Breaking: Nelson Library to remain open until June 30

Again, bringing something out of comments for better play, because there’s some actual news value in it. Thanks for keeping us informed, Cathy!

I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with the Town Administrator (Interim) and Dana Wilson Chairman of the Grafton Library Trustees (not to be confused with the Nelson Library Trustees)
On behalf of the Friends of Nelson Library a proposal was presented last week to the TA and it was discussed yesterday.  It was decided that Nelson Library can remain open until June 30th – it will be run totally by volunteers – it was also agreed that we could keep the duplicate books to help with out running the Library – There will be a meeting of the Friends of the Nelson Library tomorrow evening in the Meeting room of the Library to work out our schedule and staffing.
I can only hope that we will keep the duplicate books as they might all disappear to the Center Library.
We will also be looking for gently used books not really old books to help stock our shelves.
Anyone having donations can email me at and arrangements will be made to receive your donations.
With the economy the way it has become and the future doesn’t look to bright, it has been noted on the News and in the Newspapers that people will begin to utilize our Libraries more than ever.  Hopefully we will be able to convince those in charge to help us keep the branch open.
I also hope that the South Grafton People will be able to do the same although they do come under the control of the Center Library.
It was not our intent to cause the Town problems but no one was listening to our plite.
It is time that ADA issue has been addressed and hopefully in a positive way.
Thank you all for your responses

Need to clear up one issue – our Trust monies has been invested along with the Towns monies – the town gives the Nelson Library a small budget of 38,000.00 which maintaines the building and the park and playground – our employees work part time so there are no benefits – the janitor works 9 hours a week and our three grounds keepers hours vary in the early spring to late fall they could work as much as 30 – 40 hours a month – however during the winter they sometimes have no hours at all – only damage cleanup weather permitting.

Thank you all and I will keep you posted

Cathy Fenton
Nelson Library Trustee


50 thoughts on “Breaking: Nelson Library to remain open until June 30

  1. No, I believe this building was meant to be used as a library as it was specifically referenced in the will. It is located in a great area – and could be enlarged – whereas the Center Library is an old historical building (beautiful) but how much would it cost to repair it and bring it up to code, and to expand it would be to purchase contaminated land at a hugh cost to the Town – Nelson has 18 acres to work with free.
    The Center is conjested as it is now very little parking. Have no idea how much it will cost the town to bring it up to ADA compliance both inside and outside.
    Sorry – I don’t want to see Nelson Library closed.

  2. I’m trying to figure out what’s going to happen on July 1st. It seems to all boil down to ADA compliance (I’m guessing that threat of lawyers was rather persuassive) rather than any sort of patronage issue or even public sentiment (as indicated, attempts to close Nelson is not new and probably will continue).

    What is the purpose of drawing a new line in the sand?

  3. I suggested that the Building be used by the Historical Society – get them out of the basement of One Grafton Common and build an addition onto Nelson Library – but you can imagine what that caused –
    There is no room for expansion or a new building in the Center – and no $$$$$$$$$$$$$

  4. Not a bad idea. That’s what Bellingham did with its old (haunted) library — gave it to the historical society and built new by the high school.

    Of course, given the economy — think we could swing building a new library by having a good old fashioned community barn raising and cut out the whole bidding process? 😉

  5. Michael – this is not new stand – I hate to see both branches closed – how can they compare patronage when the Center is open 52 hours a week and North and South were only open 12 to 16 hour a week at hours set that were not convenient to the patrons

    ADA seems to be a big good enough reason, why they even thought that would get the closing done without anyone noticing

    Its not just about ADA what about the children who enjoy coming to the Library then can walk and play in the park and visit the library.

    Its about the people of Grafton who have used it for years and enjoy coming to the Library

    We lost a few good Librarians who left not because they had a better offer but not getting material they asked for.

