Greenfield library rated by Library Land

  • Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti of Library Land have rated the Greenfield Public Library, giving it an overall score of 3.36 out of 5 points. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/15/2019 10:59:02 PM

GREENFIELD — On a mission to get to every library in Massachusetts, Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti of Library Land have rated the Greenfield Public Library.

As part of their Library Land Project launched in March, the two have visited and rated more than 230 libraries throughout the country, publishing their reviews and stories online at librarylandproject.com. After being requested to visit the Greenfield library by LibraryYES, the two took a tour and even marched in the Franklin County Fair Parade.

“We started with a meeting and tour of the current library, led by Ellen Boyer, the director, who was joined by representatives of the Friends (of the Greenfield Public Library), the library foundation, and the (board of) trustees,” Peverill-Conti wrote in his story on the library. “All were generous with their time and insights. Ellen and her team understand the limitations of their space and how that impacts the services they offer and the community they serve.”

The two were also informed of the upcoming ballot question on the library that voters will see on Nov. 5, involving whether to build a new library or renovate the current one and bring it up to code.

Zand and Peverill-Conti gave the Greenfield Public Library a 3.36 out of 5 points. Points are given based on parking/transportation, WiFi, meeting/study rooms, condition, completeness, community, friendliness, restrooms, noise level, comfort level, how good a place it is to work and an overall score.

“The teen area has been expanded, but is still small,” Peverill-Conti wrote in the review. “Despite being only a modest change, it has made a difference in the ways teens use the space. There’s much more activity and engagement, which was exactly the intent.”

They looked at each section of the library, from the basement to the top floor, reserved for employees.

“The children’s section is modest, but sweet. There’s no dedicated programming space, but the library still does more than 400 programs annually. Most are held in the basement meeting rooms,” Peverill-Conti wrote. “From a coworking perspective — always important to Adam and me — there really aren’t any areas to comfortably spread out and work.”

Zand and Peverill-Conti also identified accessibility as a problem for the library.

“The need for improvement is most pressing in terms of accessibility,” Peverill-Conti wrote. “There is currently just one accessible entrance — and even that requires patrons to navigate a series of support posts that run right in the middle of the hallway leading to the library’s one small elevator. The restrooms, (locked in the basement and on an incline), present another challenge, as do the narrow spaces between the stacks.”

Greenfield Mayor William Martin issued an executive order in August restricting use of the meeting rooms in the basement of the building.

Martin has since: requested the town work with a design professional, as well as a detailed upgrade report in the event that repairs exceed the $217,080 threshold for Level III Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance; directed central maintenance to hire a professional to perform air quality testing; and directed the Water Department to perform updated tests at the library.

The start of Library Land

Peverill-Conti said when he and Zand started their public relations agency together, they met professionally at the Newton Library and decided to go to different libraries. After visiting enough, they started informally rating the libraries, later deciding to get to every library in the state.

“We’re trying to go to all of the public libraries in the state of Massachusetts,” Peverill-Conti said. “We don’t know how many there are. We’ve got a list from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and I think that list is outdated. ... It’s between 450 to 480 libraries.”

He said the two have had a chance to look at libraries as outsiders and represent the patrons.

As they went to different libraries, Peverill-Conti said he and Zand learned about the varieties of uses of libraries — from tax help, to shelter space, to a creator’s space.

“We saw the programming that was being done, the new uses for library spaces. These are such important parts of the community,” Peverill-Conti said. “Yet, most people still think of them as buildings full of books. We decided we wanted to help tell the story of libraries.”

As their Library Land Project has become more well-known through their visiting of more and more libraries, the two are now getting invited to libraries to review them and give advice.

“Because now librarians realize we’re not jerks, that we support what they’re doing, we’re getting called into libraries,” Peverill-Conti said. “We went to the Brewster Ladies Library last week. They’re getting ready for renovation and they wanted to know, ‘What are you guys seeing? What things are working? What’s interesting?’”

Greenfield’s ratings

The Greenfield Public Library received the following rating for each category, with 5 being the best possible score:

■WiFi: 4

■Work space: 2

■Condition: 2

■Completeness: 4

■Community: 5

■Friendliness: 5

■Restroom: 2

■Noise: 4

■Comfort level: 3

■Good place to work: 3

To read the full review and story, visit bit.ly/2oS5JxZ.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbourdeau@recorder.com.


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