Off the Shelf
August 2017
Volume 2 | Issue 8
In This Issue

Nanci M. Hill,
Library Director

Diane Annunziato,
Assistant Director / Reference

Carole Hamilton,
Office Manager

Ellie Szafran,
Circulation Librarian

Cheryl Salem,
Assistant Circulation Librarian

Penny Berube,
Children's Librarian

Amber Bouchard,
Assistant Children's Librarian

Cathy Bence,
Reference Librarian | Web Site

Catherine Cloutier
Young Adult Librarian

Lydia Gravell
Head of Technical Services

Richard Kasilowski

Colette Marion, Robin Gadue, Laura Sanscartier, Amy Spence, Melissa Ryan, Brian Bisson, Katie Krikoris, YoungOak Lim, Marina Morse, Joyce Servente


Eric Jackson, Chair
Dr. Linda Trouville
Monique Verville
John Dyer
Jim Nolan

DirectorDeskFrom the Desk of the Director

On July 24, 2017, the following question was posted to the Facebook Page, ALA Think Tank.

Anonymous asks:

I work in a small, rural library. Recently we've had a patron asking about books regarding serial killers and looking up the same info on our public computers. He also made extensive notes on this subject as well as on schizophrenia. He left these notes in one of the books he was looking at. He was also seen and heard walking around the library talking to himself.

There were no patron complaints about this man. However, a staff member felt uncomfortable and mentioned it to management. Management then turned the camera pictures of this person over to the police. He was then identified and banned from the library.

My question is this: if he wasn't harming anyone and there were no patron complaints, do you all feel he should be allowed to use the library as he needs?

I was very interested in how the people around me thought that this situation should be handled, so I posed it to the staff. I received four responses. They are as follows:

If he is not a harm to himself or others, I think he should have been able to use the library like everyone else.

It sets a dangerous precedent in the library that anyone who looks suspicious or makes someone else uncomfortable could be banned. And in this tumultuous atmosphere, things can quickly snowball out of control. We also don't know the specifics of the circumstances. Maybe he was a method actor, or a writer researching a character. Management should have followed up with the patron before overstepping their role and going to the police. If he made no direct threats to anyone's safety, there was no immediate need to have him banned. 

Right off the bat I felt like this scenario was a set up. My first thought was, the author led with 'I work in a small rural library' did anyone on staff know the patron? I worked in a high school library and I was never surprised by what a student might ask for when working on a school project or just for general curiosity. Why this person was looking for information on these subject isn't the point, and that's what the librarian who complained was trying to get at.

Patrons come to me for subjects so varied I couldn't possibly keep track of them, nor would I want to. My job is to help them get the information they need. My responsibility to the patron ends there.

I'm not sure if the situation was as simple as it was presented, (things rarely are) but with this limited information I would say, yes they overacted. If patron was not causing a problem for the staff or other patrons and he was minding his own business, then it should have ended there.

As a librarian you are always faced with how close you get to your patrons while maintaining your professional distance. Being friendly, courteous, and helpful is within your job purview; being nosy is not. If a patron volunteers information to me to engage me in their reason for searching, that's different.

The library management committed a great injustice to this patron.  The library is a place where any person can gather information of any kind, and they denied that to a member of their community.  This member of the community hurt no one, was not hurting himself, and committed no crime. 

When people leave notes in books, it is our responsibility to remove and discard them, not to read them and then judge the person who may have left them there.  The staff and management in this case was entirely in the wrong.  If we used the kind of logic these people did, every person who read a thriller or murder mystery would have cause to be banned from their library.

The patron is entitled to read what they want, and act the way that they want to, even if it seems strange to others.  No one has to enjoy it, but that person is allowed to do it.  If I were concerned for an individual's well-being, I would possibly have a conversation with them at the desk while they were checking books out.  Even a "Hey, I love that book!" can often get a usually-quiet patron talking. I would also try and pool information across my staff to see if there were any friends or family in the area who could help. 

Sometimes a person who has a mental illness may not be a threat to a single soul, but need reminding to take their medication every day.  It sounds like if this person was looking up information on schizophrenia, and talked to themselves, they may have been concerned that they were showing early signs of the illness.

My hope is that this situation could be the standard against which other patron issues can be held, and one would say "JUST DON'T DO THIS."

I have to say, that I was very happy with the responses that I received. As people who work in a public library, we follow the ALA (American Library Association)'s
Bill of Rights, which includes (among other things) the following statements:
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  •  A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

I'm very interested in knowing what you think about this situation.  If you have a response, please email me at  

As always, I am available to meet and talk with you.  This is your library and we want to hear what you think! 
StaffMeet the Staff

This month we introduce you to our Young Adult Librarian, Catherine Cloutier.

Catherine is the youngest of four children. Her parents worked in the public school system and always valued education. That's why Catherine loves school and spent so many years getting degrees in Psychology, Education, and an MLS in Library Science. She continues to be a life-long learner and takes courses as they interest her.