    Yes this has been going on for years – and I will fight it all the way – along with the Friends of Nelson Library

    Make a smart decision not one with a bottom line
    for a new building, like our new Fire Department and Police Department

  6. Can anyone name another town our size that operates 3 or even 2 library branches? It seems like it requires resources to be spread thin and as noted, more people are using library services–and probably using, or at least wanting to use them more deeply (which would seem to encourage more book and movie titles, rather than duplicates to send out to branches).

    Also, isn’t it inherently unfair to have a public library branch operating in N. Grafton still but not one in S. Grafton?

    In theory at least, isn’t someone living in 01536 who pays $5K in taxes now getting access to more town services than someone who lives in 01560 and pays the exact same amount?

    [For what it’s worth, I live in 01519, and I probably frequent the Westboro Public Library more often than the Grafton one, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight.]

  7. It’s not exactly like they’d be denied access to a library just because they’re not from that section of town. (Once again puzzles over Grafton’s insistence at having three distinct sections. This is what happens when you don’t grow up here.)

    (Side note, because I’m a fan on parens today: possibly my inability to think of Grafton as nothing less than a whole stems from covering Marlborough, where people who insisted they lived in “East Marlborough” always followed that designation with “but we spend so much time in Sudbury we practically live there.” Nope, you may have bought a big overly priced home near the Sudbury line, but you don’t live in Sudbury — but you do get to smell the wastewater treatment plant!)

    (And I can practically see Millbury from my house, and spend way too much time at Target, but that doesn’t mean I live there.)

    (I think I’ll cover selectmen tonight entirely in parens. I know you can speak in air quotes, but can you speak in air parens?)

  8. I think the proposal for expanding Nelson and closing the other two branches is a bit questionable. Last I checked, Nelson is on the border with Shrewsbury and intriguingly close to their soon to be revamped hot rod multi-million dollar library extraordinaire. Nelson to SPL must be…5 minutes max?.? Quite frankly, I think an expansion at Nelson gives someone in North Grafton a whole lotta access to two libraries, and someone in the southerly outskirts of Grafton a whole lotta driving. Given the fact that supporters of Nelson have hung their flag on equal access to all, I think this proposal woudl be rather ironic.

  9. One library. Consolidate. ADA access legally required. It works. Come visit the Bellingham Public Library — always full, always used, and handicapped accessible. And full of volunteers (like me) helping out to enable paid resources to do the job they are paid for. In these austere time, the financially-conservative alternative always trumps the “way it used to be.”

  10. Ok folks – remember it is not about the distance to Shrewsbury Library, but rather how to keep our town out of the news for locking those with disabilities out from their Library! That is one headline as a Grafton real estate owner, and taxpayer, you don’t want to read. The fines, the legal expense, not to mention the bad press is what we need to work on avoiding. It also should be noted – that currently the ownership of the South Grafton branch is in question. That branch was given as a gift to the mill workers of South Grafton. Was it ever formerly gifted to the town? Bottom line -no homework has been done on the Library issue, but rather we reacted quickly without thought to these issues, and repercussions that we all may pay for dearly with our tax dollars.

  11. I don’t think much thought was given when the decision to close both branches was made – I think the Center Library Trustees and Mr. Hedberg thought we would just go away – however they are dealing with people who have lived all of their lives in the Town of Grafton. We did not want to cause problems for the Town but no one paid any attention to our comments as I am sure the decision was made prior to their public meetings that were held – important questions were raised and never answered – patronage figures were compared to 52 hours of operation to 12 – 16 hours
    Our volunteers will do our best to serve all the people of the Town of Grafton, but it must be kept in mind that we will be getting NO help from the Center Library – Mr. Hedberg – so we will rely on what we have donated to us. However we plan on running this Library at least until June 30th
    If I could speak for the South branch I would but they are under the control of the Center Library – but will help anyone from South Grafton if they contact me.

