Short Takes from the Bedford Library Trustees – January 2024

January 24, 2024

The bees on the Bedford Free Public Library roof may be inactive right now, but the library itself is humming with a range of activities for all ages.

About those bees: Director Richard Callaghan reported to the Trustees at their January meeting that the contract has been renewed with Best Bees for the care and maintenance of the hive on the roof. The Andy Zuckerman fund has sponsored the bee hive for the past few years and a recent donation from Andy’s parents, Phil Zuckerman and Disty Pearson, will enable the hive to thrive for the next three years. The Zuckerman Fund is in memory of Andy, and it also supports books on the environment and travel, which were prime interests of his.

Callaghan introduced Marie Kelley, the Library’s new Administrative Assistant, who began work on Jan. 4.  Kelley, a Burlington resident, has worked at the Concord Public Library and at one time worked with libraries in the Lexington public schools. 

HVAC Update

Director Callaghan received a communication from Facilities Director Ron Scaltreto reporting that bids have been written for upgrading the HVAC system and they are now in the hands of town counsel, awaiting approval. When approved, bids will go out and returns are expected in a couple of months.  Trustees and Library staff said they want a timeline when construction gets underway to monitor progress. The staff understands the need to be flexible if part of the building needs to be closed to accommodate the renovation. 

NEW! Willow’s Crafter’s Corner

Crafters take note: Willow, a Library staff member and resident fiber artist, is available on
Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to give people tips and tricks to help with craft projects. Willow, who is also on the circulation desk several days a week, specializes in crochet, notably the Japanese craft form called amigurumi. People can learn how to make these small stuffed toys or animals under Willow’s guidance.  Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures.  

Breen Lectures Underway

Professor Dan Breen’s annual history series on “Global Pandemics” continues this Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and for three following Sundays in February.

Attend in person or via Zoom at Note – this is an updated link. This link will also be used for future lectures.

Library Director Richard Callahan said it was discovered earlier in the week that some patrons could not access last Sunday’s webinar. For those patrons that missed the first session, the zoom recording is up on the library’s site at

Behind the Scenes

Head of Technical Services Heidi Downing will be working on a cataloging project that will reclassify the Dewey Decimal “200” books to make the distribution of world religions in that section “more equitable.” Religious subjects will be organized by chronology and geography rather than centering on only Christianity.  Downing and her staff will be pulling books from that section so they can be cataloged to the new standard. Other public libraries across the country, notably the Lawrence, KS Public Library and the Springfield MA City Library, are also adopting this alternate arrangement.

Updating the Library Strategic Plan

Every five years the Library reexamines and updates its Strategic Plan and 2024 is the year for this to happen. Callaghan reviewed some of the activities of five years ago. In 2016, the Library hired a facilitator to lead the strategic planning process. She met with the staff, Trustees, and a focus group of residents to gather input for a survey that was distributed to Bedford residents and other library users in the summer of 2016.  Some 5,000 postcards were mailed to each household to notify them about the survey. The Library received 550 survey responses with 96 percent saying they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with the Library’s customer service.

Callahan plans to have these activities completed by October or November in order to submit a final report to the MA Board of Library Commissioners in December. 

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