SHIRLEY – The Select Board’s short but substantive agenda Monday night mostly focused on grants, including applications in process and a grant in hand that will bring library services to people’s doors.
Library Launches Home Delivery Program
During the meeting, Town Administrator Mike McGovern talked about a new grant-funded program at the Hazen Memorial Library that will deliver books and other materials to some library patron’s homes.
The brainchild of Library Director Deb Roy, capturing this “unique grant,” was her idea, he said, and she worked to make it happen. But she won’t take credit, he said. Like all library activities, it’s a team effort.
Under the grant program, specifically for libraries in rural and small communities, library members who are Shirley residents, who meet program criteria and have signed up to participate, can call or e-mail requests for books or materials and volunteer library couriers will deliver the items to their homes.
Returns will happen the same way, according to program literature, based on schedules determined during the enrollment process.
Speaking after the meeting, Deb Roy said the H2H (Hazen 2 Home) program is on the launch pad now.
It’s intended for people who need home deliveries, however, not just as a convenience, Roy said.
People who can’t travel to the library, for example, perhaps due to illness or injury or lack of transportation like home-bound seniors or the disabled. The application form spells out all the details, she said, including who can use the service and how it works.
“People must apply and be accepted into the program,” she said, adding the program is made possible by a grant from the Association for Rural Small Libraries (ARSL) through the generosity of a regional partner foundation.
“We’re getting things together now,” she said, with the grant money in and tote bags ready to go.
Application forms are available at the library and will be posted on the website
Those interested in enrolling may also call the library at 978-425-2620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McGovern marveled at the quality and quantity of library services and ongoing efforts to keep it not only viable but vital during the pandemic shut-down and beyond.
“They do a fantastic job,” he said.
Flagg agreed. “It’s wonderful…thanks!” she said.
Earlier in the meeting, Flagg discussed a program, while not grant-funded, benefits taxpayers without impacting the town budget.
Called the Senior Work-Off Program, the state-authorized program pairs skills sets of seniors with municipal departments that need a helping hand, McGovern said. The program participants, who are more than volunteers but not employees, are paid in tax credits, based on the prevailing minimum wage and the number of hours they work.
Eligibility varies by community. Some do not choose to participate while others may set income guidelines or resume requirements. In Shirley, the only basic requirement is age. Participants must be at least 60, and interested parties, including current participants, must apply annually. Slots are limited.
Application forms are available in the Assessor’s and Select Board offices.
“It’s to help (seniors) with taxes,” McGovern said. And it provides town departments with extra help when needed. “It’s a great program,” he concluded.
In other business, McGovern updated the board on the status of grant opportunities for culvert repairs and a program the town can hopefully use to repair and refurbish the Center Town Hall.
The town-owned building, in the town’s historic center on the common, needs new fixtures and structural fixes that the Center Town Hall Committee recently asked the board to help address.
Offered through the Massachusetts Historic Commission, it’s a two-part grant opportunity, he said, with “development funds” available for needed work and “pre-development” funds to pinpoint those needs.
Authorized by the Select Board to apply on the town’s behalf, McGovern said he hoped to go for both grants. He promised to keep the board apprised as the application process moves forward.
Updating the board on a culvert repair grant application in the works, McGovern said that with several areas in town in “dire need,” the state grant could help cover culvert repair/rebuild costs as high as $300,000, from engineering to construction. He promised to keep the board posted on his progress.