  12. I have a proposal to resolve this once and for all: A TM Powerpoint Battle Royale! The Library Trustees put together a Powerpoint to explain why we should get rid of Nelson and present it at the next TM. The Nelson Trustees put together an opposing Powerpoint to explain why we should keep it. Then, let all hell break lose, and whoever is left standing gets to vote.

  13. However Michael it seems that the Center Library Trustees and Mr. Hedberg have authority even more powerful than the Selectmen to decide to close the library branches. Powerpoint Presentation would not work – in other words “GOD has spoken” so we are seeking other avenues

    Are you still shaving

  14. Good Morning All

    It seems that pressure is being put on anyone who is thinking of volunteering to help Nelson Library stay open – seems the Center Library Trustees/Hilding have asked that people NOT volunteer
    Community Spirit at its worst – no underlining agenda – yah right
    The fight is on

    “That Nelson Library Trustee AGAIN”

  15. Ok amigos! If I leave my good fortune and will all of it to Grafton ( all three zip codes), and it states that you must operate two high schools, does that mean the town will have to keep two high schools open?
    Why does one person’s will become a pact for life on all the residents where it cleary states that the Nelson branch will only benefit a small amount of the population.
    I have been to Nelson once before and refuse to return for the mere fact that it is the worst library I have ever seen. I mearly mean that the library its self and not the good people who work their.
    The So. Grafton branch is a far better one to keep due to the Pleasant Street Bridge not being in operation. Oh and I hear from the leaders that we should see one before summer is out… Ha! If a selectman lived on the other side of Pleasant Street we would have had one by now! Ive got one for you, if the pleasant street was in No. Grafton that lead to the Nelson Library we would have had the golden gate by now! or at least a leaky tunnel project with falling pannels to avoid.
    We amigos who are south of the border would rather see a central library rather than a exclusive No. Grafton library….does anyone in No. Grafton even know how to get to rt. 146 without going to the mass pike!
    Come on my fellow Graftonites, you people in No. Grafton disgust me with your elitist attitude and using the Americans with Disabilities Act as an excuse not to improve and seeking to better a main branch THAT ALL OF US CAN USE. We should annex all of the Neslon area part of No. Grafton to Shrewsbury! Be gone I say with your inherted sub-par precisous building that can barly hold twenty people never mind a good refernce section! I have seen the old pictures of the mansion that once sat in its place, and this is how you repay the nelson heratiage by representing that monstrisity by using the ADA as your main argument to keep it!

    South Grafton defeate unir recursos y la desigualdad!!!

  16. Cathy
    January 8, 2009 at 9:08 am
    Why are you not fighting to keep your branch open. The TOWN approved the blueprint for the Nelson Library after the fire destroyed the Mansion –
    We are not using ADA compliancy to keep the branch open but since it is a fact that the Center Library is not compliant why close the one that is we truly believe that both South and North should remain open and the Center Library cut hours – that way this will serve the whole Town of Grafton
    I have lived in Grafton for 56 years and surely know my way throughout the whole Town-
    Don’t use the Pleasant Street Bridge as an excuse either – Route 122A is open and also a direct route to Millbury
    Since your Library comes under the Total Control of the Center Library the Nelson Library Trustees cannot help in your cause – so step up to the plate buddy in other words put up or shut up

  17. “We are not using ADA compliancy to keep the branch open ”

    That is the only logical reason Nelson is open right now. I think the Nelson Trustees, the Town Library Trustees, and everybody else in town know that.

    You should channel your energy into making one ADA compliant libary with eqaul access to all.

    Still scruffy.