Catherine's first exposure to a public library was during her formative years, attending story times. She then frequented the library during the summer months as an older child.  As an adult, she is always engaging in reading and using the Gale databases offered through the library for research.

Catherine has been a Young Adult Librarian for 16 years. She is currently reading Dumplin': Go Big or Go Home by Julie Murphy. Her favorite Young Adult authors are John Green, Robert Cormier, and Chris Crutcher.  Catherine's favorite children's book authors include Marty Kelley and Dr. Seuss.

Outside of the library, you can find Catherine reading, hiking, kayaking, and going to the beach, festivals and craft fairs.

Here in the library, you can find Catherine on the second floor in either the Reference or Young Adult areas on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons and evenings.  Stop by and say hello. She would love to meet you. 
HPWeekThe Year in Numbers

Each August, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners requires us to fill out the annual ARIS (Annual Report Information Survey) for the fiscal year that just ended.

The survey must be filled out and submitted in order for a library to be considered eligible for State Aid to Public Libraries [M.G.L. c.78, s. 19A; 605 CMR 4.01 (7)] in the current fiscal year.  Having just completed this year's ARIS report, I thought that I would share some information with you.

  • 79,430 Books

  • 918 Print Periodicals, Newspapers & other Print Serials
  • 1,550 Books on CD
  • 7,442 DVDs
  • 10,896 e-Books
  • 3,470 Downloadable Audio titles
  • 153 Downloadable Videos
  • 728 Materials in Electronic Format (including CD-ROMs)
  • 215 Miscellaneous items (e.g., e-Book readers, laptops, kits, framed art, prints, puppets, etc.)

That's a total of 110,802 items in our collection as of 6/30//2017.



  • 104,433 Books
  • 4,430 Print Periodicals, Newspapers & other Print Serials
  • 12,474 Books on CD
  • 42,764 DVDs
  • 5,318 e-Books
  • 2,395 Downloadable Audios
  • 39 Downloadable Video
  • 1,628 Materials in Electronic Format (including CD-ROMs)
  • 1,805 Miscellaneous items (e.g., e-Book readers, laptops, kits, framed art, prints, puppets, etc.)

That's a total of 175,197 items circulated in FY2017, as of 6/30/2017.  


Our patrons borrowed 24,394 items from other Massachusetts municipalities.  We lent out 23,980 items to residents of other municipalities.

In addition, we circulated 41,699 items at our library to residents of other Massachusetts municipalities certified for State Aid to Public Libraries.  We circulated 1,359 items to residents of other states.



  • The Library was open a total of 2,993 hours over 52 weeks.
  • The Library was open for 37 Saturdays, accounting for 296 of the 2,993 hours that we were open.
  • The Library was open for 546 hours after 5:00 pm.
  • 124,227 people came through the library doors.
  • 234 children's programs were held, with an attendance of 4,551 children.
  • 45 young adult programs were held, with a total attendance of 361 teens.
  • 131 Adult programs were held, with an attendance of 1,267.
  • 50 volunteers worked for 467 hours.
  • We have 14,413 registered borrowers. 
  • 14,085 of those registered borrowers are Dracut residents.
  • Roughly 471 people use our public computers during a typical week.
  • The Friends of Dracut Library currently hae 67 members.
  • Our meeting room was used 469 times (excluding staff meetings).

June2017FictionAugust 2017- New Fiction Titles

Clicking on any title should bring you into the  
Dracut Library catalog, where you can read  
a summary, check availability and place a hold.

General Historical
Mystery Romance  
Short Stories
 June2017LPAugust 2017 New Large Print

Clicking on any title should bring you into the Dracut Library catalog, where you can read a summary, check availability and place a hold.

Large Print Fiction


Large Print Nonfiction

June2017Audio August 2017 New Audiobooks

Clicking on any title should bring you into the Dracut Library catalog, where you can read a summary, check availability and place a hold.

Books on CD - Fiction
  • Brown, Sandra. Seeing Red [link coming soon]
  • Cook, Robin. Charlatans
  • Gerritsen, Tess. I Know a Secret 
  • Gregory, Philippa. The Last Tudor [link coming soon]

Playaways - Fiction

  • Gardner, Lisa. Right Behind You [link coming soon]
  • Gerritsen, Tess. I Know a Secret
June2017NFAugust 2017 New Nonfiction

Clicking on any title should bring you into the Dracut Library catalog, where you can read a summary, check availability and place a hold.

Autobiography & Biography



Health and Fitness




Political Science





True Crime

ImportantDatesImportant Dates

  • Monthly Meeting of the Board of Library Trustees - Wednesday, September 13th at 4:30 PM in the Director's Office.
    Open Meeting
  • Friends of the Dracut Library - Wednesday, August 30th at 6:30 PM in the Meeting Room.
    All are welcome to attend
  • Labor Day -
    Monday, September 4th. The Library will be CLOSED.
  • Fall Schedule - The Library will resume Saturday hours on Saturday, September 9th.  We will be open Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Late Opening - The Library will be CLOSED the morning of Thursday, September 28th for Professional Development. We will open at 1:00 PM.  We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.