Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
Children's Services are provided by Beverly Vetter who replaced Margaret Gleeson as Children's Librarian in March. Margaret left us for fewer duties at a higher salary elsewhere in January. Beverly, who had just completed her Master's Degree in Library Science in December of 1996, has re-energized the Children's Room and pulled together staff and programs. We were lucky to be able to coax her away from the Rye School system right into the preparation for a summer reading program instead of her having the summer off! She formerly worked at the North Hampton Public Library until she began her Master's Program, so we knew the caliber of her work. The Children's summer program was quite successful with more readers than ever participating. The Children's Room staff of Joanne Mulready, Karen Ryan, and Mary Marshall continue to do a super job of creating a friendly, nurturing environment and promoting good books to all ages. If you haven't been in lately, stop by and see them and their efforts.
While you are downstairs, stop in the Dorothy Little Room and see the temporary Senior Drop-In Center there. Weekly programs are planned, but it is also a place just to get together with your senior friends and chat, watch a movie, or play cards. The Trustees of the Library have granted interim use of the room until the Seniors find a home of their own, or until the library requires the space for library functions. Also downstairs is the Wheaton Lane Room. This summer saw a special exhibition of art by Joseph Cantave using the Stillman Hobbs gallery in the Lane Room. The Hampton Historical Society also offers special programs in the Lane Room, the most recent being Goody Cole.
Adult Services are capably provided by Joan Kahl, Circulation Supervisor, who had the idea for the senior drop-in center and who orders the large print and audio books for the collection; Jean Keefe, who finds all your interlibrary loan materials for you and catalogs Adult fiction and all the Children's books as well as working the Circulation Desk; Bill Teschek, Assistant Director, who wrote HAMPTON AND HAMPTON BEACH, a photo history, published by Arcadia this year and who is also getting much of Hampton's history onto the Internet for others to access, while doing the Adult cataloging; Joanne Straight, who juggles duties among Reference, Young Adult, and Circulation and who is revitalizing the Young Adult collection for them; Alice Alford who also juggles Reference and Circulation and provides Reader's Advisory services to those who know her avid reading; Barbara Chapman and Megan Kilburn who both work evening shifts and are willing to cover for the rest of us when we are sick or on vacation; and Bobb Menk, our Internet Reference Librarian. Having survived the necessity of having his position put on the warrant again, Bobb has brought the library into the "WEB." He is unfailingly cheerful as he troubleshoots our patched together system and adds more for the public. Through the generosity of his former workplace, we received three Macintosh computers and he has been able to make those available to the public with Internet access. His only request of the library, once his position was assured by vote of the public, was for an actual desk for his work space! If you haven't met Bobb, you haven't had the pleasure of seeing his ability and his humor at work. He is working with the town and the schools in their hopes of pulling all systems together.
Lest one thinks that the library is only technologically oriented, rest assured that the book is never going away. We often can find answers more quickly in the printed form, than in the electronic form. As in street systems where the main roads often have too much traffic, and the side roads take you back and forth and you sometimes get lost in the shortcut, so too is the electronic information "highway". It sometimes gets the user lost in the byways and the original destination is forgotten. Bobb provides direction through our web site for the electronic highway, and all the staff provide direction through advisory services. All staff will be happy to recommend new books and old favorites for popular reads. When asked reference questions , our first response is to check our own catalog for books that may answer the question. There technology can assist us as the online catalog can search several ways, and can tell us if an item is actually on the shelf, and if not, when it is due back. We also have resource to several periodicals for up to date information, and again technology assists the actual printed word. If we do not have the physical magazine in house, we often are able to get a copy of the needed article(s) from the State Library via fax machine. If we cannot answer your question readily, we may ask you to fill out a quick reference form so that we can get back to you with the information after a broader search. We're also happy to show anyone how to use the online catalog - we're here to help!
The elected Trustees of the Library, Catherine Anderson, Tom Donaldson, Elizabeth Lavallee, Jerry McConnell, and Barbara Rallis meet monthly to review the status of the library and plan for the future. We are fortunate to have committed people who care about this institution and who are willing to give of their time and effort freely.
We all look forward to 1998 being just as busy as we continue to merge print and technology to better serve you and prepare for the coming century.