  18. I know I am an out-of-towner, but I just don’t get whey the town wouldn’t want to unify with one spectacular library that can offer more of everything that three smaller libraries can. You wouldn’t need half of the duplication of resources (e.g., books, periodicals, etc.). Could offer more computers, more programming, longer hours. Staffing one building with dedicated and trained personnel certainly more cost efficient than trying to cover three. The arguments for the three libraries is so reminiscent of Bellingham years ago. We two are a long town geographically and are called North, South and Center who live here. There were cultural issues amongst the three when we moved there in the early 70s. Tongue-in-check was even discussion of annexing South Bellingham to Woonsocket! But most of that has been overcome. Our services are centralized in the center — fire, police, library, middle and high school, senior center. No more branch fire stations. No more branch libraries. The only “branches” are for the elementary school. And one post office — there were two when we arrived. Grafton, like Bellingham, is one big community, not three. The monies available for libraries, etc. can be so better used when there is just one facility to staff, heat and for which to provide materials. I volunteer at our library on Friday mornings. There is a regular group of volunteers who help every day of the week. We do mundane things like shelve books, find inter-library loan requests, cover books, etc. My volunteer job is finding the interlibrary loan requests that have come in overnight. Sometimes it is as many as 100 in one 24-hour period — we have that diversified a collection. Volunteers give the staff time to provide absolutely incredible programs for preschoolers, tweens, adults (book clubs, etc.) and keeps the library open from 9:30 a.m. every day but Sunday until 9 p.m. on weekdays. The library is always full. Retirees reading newspapers in the mornings; young people working the dozen or so computers we have doing research or writing resumes; people in the quiet room writing; and on and on. There are always people lining up before the doors open at 9:30. It is the hub of the community and I am very proud to have been a member of the Library Trustees when we went from three to one library and then to building a brand new facility that keeps up with the 21st century. Bellingham resembles Grafton in may ways — population and the distances between its borders. We resistsed for a long time. Many people were not happy with the decision to go to one library and then to build a new one. But it now stands — behind the new high school and next to the middle school where it is used during the day by students and adults alike. You don’t hear people grumbling about the way it used to be — they are proud of what is!

  19. Cathy and Michael, thanks for providing material for a little social experiment. It is evedent that all you and No. Grafton cares about is No. Grafton! Its a shame really, you see my neighbor won a dollar bet in which I said the new people in Grafton care about Grafton as a whole.
    This is not to say that your efforts are not honorable and righteous. I respect people that use any means necessary at their disposal to get what they want ADA, parking and making use of an old will or even a bridge that does not exist anymore.
    My neighbor for several years now are right in that they said this town for many years before any of us decided to move here is three different towns that have a common name “Grafton”.
    And GreaterGrafton, I expected more from you, do you think for one second that I would drink folgers crystals? Try Chock Full of Nuts, because that is exactly what I think is the most appropraite brand of coffee for me and my Townies So. of the Border.

    Muy atentamente
    Clemente opressed el sur graftonite

  20. Dear Clemente,
    I think it’s a dangerous road to travel when you label a group of people & lump them all into one category.

    My property resides in North Grafton, however, I fail to remember you knocking on my door with your survey of how I feel about the issue.

    Seriously, it’s too easy to fling mud & not have the stats to back it up. I would appreciate it if you toned down your direct insults like “you people in No. Grafton disgust me with your elitist attitude”.

    You don’t know me and you certainly don’t know my attitude.

  21. Enough!

    I’ve added the notation in the “About” page that this is a site about a small town, which includes the observation that we are all neighbors. If you would not say it to your neighbor’s face, do not spew it on my website.

    We are all adults here (with the exception of the person who claimed to be a sixth grader who attempted to comment last night with three email addresses that did not exist). Do not squabble like my 8 and 11-year-old at the end of the school day. Sheesh!

  22. I don’t know how you can say that we only care about North Grafton – and I haven’t seen any ideas from you about keeping the South Grafton Branch open.
    The old will left the property known as Nelson Park
    also besides the Library – If you have children and they participate in sports they will be playing on the fields at Nelson Park – thanks to the Old Will.
    If you had a handicapped family member would you like to see them be able to get around Town and enjoy the same access to buildings as non handicapped people. Or would you want them confined to their homes and have the new Book Delivery project – by the way will still cost the Town of Grafton $$$, and deny them of the chance to socialize –
    How cheap only a dollar bet – in my opinion you are a loser anyway
    Complaining about South branch being closed and doing nothing about it but bash people who are at least trying to keep a branch open.
    Why don’t you sign up and be a Center Library Trustee there is a vacancy and you will fit right in with those narrow minded people.

