meeting Room, replacement kitchen and bathroom sinks and countertops and replacement lighting in the Administrative foyer.
Library circulation, museum pass usage and remote database usage continue to soar. Book clubs for grades K-5 were begun and adult book clubs continued to grow in popularity. After 29 years of being “on the road” in Westford, Bookmobile librarian Maureen Barry retired. With her retirement the Library’s bookmobile was retired as well. Recarpeting the Technical Services and Adult stacks area marked the completion of the four-year Library Improvement Project.
A final significant bequest from the estate of 25-year volunteer, Gertrude D. Houghton, will support the J.V. Fletcher Library Foundation and further staff education for years to come. Ellen Rainville is serving this year as President of Merrimack Valley Library Consortium and as the Commonwealth’s counselor to the New England library leadership symposium (NELLS). The library received matching funds for a $20,000 competitive Planning and Design Feasibility grant for FY13. The Trustees and library administration are committed to planning for 21st century library services for Westford residents.
The five-year Library Strategic Plan document was completed by Nancy Rea and will allow the library to pursue a Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Public Library construction grant. FY13 shows the library opening on Monday mornings and being open year round on Saturdays. Homebound services for Westford Seniors and homebound patrons was begun. Director Ellen Rainville was acknowledged for her forty year service to the town of Westford.
The library was one of twenty Massachusetts communities to receive a $50,000 two to one matching grant from the Board of Library Commissioners. The children’s, tween and adult summer reading programs had 2,400 attendees with thousands of attendees at the varied programs.
A 4.5” Orion Starblast circulating telescope was given to the Library by the Aldrich Astronomical Society, Inc., Materion Barr Precision Optics and UPS and quickly sustained a one year long waiting list for circulation. The Friends of the Library supplemented the materials budget with more than $30,000 in funds and continue to provide tremendous support.
Launchpads, print from anywhere, Twitter feed, and Commonwealth Catalog are a just a few of the new and expanded services provided to the Westford public. Trustees and Staff share a tribute to late Trustees and library advocates Jack Wrobel and Richard Bennett. A statue, “Great Expectations,” is a prominent feature of the Browsing Room given by the friends and family of Jack Wrobel in his honor.
The library is currently waitlisted at number fifteen in line for $7,851,944 in grant funds. The library held a Design Open House through the summer of 2016 the library design potential. Library adult programs increased by 75% this year.
Digitization of the Jubb Brothers Civil War letters (thanks to the Boston Public Library) and the Rustic as well as the Westford Eagle 1970-1973 has been completed. The library received a $10,000 Reader’s Advisory grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. On April 29th, the Library hosted a Book Club Tea for members of all Westford Book Clubs.
The first ever after hours Exam Week for Westford Academy students was well attended. Digitization of the Westford Eagle from 1974-1990 is now complete. Community Preservation Commission provided underwriting for the preservation of the historic Greek revival windows in the Mary Atwood Hall. This project will be completed during the FY2020 fiscal year. Our champion Black Oak was pruned and trimmed and underwent a sonar tomography which recommends that the tree be removed.
The Town of Westford is waitlisted for $7,851,944 in grant funds to enlarge the library. It will allow the library to become fully handicapped accessible and meet current fire, safety, ventilation and building codes. The addition will double the space for children’s department, triple the young adult area, double meeting room space and provide improved technology access.
The Summer reading program for June-August 2019 had 2,429 participants of all ages. FY 2020 Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library provided over $20,000 for book and new format funds.
Community Preservation Commission underwrote the preservation of the historic Greek revival windows in the Mary Atwood Room.
The government-ordered shutdown of March 2020 due to Covid allowed the creativity and flexibility of the staff to shine providing a Browsing tent, Radio transmitter (WJVF on your car radio) for programming in addition to zoom programs and in person programming outdoors, as well as curbside contactless pickup of requested materials.
Prior to the library reopening on June 1, 2020, library staff delivered 25,000 curbside pickups to patrons. Our innovative programming and outreach highlighted library service. We continued to provide remote programming for monthly book groups and book clubs. Zoom based programming throughout the Merrimack Valley opened attendance to residents across the Commonwealth.
We received support from the Westford Garden Club and the KDK Foundation to provide library passes and programming. The library received $16,802 from Senator Edward J. Kennedy in special funding to purchase equipment and production technology.
The Champion Black Oak tree which held a place of honor facing the common for over 200 years was tested by sonar tomography and found to be diseased. It was removed on August 19, 2020.
The Town of Westford has moved up on the waitlist for the Massachusetts Public construction library grant to number five in line for $7,851,944 in grant funds.
This year marked the first full year of return to “near normal” service with some Covid offerings becoming permanent. Popular services included Assabet and CANVA software, US Newstream, Grab ‘N go bundles, craft kits, book club bags, Make and take bags, outdoor Friends book sale, all Library book sale and circulating Hotspots.
The Inter-library loan department supports thirty-three neighborhood, library and library/school book clubs. Westford Job seekers held its last meeting and celebrated Dina Kanabar after offering 13 years of free weekly programs attended by 16,387 persons.
The Board of Trustees and staff recognized Director Ellen Rainville on June 5, 2022, the fiftieth anniversary of her date of hire.
Upon state notification of Westford’s provisional grant award Special town meeting voted Oct. 17, 2022 to approve the library project. On November 8, 2022 the project was approved at the local ballot.
Library staff began inventorying, shifting, culling, relocating and organizing collections and holdings in preparation for a move to off-site operations in FY 25 for the duration of construction. The plans for the move will be shared with the public as soon as they are known.
Our circulation statistics returned with “normal” service at FY 2019 levels. Curbside and homebound services are still available.
We implemented a Friends book sale bag day, NY Times and O’Reilly databases were added, continued with circulating Hotspots, hybrid programs with OWL were begun thanks to the Board of Health and outdoor staging was purchased with ARPA funds, thanks to the Select Board.
Youth and Adult programs had robust programs with high levels of attendance. Facility maintenance included air chiller tower repairs and boiler expansion tank leak repair.