Rewards program?

To: Kate Tranquada
From: C.B.

Idea: Reward program for donating or buying books and videos

1. Every time someone is donating an item, he gets a specific number of points and when a certain number of points is reached, would entitle him to receive a gift card or other reward.

2. Every time someone is buying a book or video, he gets reward points and when a specific number of points is reached he would get free books or a free gift card or other reward.

A follow-up system would be necessary to track everyone entering this program.

Dear C.B.,

We feel there are already ample rewards for donating to and buying from the Friends of the Library! Most donations are sold by the Friends, who use the funds to support the library, which benefits the donors. People who buy materials at the Friends sale get books and recordings at great prices while supporting the Friends, which in turn supports the library and its patrons. And receipts for donations can be used for tax deductions.

The Friends of the Library funds services and equipment that are beyond the scope of the municipal library budget, such as cultural and educational programs for all ages, landscaping, the sound system for the lecture hall, laptops for loan, and much more.

Thanks for writing,

Kate Tranquada
Library Director

Microfilm machines

I have been doing some work with the microfilms in the little research area. After spending a little time figuring out how to use the scanner, and how to save to my personal hard drive, I’m getting some work done. I’m glad the system works. BUT that computer is painfully slow! Why can’t you replace that ancient relic? Also, it would make sense to have more than one microfilm reader, even if the second one didn’t have a scanner.

D. H.

Dear D. H.,

The good news: now that we know our dream of having all the microfilmed newspapers made available online will not be happening any time soon, we are actively shopping for a second reader.

The sad news: the “ancient relic” of a computer at the microfilm scanner actually replaced an even sorrier one that preceded it! Thanks to a grant from the Gates Foundation, we are in the process of upgrading several of our public computers. This will go some way toward balancing the absence of capital funding for computer replacements last fiscal year and this. Meanwhile, our part-time computer specialist works hard to keep 35 public and 30 staff computers running, often using parts from retired PCs to keep other ones functioning. He is aware of the continuing problem at the microfilm reader, and will look for a way to upgrade that computer again.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write.

Kate Tranquada
Library Director

Lockers in the Library?

To the Director:

It would be nice if there were lockers in the library so one could lock up his/her items while taking a short break (e.g. lunch).


Dear E.E.,

I agree that lockers would be a real convenience for some library users. Even so, with the likelihood of forgotten or abandoned items, and the challenges of upkeep and break-in prevention, we are not planning to install lockers at this time.

Kate Tranquada
Library Director


NEW DVD list

It would be nice to have a listing online of newly purchased DVDs like you have on the AV desk.

Thanks for asking! You actually can see a list, 2 different ways, from the Waltham Public Library website:

Under Common Tasks, click Book Lists and then New Books. Down near the bottom of this list you should find a group of items with the prefix [RENTAL] and those will be all the new movies with links to the Minuteman Catalog for placing requests.


From the library’s home page, down on the left-hand side, click Subscribe to Library News. Enter an email address and then choose which lists or announcements you would like to receive: film list, for example. Just once each month you would receive an email with the exact same list as is on the AV desk. No email addresses are ever given away or used for purposes other than the subscription you choose.

Happy Viewing!
Best Regards,
Deb Fasulo
Assistant Library Director/AV Librarian

Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks

Do you carry or will you carry OverDrive — an e-book provider service for public libraries?

Yes, indeed the Minuteman Library Network just recently began providing OverDrive to library patrons! Please visit the Minuteman Library Network website to try it out! It’s a brand new collection which will be growing in size in the near future, so check back frequently!

Waltham also still participates in the Recorded Books downloadable program.
Visit the Waltham Public Library website to check out more titles.

Feel free to contact the library at 781-314-3425 and press 5 for the Audio-visual Department if you’d like more information.

Happy Listening!

Deb Fasulo
Assistant Library Director


Really enjoyed the Creativi-tea adult craft project with Elaine. Thank you so much for a great evening.