  23. I’m not sure why I’m being linked to North Grafton. I’m just a Grafton resident who thinks one library is best (and I just so happen to live in the center). I’ve also come to the conclusion that I don’t care what part of Grafton the library is located in. Clemente, any good spots in Southie?

  24. Well I meant to go overboard with my comments about labeling No. Grafton like I did. For those in Grafton that do support a main branch, I’m on your side. I have an idea, lets get an article for the next town meeting to fund a new library…Im ready for a 2 1/2 override to get it done.

    Oh and Soy un perdedor? “I’m a loser” , I said in my post, its honorable what you are doing and the reason why… my cause is lost as you can see, and yes for that it is lost cause for So. Grafton.
    We don’t have the ADA on my side to keep open the So. Grafton Branch. It does not take a genius to acertain that fact!
    Narrowed minded trustees, that’s not very nice either… I would hope you would put your name in the position for library trustee (it’s not called Center Library Trustee is it?).

    Well I have been associated as a monster before my coffee in the morning no thanks to YouTube! I guess its adios amigos. I have to resort to Google Books to read to my two kids, perhaps we can have story time on our local access station….

  25. Yes you sponsor a 2 1/2 override when people are losing jobs and budgets are getting cut – makes alot of sense –

    Are there no handicapped people living in south grafton – all public building should be ADA compliant

    So watch story time on your local access station that will help the kids really practice reading.

  26. I’ve heard that we may be be facing a Prop 2 1/2 override simply to balance our town budget

    oh joy!

  27. North or South – If you feel that the library is an add to your community you should fight to make it happen. If you feel either branch should stay open, the worst thing you can do is fight amongst yourself. The other branch is not the enemy! Each branch has its’ own set of issues etc… I thought there was discussion about whether South was formerly gifted to the Town? If it wasn’t , why couldn’t South mirror what is being done in the north? If there are any town functions/meetings held on site – charging for such use may need to be looked at. Is South anymore handicap accessible than the Center? Get Civil Liberties involved with the fight, if they are not already. With regard to North, sounds like the immediate need is for books. If Nelson owns the parks, sounds like it may now be necessary to start, or increase the cost to use the park. Whenever I go by there is always activity going on there, by various groups. Take that money and buy books etc…. Also whatever Trust money is invested with Grafton, you may want to look at pulling and investing separately. If Grafton is no longer “recognizing” Nelson, there should not be a need to get a yearly allowance from your investments through Grafton town? Others more closely involved will know more about the feasibility as well as specific pro’s and con’s of these ideas – but I think worth looking into. Again all of what folks are recommending should have been done BEFORE any formal closing. The town just is really poor at planning! That is probably why we need a 2 1/2 overide just to balance the budget. Sad really…..

  28. Last night we had our Trustee Meeting for Nelson Library and met with “The Friends of Nelson Library”.
    Removal of books is on going and very sad to see the empty shelves.
    Donations are being accepted for gently used books
    DVD, etc. you can email me at and arrangements will be made to accept your books and pick them up if necessary.
    Our list of volunteers is growing so that we will be able to staff our Library to be open at convenient hours so it is accessable to all who wish to use it.
    The Friends of Nelson Library are a very organized group and determined to make this work.
    The Nelson Trustees are very proud of those who have stepped up and are working hard to keep this valuable asset open

  29. Just a little reminder that Thursday, January 15th at 7 PM in room B at the Municipal Center is the Grafton Library Trustee Meeting – open to the public – all interested should try to attend

  30. I still have a question…how does Grafton get around the ADA compliance issue at our town libraries? I have followed the library closings with great sadness but have yet to understand how we can have a library with no access for elderly or handicapped or babies in strollers. In these tough times, I think that families need to find activities that are free or low cost and the focus may come back to reading and other activities that libraries can offer. As a child I spent many days in the library devouring books and as a mother have tried to turn my kids on to books the same way. So what exactly is the deal with the ADA compliance? Is there some deadline to becoming accessible?

