FILED IN: Library News
BY: Seekonk Public Library

When I was young I wasn’t really afraid of the dark. I was more afraid of the snakes my brothers kept in the basement. Well, in this picture book story young Laszlo was afraid of the dark that lived in the basement. Laszlo knew the dark lived in other places like corners and hidden places in his house, but the basement was really scary to him.
Simple, but nice, illustrations depict dark and light as characters, in a way. At one point Laszlo picks up his flashlight and follows the dark downstairs into the basement. What he discovers is that he needn’t be afraid of the dark. This dark turned out to be good.
Snicket has a great way of luring you into his stories and this one is no different. He creates a mood that draws you in and then, you see the light!
Great author, great book, great story!
Hope you enjoy it…Mary Ellen

Recent entries

1. What is a community read?

Since 1998, hundreds of communities across the U.S. have embraced the idea of community reads as a tool for civic unity and discussion through a common literary experience. We thought this would be a wonderful way to celebrate 200 years of Seekonk town history and the wonderful people in our community.

Reading the book is only the beginning! We have planned a month long series of events based on the themes in the novel.

2. Why Empire Falls?

We felt that Empire Falls epitomizes life in a small New England town. As we celebrate our 200th town anniversary, this novel lends itself to discussion about the history of our town and its future. While anyone who enjoys a wonderful story can enjoy Empire Falls, Richard Russo writes for New Englanders in ways that few other authors have. Whether he is giving directions by “what used to be there” or describing the beautiful autumnal qualities that make up our region, there is a true passion for New England life that only a New Englander can understand and appreciate. This quality is what made it the perfect choice for our anniversary event and this first community read.

3. Do I have to read the book to participate in the events?

You do not have to read the novel to participate in these events. If you would like to know the story, but do not have the time to read the novel, we are showing the HBO miniseries of the novel on Saturday, October 13th beginning at 11 am.

4. My question is not answered here.

If you have other questions or comments about this program, feel free to call us at (508) 336-8230 ext. 130. You can also email Melissa at mchiavaroli@seekonkpl.org and she will be happy to answer all inquiries.

We would like to thank The Friends of the Seekonk Public Library for making this program possible with their generous sponsorship of Seekonk Celebrates: Read!

The Board of Library Trustees at Seekonk Public Library has announced the names of the two candidates seeking appointment as Director and is encouraging the public to offer suggested questions to be asked of the candidates, as well as attend the interviews being held on Tuesday, May 1, in the Library’s Meeting Room.

Peter F. Fuller, Interim Director of the Library, and Cyndee Marcoux, Director of the Auburn Public Library, are the two finalists. Mrs. Marcoux will be interviewed beginning at 6 pm and Mr. Fuller is scheduled to be interviewed at 7 pm.

Sharon Connors, a member of the Board of Trustees and Selection Committee Chair, is hopeful that the public will provide some insight as to what they would like to see in a Library Director. “Although we can’t promise that all questions will be used, we will certainly utilize suggestions in formulating our own list of questions to be asked,” Mrs. Connors said. Since only the Board of Library Trustee Members will be posing questions, with no comments or questions from the audience allowed, the Board wants to ensure that the public’s concerns and input are included in the interview process.

Any suggested topics or questions can be e-mailed to seekonklibrarydirector@gmail.com by Friday, April 27. The public may also submit suggested questions to Mary Ellen Siniak, Senior Librarian for Youth Services, a member of the Selection Committee.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend this final interview session to participate in this important step in directing the library’s future.

by Peter Fuller, Interim Director

I wrote in a previous post about the important role the internet plays in providing library service.  Providing internet service is not without its challenges, however.  A public library system in Washington State is being sued because it restricts access to the internet by using filters.  Providing internet access is a complex issue that raises a variety of legal, philosophical, technical and operational issues for public libraries. There have been many court rulings at both the state and federal levels pertaining to the use of internet filters.  It has become a complex area of law, but the federal courts have generally ruled in favor of those seeking freer access the internet.  (See for example the ruling by the Federal District Court in Virginia, Mainstream Loudoun, et al. v. Board of Trustees of the Loudoun County Library, 24 F.Supp.2d 552.) This evolving legal environment has left our public library and those around the country wrestling with internet accessibility issues.  

