Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
Looking Forward to a New Millennium
One hundred years ago as the nineteenth century came to a close, my great grandfather would have been writing the report for the Hampton Public Library. Simeon Albert Shaw was Hampton's first public librarian from1881 to1931. In 1899 the library was one room in the town hall and was open only Wednesday evenings. Customers had to ask him for a specific book by consulting a list of books acquired. As the twentieth century comes to a close his great granddaughter (me) is the librarian in a building made up of the original library building (donated in 1910 by the Lane Family) and a 1985 addition. The library is open six days a week and customers can browse the stacks themselves, physically or electronically. I am sure Simeon would be astonished at the advances the town and technology has made.
From a one person part-time library staff in 1899, the library has grown to six full-time and seven part-time staff in 1999. There are now three departments, Reference Services under the supervision of Bobb Menk; Children's Services under the supervision of Beverly Vetter; and Public Services (Circulation) under the supervision of Bill Teschek. Bobb has himself, Alice Alford, Joanne Straight, Beverly Vetter, Bill Teschek and myself take shifts so that there is a professional librarian in the Reference Department every hour that we are open, ready to assist any person in any query he or she may have. Bill schedules Charlene Carliell, Barbara Chapman, Sandra Kent, Lynda Miller, Joanne Mulready, and Mary Twomey to staff the two circulation desks. Jean Keefe, who processes interlibrary loan requests and catalogs children's fiction, also works the Circulation Desk when needed, as do Bill and I, when an extra pair of hands is useful. We had staff changes this year when Kelly Bucknam decided to move away from the Seacoast. We replaced her with Mary Twomey. In August we lost another part-time employee, Karen Ryan, to a full time position at Winnacunnet High School. We hired Lynda Miller and shuffled hours once again in our attempt to better serve you. Another development is a newly organized Staff Development Committee made up of Sandra Kent and Jean Keefe as we prepare to gain the continuing education mandated by the Legislature for all public library employees.
Along with the staff of 13, the Lane Library is fortunate to have a volunteer staff of twelve to fifteen dedicated people. Some volunteers are through RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), some are through their church outreach program, and some are just avid library supporters. Long time volunteer Arlene Farrell has been joined in great number of hours served by relative newcomer to the library, John Holman. John has taken on the task of adding much of Hampton's history to the library's web page. We are appreciative of all of these wonderful people giving of their time on a regular basis: shelving books, mending books, entering information, organizing work spaces, and lending a hand where needed.
The library offers a variety of programs to the local community. There are programs geared to youngsters, young adults and adults. The Children's Department offers several story times and after school programs during the year as well as a big summer reading program. The Friends group still sponsors trips to the symphony throughout the year and has offered programs with local authors. Bobb Menk offers free computer classes one evening a week after the library closes. The capability of borrowing materials from almost any library in the state has greatly expanded what we can offer locally.
Tom Donaldson, James Inglis, Gerald McConnell, Mary Lou O'Connor, and Barbara Rallis served as the Lane Memorial Library Trustees for the last year of the twentieth century. During 1999 policy updating and budget preparation took up much of their meetings. In September the Board honored former trustee Catherine Anderson, fondly known as Katie, by naming the Children's Room KATIE'S ROOM, celebrating her eighteen years of service to the children of Hampton. In October, Trustee James Inglis resigned. He will be missed for his cheerful demeanor and his dedication to the library. The trustees remain committed to moving the library forward into the new millennium, representing the community to the library and the library to the community.
We are proceeding with plans to reopen the front entrance on Winnacunnet Road. Making that entrance handicapped accessible would mean access for everyone, no matter the weather, as we still have to close the existing ramp (which is under the sloping roof) when snow accumulates. The Rotary Club of Hampton has generously started us on our way with a donation this year and a promise of another next year. We will be meeting with a library consultant from the State Library for her input how to best use the existing space in the library. The Friends group is looking to expand their group and offer more programs in the coming year.
The library has something for everyone of every age and stage, from picture books for preschoolers to the parenting books and videos that explain the different years of a child's life, from resume books for career changes to craft books for the home handymen, from audio tapes for the commuters to videos for the homebound, from large print books for the failing eyesight to reference works that tell you what might cause that failing eyesight, from financial information for the investors to the helpful hints for the penny pinchers, and on and on. All of this is available by physically coming to the library or by accessing us and the library catalog from home by going to our web site www.hampton.lib.nh.us
. Check out our reference page for links to consumer information, homework sites, local government, travel information, or to search the Internet. We look forward, in the new millennium, to improved service, access, and resources.