  31. Since Nelson Library is the only Library that is accessable to handicapped people I was very surprised that the Selectmen went along with the Director of the Center and South Grafton Libraries to close both branches.
    It is very obvious that the ultimate goal of the Center Library Trustees is to channel all monies to the Center Library and then approach the Town to ask for a NEW Library siting ADA compliance and not being able to handle the so called crowds they say go to the Center Library.
    The Chairman Dana Wilson has acknowledged that they have made it known that they are now interested in the land on Worcester Street formally the Old Norcross Annex School land to build their NEW Library.
    Hopefully the Towns people can see through this rouse. Closing the Nelson Library has opened the Town to bring inspectors into Town to Inspect the Center Library – with no plan in place – this could very well cost the Town $1000.00 a day for having no ADA compliant Library
    At the meeting on Thursday night the Center Library Trustees, along with Director Hedberg were not very pleased that the people who attended gave reasonable suggestions as to how to keep both branches open, and by keeping Nelson open they would avoid ADA investigation. This was not considered an option.
    Although some members on the Center Library Board seemed to be receptive – the facial expressions by the Chairwoman Dana Wilson only
    confirmed the opinion of those present that she wasn’t very happy that they were somewhat agreeing with the people in attendance.
    Suggestions were made to close the Center Library two nights and have the South and Nelson open one night each thus servicing those who do not have transportation to the Center Library, also to those who are disabled and unable to get into the Center Library.
    Director Hedberg gave a ADA Research report somewhat quietly as those of us remaining had to strain to hear what he was saying, but it boiled down to installing an elevator which would have to stop on all floors, putting in Handicapped restrooms and also a rescue room in case of emergency a person who would not evacuate the building could go into this room to be safe. Exactly how much this will cost the Town wasn’t mentioned. So brace up Towns People a New Library is in the wind – hopefully it will be once again voted down.
    I can only speak for Nelson Library – closing the only Library that is handicapped accessable was the most irresponsible decision I ever heard of, and those who sit on the Center Library Trustee Board, and Director Hedberg should be ashamed of themselves.
    The Acting Town Administrator and the Selectmen should take a very long look at the situation that the decision has now created.

  32. I realize that there are three library trustees up for re-election – we need to get some people who are open minded and have time to volunteer. It is obvious it is time for a change on the Grafton Library Trustee Committee
    I have three more years on the Nelson Library Trustee Committee who knows I might think about run for any seat that is vacant at that time
    There has to be some Graftonite who is interested in stepping up to the plate and volunteering for this Committee

  33. Four cents…
    1. The Board of Selectmen did not take any action on the matter because it is not within the Board’s control. The decision to open, close, suspend libraries and services rests with the Board of Library Trustees. In the end, a facilitated agreement by the Acting TA led to the North branch staying open until the end of the fiscal year.
    2. A change in the makeup of the Board of Trustees may not change the mindset. Frankly people who run should do so with the ability to keep an open mind and carefully consider ALL options. This leads to reasoned decisions.
    3. There are many in Town who support the closings and feel the time has come.
    4. ADA compliance must happen – whether we have 1 libary or 10.

