Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
Looking back over past library reports I notice a pattern. Every year mentions changes in the library, in staff, in services, sometimes even in the building. The year 2000 was no different. We survived the much ballyhooed Y2K computer crisis, and went on to survive two major staffing changes. The resignation of Reference/Internet Librarian Bobb Menk in May started the library looking at how to restructure the library organization in order to utilize everyone's best talents. Although we knew Bobb was much sought after for his expertise, we had hoped to be able to keep him a little longer and were very sorry to see him go. The resignation of Children's Librarian Beverly Vetter in July compounded our staffing problems. She had done much to revitalize the Children's area with outreach to preschools and schools. She too will be missed. After much discussion, the Trustees reorganized the library into four departments: Adult Services, Children's Services, Reference Services and Technical Services. Searches were done for the best candidate to head each position and interviews were held in July. Jeanne Gamage of York, Maine, was hired to head Adult Services. She brings many years of supervisory experience to the position. Cindy Stosse, a Children's Librarian in Pennsylvania, was returning to NH and found the job posting for Head of Children's Services on our web site. She was the perfect match. She's been busy introducing puppets to the Children's Room, hosting story times in the Mayflower and taking the kids for a Polar Express trip! Joanne Straight was promoted to head Reference Services, and Bill Teschek, Assistant Director, took on Technical Services and the Internet. Luckily, our dedicated part-time staff stayed constant through the transition. Alice Alford works in Reference with Joanne Straight and Bill, Catherine and Jeanne take shifts at the Reference Desk as needed. Barbara Chapman, Sandra Kent, Charlene Carliell, and Mary Twomey work the Circulation Desk in Adult
Services. Lynda Miller and Joanne Mulready, with help from Mary Twomey, work Children's Services and Jean Keefe works with Bill in Technical Services. The staff deserve kudos for their long hours of extra coverage before the two hires brought the library back to full strength.
Our volunteers keep our books mended, processed and shelved; we couldn't do it without them. Last year they volunteered over 2600 hours to the library. At a conservative estimate of $6/hr., they offered the library over $15,000 worth of time. There are other volunteers who don't call themselves such - the mothers who assist at story times, the gentlemen who assist with replacing water bottles, the young children who volunteer to help with the even younger children. They enhance the library without any formal title and they are much appreciated!
Programming continues and will expand, trying to focus on programs of interest to the whole family. The Symphony trips in the fall and spring remain quite popular, raising money for museum pass renewals. Children's Services has offered programs on the Mayflower and the Polar Express, and is planning regular evening and Saturday story times. Library programs already planned are on winter sports, gardening, and local authors; there will be much more!
The library offers the traditional books, but it also provides current new fiction and nonfiction in a variety of formats: books, books on tape, books on CD and large print books. Magazines on a variety of topics and local and national newspapers are displayed in the periodical area for daily browsing; back issues of magazines may be taken out. Nonfiction videos such as those that show how to build a deck or walk you through a computer program are shelved with books on those specific topics. Entertainment videos are available free overnight and children's videos are available along with their books, tapes, and new puppets! Museum passes to area and Boston museums entitle families to discount or free admission. We offer Internet access to those without home computers, enabling many to keep in touch with family and friends, and Internet classes to further skills. We strive to untangle the maze of information found on the web and guide the users to the best sites. See our web site www.hampton.lib.nh.us. The Reference staff are available daily whenever we are open to help anyone in their search for materials for their homework, hobby, genealogical research or to answer any question. If our library doesn't have the information, we'll often be able to obtain materials from other libraries through a state-wide interlibrary loan system. Please ask if you don't see what you want. Requests can be made in person, by phone, or via e-mail.
The library continues to seek to be the answer place for the people of Hampton of all ages. We strongly believe in the library's mission "to provide community residents and other interested persons with materials, services and programs in their quest to meet their educational, informational, recreational and professional needs.".