Strategic plan guides Shaw Public Library

GREENVILLE — Located downtown on the Lily Bay Road, the Shaw Public Library serves residents of Greenville and surrounding communities and visitors to the Moosehead Lake Region alike. Library staff, volunteers, and the 5-member board of trustees are continually looking at how to best provide resources for those coming through doors through a strategic plan, which Shaw Public Library Trustees President Jolene Staruch discussed with the Greenville Select Board during a Jan. 17 meeting.

“It’s a 5-year plan so you are now in the middle of it,” Staruch said, with the first version of the plan being released in 2021.

“I know when everybody looked at the plan initially it looked huge and it looked like we’d never be able to do all that stuff,” she said. “I’m happy to tell you that everything for 2021 and 2022 has been done.” Staruch said this list mostly included keeping the library functioning, as opposed to grandios projects.

“Libraries are no longer just book lending places, a lot of what libraries are offering is programming,” the trustees president said. She said surveys were sent out to the five zip codes covered by the Shaw Public Library, and library personnel tried to fulfill requests.

The strategic plan has four priorities, each with objectives and underlying tasks. Staruch said the trustees review the document at least once a year and look at tasks with Library Director Kathy Bishop to determine if these are still relevant or should be changed.

Staruch said a 2021 task was looking at online book lending to reduce wait times, such as going with a different vendor. The end result was no but library staff worked with the vendor to let the company know in advance to get more copies of titles for the library book club.

“It didn’t change our budget, it didn’t cost us more,” Staruch said. “So that’s what happens to some the tasks, we look at it and go ‘it’s not relevant to go find another vendor, it’s relevant to figure out how to work with the one that we have.’”

She said during review, completed tasks are marked off and others are moved, such as capital improvement projects rescheduled to the upcoming year due to finances.

“The first priority we have now is programs,” Staruch said. “Programming is not a one-shot easy thing. Two years ago we started with the idea of a craft type of program where people came in and worked on crafts. The first year nobody showed up, the second year one or two people were interested. This year we have a wait list.”

The Shaw Public Library has a sewing program, another through NASA, and the Chewonki Foundation with presenters bringing in owls and other birds. Staruch said the NASA and Chewonki programs cost money, paid for by the trustees fund as well as monies collected from library services such as photocopying and faxing.

The second priority in the strategic plan is building maintenance, with projects such as the roof replacement coming out of the library portion of the municipal budget. Staruch said a door and windows have been replaced, and now “you can sit at the desk in the library and you don’t need your parka.”

In the future the furnace will need to be replaced as will flooring and carpeting.

Priority No. 3 is financial stability. Staruch said Maine libraries are either departments of the town or are freestanding. “We have no desire to be freestanding, we benefit greatly from being part of the town — think of things like payroll and benefits,” Staruch said.

She said the fourth priority is building organization staff and volunteer capacity. The trustees president said volunteer numbers are up as they help weed out old books, go through the shelves to make sure titles are in the proper spots, and provide further patron assistance.

“We’re working to the plan, those goals are being met,” Staruch concluded.

“It’s nice to see the organizational effectiveness that appears to be occurring,” Select Board Chairperson Geno Murray said.

In other business, the board approved a plan for the Fourth of July fireworks to be held on July 3 by Central Maine Pyrotechnics if another company cannot be found for fireworks on Independence Day.

Town Manager Mike Roy said Central Maine Pyrotechnics let him know last month it would be unable to have a display in Greenville on the holiday due to a staffing shortage. He said he does not know of any other companies that could handle a display, but Central Maine Pyrotechnics would like to know one way or the other. Company officials had told Roy they understand if the town opts to go with someone else for July 4.

In his report Roy mentioned several items including saying four requests for proposals for construction and project management of Spruce Street infrastructure improvements have been sent out, with these due back by Jan. 26.

During a special town meeting last month residents approved a land use ordinance amendment for the creation of a proposed multigenerational housing district on Spruce Street. Infrastructure improvements include sewer and water extensions, stormwater collection installation, and construction of a new road and sidewalks onto the property. 

Roy said the FAA has given Greenville permission to offer more parcels at the municipal airport for hangar development, as currently there is a 13-person waiting list of those looking to lease space.

“Public safety building progress has slowed a bit, we still have some items on the punch list to take care of and we have the whole building to be cleaned,” Roy said, saying phone and internet was installed the week before.

Greenville’s new facility will house the town’s fire department, police department, and a community meeting room in the 19,000-square foot building. The old fire station, built in 1963, had poor insulation, no hot water, and just one bathroom. The new structure will provide ample workspace and room for regional training sessions. It was designed to serve the town’s anticipated needs for many years to come. A grand opening celebration is likely to be held sometime in the spring. 

Roy said he has applied for 1,000 eclipse glasses from the American Astronomical Society. “They’re calling this the Solar Eclipse Across America event and they are donating either 500 or 1,000 eclipse glasses to either towns or organizations,” he said.

Around 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, April 8 the moon will be fully in front of the sun for a total solar eclipse, after leading up to the event starting at around 2 o’clock that day. Among the best viewing spaces in the country will be Piscataquis County with thousands of visitors projected to be coming to the region for the event.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.