  34. So…. 1. We agree that the Selectman are not going to step in on the library issue, even though it is well known that the town of Grafton is setting itself up for a lawsuit, ADA violations and audits that will result in exorbitant fines. I guess they don’t feel it is their responsibility to reign in the trustees, and prevent fines to the town? 2. A change in Library board members is exactly what is needed since the current board members got the town into this mess. It doesn’t appear they are aware of law regarding those with disabilities. In addition, when you are given two libraries that your towns people benefit from, with so little cost, and which other towns would love to have – do the math! These folks obviously never worked in the private sector where business cases and repercussions are explored BEFORE actions are taken. 3. That is fine that folks feel the libraries should be closed, but cost vs. benefit does not support such a decision. In addition, before you can close these libraries don’t you think a plan should be in place for those who now will not have access to a library? 4. ADA compliance must happen BEFORE you go closing the branches that allow more access than the building at the center. Very sad to see that so many know so little, and really only are concerned about how it affects themselves. Guess they are not following this all the way through to who will pay the fines, and what kind of press the town of Grafton will get. You think your real estate value has gone down? Wait till this hits the courts. Is that why they call America today a “Me Society”?

  35. It’s me… El perdedor (achemm… aka The Loser..of a $1 bet)
    Do we know if any buildings in Grafton are ADA certified? I heard a rumor that the Nelson building is not ADA compliant or is the producer of the rumor mistaken?
    Also what good does it do the town to threaten it with lawsuits, anyone? If indeed we are threatened with a lawsuit over ADA, would that include the Nelson and all of the town’s buildings thus would that bring Nelson trustees into the fray? Are they prepared?
    Well I for one who resides So. of the Pleasant Street Bridge am for 1 library whereever it resides, ADA complaint or not, at least we still have 1 library unlike our neighboring town. I know that this town is passionate about its public asset but this is crazy… were all so bent over the fact that we need to consolidate the two branch libraries to the main one. Lets put our tax money in 1 building, does that make any sense?
    I hope the Nelson Trustees live up to their charge and maintain our Grafton asset, I mean they do keep up a really nice park where both my kids can play sports and enjoy some nice recreation. My two cents, would be nice to have some parking at the nelson fields, its the only park that does not have any dedicated parking never mind a handicap spot or two for my Abuelo (grandfather)…

  36. Mary Ann,
    So how has our town avoided the ADA issues thus far? Have we slipped by because no one has brought suit yet? Do we receive funding from federal/state and if so, how, given that we don’t meet requirements? Is there a report somewhere that gives a rundown of our town facilities and which ones are accessible and meet guidelines?


  37. That is a question that should be answered by the Selectmen – they avoided it when it was brought to their attention that closing Nelson would pose a problem with ADA – it was done anyway – so do they think that Grafton is exempt from complying with ADA –
    There is a YouTube video about a family with a handicapped member touring grafton – it should be watched by all – it shows what building he can get into and what he cannot get into
    Eye opener to say the least “Eric tour of Grafton”
    please watch it –

  38. This selectman is quite aware that municipalitiies must comply with the ADA. And, I’m not sure the Town has “avoided” ADA compliance or is necessarily non-compliant. Clearly there is room for improvement – which is one reason the Commission on Disabilities was suggested and formed.

    Compliance is determined by accessibility and accessibilty can take many forms – not all structural. For example, by offering curbside service or home delivery service the library may in fact be meeting the accessibility determination. In addition to the ADA, we may be also expected to comply with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – which prohibits discrimination based on disabilities under programs that receive federal funding. ADA compliance is not linked to specific funding that I’m aware of – but I could be wrong.

    By rights, our library program as a whole was in compliance with the North branch open because of its physical accessibility. Even without it, we technically remain compliant if we can provide alternatives – see example above. There was a local assessment and transition plan required by the ADA to be completed by 1995 and implemented within 3 years. I’ve asked the TA to dig this up and my expectation is that this will be the guiding document for the Commission on Disabilities – established once the vacancies are filled.

    Closing the library branches because of financial and usage concerns, is one issue – governed by a distinct, elected board with sole authority to make the decision. ADA compliance in municipal programs and services is another, important issue that would have benefitted from this attention years ago.

  39. Thanks for the answers. I am glad there is a commission to address some of these concerns. I agree that this should’ve been given attention long ago but I admit I didn’t give it enoug thought until the library closings.

