Short Takes from the Bedford Free Public Library ~ January, 2020

Just as your own home needs maintenance and repair, so too does the Bedford Free Public Library.  At the upcoming March Town Meeting, one article of interest will be a bond authorization of $2.5 million to replace and upgrade the Library’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

As Library Director Richard Callaghan mentioned at the January 14 meeting of the Trustees, the cooling system experienced significant down-time last summer, mainly because of the difficulty in getting parts for the 20-year-old system.  If voters approve, the work would probably begin sometime in the fall. Callaghan hopes the work can be done with minimal disruption of normal library routine. If voters approve, the upgrade would likely begin sometime in the fall. A new system would also bring with it improved energy efficiency.

Another Library item on the TM warrant is a proposed $25,000 expenditure to replace the vestibule doors on the driveway entrance to the building.  As they operate now, the heavy doors-which have a switch for handicap operation-admit blasts of frigid air in winter and hot drafts in summer. New doors would bring improvement, both for the comfort of Library employees and for patrons going in and out.

The 2020/2021 budget, which Callaghan will discuss with the Finance Committee this week, comes in at $1, 334,404.

Did You Forget to Renew?

Technology to the rescue.  The Library now offers automatic renewal of your books, with a few exceptions.  Interestingly, the automatic renewal policy ties into the question of fines, which many libraries have eliminated.  Fewer “delinquent” patrons equals a drop in the dollar amount of fines collected.

A long-standing policy requires that the first $17,000 in Library fines collected goes directly to the Town; anything above that returns to the Library.  With email reminders and now automatic renewal, the staff anticipates even fewer fines coming in.

Coming Up This Winter ~ Familiar Favorites and New Programs

  • Chinese New Year, the year of the rat, will be celebrated on Saturday, January 25 with arts and crafts in the meeting room.
  • Tax return help for low and medium-income patrons begins on January 31 and runs through April 11. IRS trained volunteers to provide help in conjunction with the tax help provided by the AARP at the COA. You must make an appointment; openings fill quickly.
  • The Census Bureau, which is recruiting census takers in our area, will host an event in February. Watch for the date.
  • And, for all history buffs, mark your calendar for Dr. Daniel Breen’s Winter Lecture Series which begins on Sunday, February 2 at 2 pm and continues through March 15. This year Dr. Breen has come up with a sure-fire theme, guaranteed to capture your interest:  The History of the United States in Six Songs, with the opening “number” being Yankee Doodle! You can only imagine what the irrepressible Dr. Breen will do with this theme.

Community Social Worker Chris Bang at the Library

In other news, community social worker Chris Bang of the Department of Health and Human Services holds office hours at the Library from 12 to 3 pm on Thursdays.  You can find him in one of the glass-walled study rooms near the Reference Desk.

Bang will be happy to meet residents without an appointment, with one proviso: you must be under the age of 60.

Older residents have the services of social worker Danika Castle available to them at the Council on Aging.

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: or 781-325-8606

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