The Seekonk Public Library employs multiple strategies to prevent illegal or objectionable materials from coming through its computers.  The Library does limited filtering of internet traffic, for example, by using firewalls and other means. Traffic is filtered by type of format, internet address and internet protocols.  The Seekonk Public Library does not use software that filters based on content, however. This is the type of filtering which is the subject of the recent law suit in Washington State.  Seekonk Public Library is not unusual in this regard. The vast majority of public libraries around the nation do not use this type of filtering.  I think this is the case because most citizens believe that when the government imposes preemptive restrictions on our behavior, the results are ultimately more damaging than what it seeks to prevent. 

  The primary reasons that Seekonk Public Library does not use content filters are more practical than ideological, however. First, the best functioning filters are expensive to purchase and maintain.  Second, these filters don’t work well.  Even the very best filtering software is only marginally effective at blocking unwanted content. Third, these filters frequently block legitimate traffic which imposes a burden on the 99.99% of library users who follow our policies.

 Access to the computers at the Seekonk Public Library is also strictly controlled. You must have a library card to logon to the library’s computers.  Library users may use their own devices to connect to the library’s Wi-Fi network, but they are still required to conform to the library’s internet policy.  Thousands of computer sessions are initiated by library users each year.  In the fifteen years that I have been here, people were found to be viewing something inappropriate in only a handful of cases.  Although these few instances were disturbing and upsetting, the library staff immediately intervened to stop the offensive behavior.

In each of these cases, the offender lost their computer privileges at the library. This is because viewing pornography or using the computers for any illegal purpose is explicitly prohibited in the library’s Internet Use & Safety Policy.  A portion of the policy appears below.

All patrons using the Internet must do so in a responsible manner. This includes: 

     *   Accessing resources only for educational, cultural, recreational and informational purposes.

     *  Not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system.

     *  Not displaying text or graphics which may be considered obscene as defined in MGL 272 § 31.

     *  Not using the Internet for unauthorized, illegal or unethical purposes.

     *  Not reproducing copyright protected materials without permission of the owner.

The library’s policies are thorough and legally sound. These policies support specific rules and guidelines for computer and internet use at the library.

The library also has effective and tested enforcement procedures to implement these policies. The library’s public computers are placed so that their use can be easily monitored by the library staff. While perhaps none of us can define pornography, to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, we know it when we see it.  And I assure everyone that our staff has no tolerance for it being viewed at the library. The strategy of the Seekonk Public Library is to rely on vigilance and strict enforcement rather than ineffective and costly software.

The library also employs a variety of techniques to protect children who use the internet. The library restricts internet access on the computers in the Children’s room.  A key tenet of the library’s internet policy is that parents should be responsible for their child’s use of the internet. The policy states that, “Restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is solely the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.” The library empowers parents to enforce their decision by requiring all minors (those under the age of 18) to receive their parent’s permission to use the internet.  It should be noted that this restriction is a controversial practice within the library profession. This rule is indicative of Seekonk Public Library’s determination to err on the side of caution.

As you can see there are no simple answers for dealing with these complex issues.  The library staff and board of trustees take these issues seriously and consider them carefully.  I believe that we have responded reasonably and pragmatically, and in the best interests of all we serve.

Please email your comments and questions to me at pfuller@seekonkpl.org .

by Peter Fuller, Interim Director 

Someone said to me last week, “we no longer need public libraries because we have the Internet”. Unfortunately, I hear that often. If it were true, I would expect that library use would be declining. The exact opposite is true. Use of the Seekonk Public Library is at an all-time high. This has been the trend nationally for the past several years. This comment did, however, lead to the following thoughts about the library and the Internet.

A major reason for this spike in library use is that more people are coming here to use the internet. Many people in Seekonk still do not have access to high speed internet service. Others can’t afford it. The library has become their internet service provider. It is well documented that library use increases in economic bad times. Providing internet service is just another aspect of our historic mission to provide information to all citizens.