I’m glad you had a good time! I forwarded along your message to Elaine. She thanks you for the compliment as well.

Kindest Regards,
Deb Fasulo
Assistant Library Director

On request list and still waiting

I’m on the request list for a book. I signed up 4-5 months before publication. Now the book is in the library. One copy is a Speed Read and one is a Rental. I’m still waiting.
Is there some way you can put a box on the request form, so people who want to could get the Rental or Speed Read first? After all, I’ve been waiting.

Thank you.

I’m glad you’re utilizing the request service here at the library. Here’s how it works with new, hot bestsellers:
At least 1 Speed Read, 1 Rental and several regular copies of the book are purchased. The more requests Waltham patrons place, the more copies the library buys. The regular copies start going out to the first patrons on the request list while the Rental(s) and Speed Read(s) go out to the shelf for the browsing patrons. As regular copies are returned, they go to the next patrons on the request list. Rental copies are purchased by the Friends of the WPL and cost $1 for 1 week to rent. These copies are not eligible to fill requests, but are more for browsing patrons who would rather pay $1 and have it now than wait until a free copy is available. The money goes back to the Friends to buy more rental books, movies, museum passes and library programming. Speed Reads are also not eligible to fill requests, but are free and you have to be lucky to spot one. Patrons who are on the waiting list and do see either a Speed Read or a Rental available in the library are, of course, welcome to borrow or rent them and cancel their request. It’s sort of a trade off: you can guarantee a free copy will be held for you by placing a request or you can gamble and hope you find one of the copies available to a browsing patron.

This way we serve as many patrons as we can, whether they are here in person or placing a request from home.

Deb Fasulo
Assistant Library Director


The staff is very professional, but need to get rid of some of the teenagers!


I am hoping that this will get to someone who can change some things about the teenagers – not necessarily all of them – but every time I try to study on the computer, the kids are always there just listening to music and talking! It is not social hour; they should be studying! The librarians are trying really hard, but there should be more guidelines, please!

The library is here to serve the informational, recreational and educational needs for patrons of all ages. The staff tries to ensure that no one’s behavior interferes with other patrons’ use of the library. Some days this is more of a challenge than others. One suggestion I might offer to patrons who require quieter computer time is borrow a laptop at the Main Circulation Desk on the first floor! They are available to check out, free, with your valid library card. The 2nd floor of the library is designated for individual, silent study and is a great place to bring a laptop. If there is specific inappropriate behavior happening, with patrons of any age group, which is affecting your ability to use the library, please alert the staff.

Best Regards,
Deb Fasulo
Assistant Library Director

Magazine Swap

I am a long-time member of the Minuteman Library Network and I really enjoy your services. I just wanted to offer a suggestion of adding a space where people can donate their magazines for other people to take (the same way they do it in the Newton main branch). I have many magazines that are a good and useful read and would love to share them with other residents. Newton’s program seems very successful.

I hope you will take this suggestion into consideration.

Thank you very much


Please watch for our new Magazine Swap area to appear in the AV Annex right after the annual Friends Book Sale ends. The shelves at the bottom of the ongoing book sale will be set aside for this purpose.

Kate Tranquada

Healthy Snacks

I would like to see healthier snacks in the vending machine and maybe some juices in the soda machine.

Frequent Library Patron


Our head custodian purchases the snacks and keeps the machines stocked. He has purchased pretzels and granola bars, and will watch for other healthier items that will work with the dispensing mechanism we have. The healthiest snacks around are fruits and vegetables, which our machine is not equipped to handle (unless they are preserved and packaged in a size that will fit the machine).

The best beverage option we have for the health-conscious is bottled water, and we will continue to keep it in stock. Real juices are too expensive to provide for 75 cents.

Please contact me with any specific suggestions you may have for snacks that will work in our vending machine. In addition, please feel free to bring your own favorite snacks with you to eat in the AV Annex at the Library.

Kate Tranquada

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