  40. I wouldn’t have given it a thought either but with two parents both in their 80’s and in poor health I have been dealing with ADA problems for 5 years now. This is something we as the Town of Grafton cannot take lightly it isn’t going to go away. Our Senior Center is a perfect example of what is needed and more for our Seniors (as I am one at 62) more will be needed in the future.
    It is frustrating enough to be faced with thing
    that we could once do we cannot do without help anymore. The disabled deserve the same access to buildings no matter who owns them. If they are fortunate enough to be able to get out they should be able to go to the Library not just to take out a book but to socialize which is so important. Just imagine being cooped up in your house with no one to talk to but the walls, the cat, or Dog maybe even a bird. Socializations is an important part of life and when taken away even for a short time depression set in and that causes great setbacks in the road to recovery.
    Nelson Library is a very important part of North Grafton – when the Library was open at hours that were convenient to everyone it was a very busy place. Decisions were made to change hours that were open when everyone was working and students were in school, thus no one could make it to the Library.
    If using ADA compliance was a low blow to the Town – sorry but the reality is that Nelson was the only Library that could be accessable to those with handicaps.
    We feel very strongly about the Library and hopefully the powers to be will see the light and review their decision.
    As for the South Branch – someone has to step up to the plate and take action as we have – these branches have been a great asset to the Town and deserve to remain open. So there must be someone from the South who will take up the cause and organize to keep the South Branch open it really doesn’t take much just volunteers and intelligent thinking-
    Hopefully things will change and decisions once made will be changed.

  41. As someone who moved to Grafton only a couple of years ago I think Cathy’s comment summarizes an outsider’s view of some of the issues. While I understand the attachment each part of town has with their branch, we need a solution that will work globally for “Grafton” and not just North, South or both. We have harsh economic realities facing our town. I agree we need to face any ADA issues head on but we also need to think of a solution that will answer this problem long-term. Maybe I’m wrong here but continuing to support 3 branches does not seem fiscally responsible. We need a united solution that in the short- and long-term is right for “Grafton”.

  42. Hi Folks –

    I sat on the Library Trustees for a number of years and all these issues have been in discussion for many, many years. There’s a lot more to the “closing” equation than meets the eye including level of service required by the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners and how the libraries are budgeted (of which much funding does come from the state). The Grafton Public Library Trustees are guided by rules in part set by the state and quite a bit of their funding is derived from formulas outside the regular town budgeting process – it’s all connected to level of service and how to meet the needs of the total town population. Grafton has recently met a population threshold which requires an increased level of service (which, according to the state, is much more than books). So the GPL Trustees struggle every year with balancing the needs of the entire town population against the state’s requirements for level of service in order to receive state funding and resources. Regardless of the outcome of the Nelson Park & Memorial Library debate, the upcoming years for our library will be very challenging. And for the record, my argument was then (as a Trustee) as it is now – let’s evaluate and plan for a balanced and quality level of service so that we don’t jeopardize state funding – and then figure out how to physically house the services required by the state and desired by our residents.

    As for ADA compliance – there’s lots of misinformation in this blog. My suggestion to all folks interested in this topic is to directly contact the Building Inspector, Bob Berger ( who is also the Town’s ADA compliance officer. ADA compliance is very complicated not just in terms of the letter of the law but the state’s requirements for enforcement.

    As for the Nelson Park and Memorial Library – you might be interested to read a little history produced by the Nelson Trustees back in 1963. It’s posted at the Nelson Trustees web page on the Town web site: I had this in my records from my days as past GPL Trustee. This is a public document and is available upon request at the Municipal Center.

    Happy reading.


    The email address for the Town Building Inspector and ADA Compliance Officer is:

    Also: I haven’t actually “sat” on the Library Trustees – rather I “sat” on the Board! Although there are some Board and Committees that may require a good “sit upon” (please excuse the Girl Scout pun).

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