The library recently launched a new program on the local public access channel, Cable TV-9. The show titled, Your Public Library, runs throughout the day and is also available at the TV-9 website, http://tv9seekonk.com/vod.php. One of the things that struck me after watching these shows was how frequently we refer people to the library’s website to “learn more about this” or to “sign-up for that”. It really is a gateway to a world of services, and we are adding new things all the time. I encourage you to take a few minutes and explore our website.

You may find it remarkable that so many of your library’s services are available online. You can obtain most of these services from your home or place of work. And it’s not just information about our services or access to databases. You can, for example, download e-books, recorded books and musical recordings. If you haven’t looked at this service recently, go to http://sails.lib.overdrive.com. You can do the same at Amazon of course, but it’s free at your library.

Librarians are trained professionals who can guide you through the internet labyrinth. Librarians add value to all of these services by making your Internet experience more productive and enjoyable. Take us up on it. Seekonk Public Library is ready to assist you- in person, on the telephone, and yes, over the internet.

Please email your questions and comments to me at pfuller@seekonkpl.org.

(This piece was previously posted in the Library’s February 2012 Newsletter.)

Falconer and naturalist Marla Isaac, Director of the New England Reptile and Raptor Exhibits, Inc., of Taunton will bring a yucky array of reptiles for all to see on Monday, September 26, at 6:30 p.m.   We’re sure you’ll love seeing Marla show off her collection that includes a turtle, alligator, snakes, lizards, and other reptiles!  The program is sponsored by The Friends of Seekonk Public Library.  It’s free and open to the public!

As we start the month of July,  let’s remind ourselves of the many ways adults can make a positive difference to children.  Create opportunities for kids during this midsummer month when most children are not in school by doing three things:  1. Commit to do one special thing with a child in July–make some kind of positive difference for that child;  2. Support an organization that focuses on children–there are many to choose from;  3. Communicate with your elected leaders to make children a priority in policy and budget issues they address.  And we’d like to add a fourth opportunity: 4. Read to your children everyday (and making a weekly stop at your local library wouldn’t be a bad opportunity, either, to make them lifelong learners)!

Library Elf makes it easy to keep track of what’s due, overdue or ready for pickup from one or more library accounts.  It’s great for families with multiple library cards or individuals who have cards from different library systems because you can consolidate multiple cards into one Library Elf account.  Through the SAILS subscription, customers of our member libraries have access to all premium features.  You can register NOW at http://sailsinc.org/libraryelf.asp.

You can receive your alerts by Email and/or RSS alerts or by cell phone.  Anyone who wants to reduce oveordues, families with children and lots of books checked out, individuals with several library cards or  anyone who requests a lot of holds can use the Library Elf service. 

It’s another way that Seekonk Library can better serve you!

            Seekonk Library has a special School Vacation Week performance scheduled for children and their families on Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m.

             Magician Matt Roberts has thrilled audiences around the country and on national television for years!  His performance is sponsored by The Friends of Seekonk Public Library.  It is free and open to the public.

             In addition to being a regular cast member on the national TV series Ribert and Robert’s Wonderworld on PBS, where he performs at ‘Magic Matt’, acclaimed magician Matt Roberts has entertained at hundreds of live events, performed on morning news programs and appears regularly as emcee at WBNA All-Star Games. He provides clean comedy, amazing magic and illusions, tons of audience participation and allows for magical photo opportunities for proud parents.

             Don’t miss this fun program…it’ll be a great ending to the day!

 Seekonk Library is pleased to announce that Cindy Melikian will present Cindy’s Magical Book Tour on Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Library’s Meeting Room, in conjunction with the Library’s week-long celebration of National Library Week.

            This is not your typical Magic Show!  Cindy performs a fun magic show based on well-known children’s tales using live rabbits and doves.  Some of the stories may include The Velveteen Rabbit, The Ugly Duckling, Aesop’s Fables and others.  Audience participation with a comedic twist will bring lots of smiles to everyone.

            This program is sponsored by The Friends of Seekonk Public Library and is free and open to the public.

            If patrons have a special physical or communication need that may affect their participation in Seekonk Library services or activities, they should contact the Library staff to discuss accommodations.  Seekonk Library cannot ensure the availability of appropriate accommodations without prior notification of need.

October 2014
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