It’s Annual Report time. I didn’t have as much time to spend on it this year…what with being closed half of last week due to snow, ice and roads blocked by huge trees. It’s a shame, really, because the process of reviewing the year’s events gives some perspective and time for reflection. There are the big things:
- Staff reorganization with new positions, retirements, upgraded positions and several people leaving on their own. By far the staff changes have been the most difficult, especially for the folks who have been here 20 and 30 years.
- Programs…so many programs. We had Abe Lincoln played by James Hayne, Jackie Bagley, Betsy Anderson, Dr. Natalie Isser, Bill Wine, Feeney’s Garden Center, Briar Bush, Ran’D Shine, Rick “The Butterfly Guy” and Eyes of the Wild, plus the Friends had a fantastic “Celtic Autumn” program with Ed Saultz and helped organize a Veteran’s Day program. Barbara helped the Library and Bharatya Hindu Temple put together a series of events about India for this year’s Taste of Culture program in May, ending with a yummy catered dinner. In October, we had another cultural event and tasting courtesy of the Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Program. A total of 249 programs with 5,370 attendees – not bad, not bad at all.
- Community Center goal – we participated in Memorial Day and the local Fire Prevention open house, where the street in front of the Library (and Fire house across from us) was closed for a carnival. Our meeting room was used by the women’s Club, Hunt club, Daisy Scouts, Boy scouts, Friends, Computer Society, and several more local groups I can’t think of at the moment. The best part, though, was seeing neighbors find the sofa in Anna’s corner to have a cup of coffee, read their book and enjoy the view.
- Family Place library – without going to the training or getting the $5,000 grant, we are slowly enhancing our children’s area to be fun, interactive, educational and comfortable for kids and parents. Under Alice (who retired in August), we installed a train table purchased by the Friends, along with duplo blocks and puzzles. Under Glynnis (new Youth Services Librarian), we added a fancy wooden kitchen, more puzzles, blocks and the Friends approved an additional $500 to get a loveseat. Glynnis came to us with the Family Place training and incorporates early literacy lessons into her story times.
- Failed Fundraiser – so, the Board and I tried to organize a golf outing that had to be canceled due to lack of participation. Luckily, it morphed into a very successful 60th anniversary brunch celebration with keynote Larry Kane in early January at Philmont Country Club (kept our $1,000 deposit that way). A majority of the hole sponsorships we received in June were converted into donations to the library, which we used to buy a replacement battery for the defibrillator and a bunch of new Great Courses. The fundraiser-that-never-was brought in $1,400.
- Strategic Planning – the Board has also focused much time and attention this year on updating our strategic plan. We worked with a local consultant and are now working on organizing community forums to gather input, awareness and buy-in for whatever future path we take. If the goal is to renovate and/or tweak our focus, then I want the Township residents to be a part of that decision making. I’m an outsider with a lot of crazy ideas, but it’s not my community.
- Circ Desk Redo – the Heinemans were kind enough to come in on a long weekend and carve us out a drop box in the desk! We’d already added a seated workstation with a telephone, to assist patrons of all statures, cleared off a lot of the clutter and moved the self-check machine to the other side of the desk. We also took the holds from behind the desk and put them out for self-service. The feedback? “About time you did that.” and “But what will happen to staff?” My staff are awesome – they shoot back with, “Oh, now we have more time to help you find something good to read.” We also moved a very messy ‘community information area’ to the old telephone nook and created a work area next to the copy machine, with stapler, ruler, calculator, tape, etc. I still want to make that huge desk go away and replace it with something more functional, but for now…it works.
It’s been a long, hard year but very rewarding. To see all of the indicators (holds, circ, program attendance) go up and to hear the positive feedback from patrons has been gratifying. The team is gelling, my Assistant Director is amazingly awesome and we are ready to embark on a fun Geek the Library campaign in 2014. Best of all, it’s fun to go to work.