Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
During 2002 the Lane Memorial Library did a record business, circulating a little over 200,000 items, (200,472) in over 125,000 visits by residents and visitors to the library. We loaned 778 items out to other NH libraries and borrowed 465 items for Hampton residents. We registered 1,279 new patrons. Our four departments were busier than ever as they coped with the 25% increase in business.
Adult Services staff remained constant this year. Jeanne Gamage and her staff of Barbara Chapman, Sandra Kent, Elli Cyr, and Mary Twomey, have all worked steadily to meet your every library need. They all did a marvelous job dealing with the 25% increase in people and circulation that occurs during the summer. We have a number of patrons who own second homes here and return every summer, as well as a number of young guest workers who come on visas for three or four months to work at the seasonal jobs. We serve as the conduit for their informational and recreational needs and as their connection to home though the Internet. Several languages are spoken and it is interesting to see the friendships form among the young people from different overseas countries. Many adults participated in the summer reading program, Lions and Tigers and Books, Oh My! this year and were awarded stuffed lions, tigers, and books, much to their delight! The reading group has continued to flourish and they enjoyed choosing books, watching the movie of the book, and discussing both this year. The circulation staff also aids the residents of senior housing, both recommending and delivering books to them on a regular basis. The Hampton seniors continue to use the Dorothy Little Room as their gathering place, doing crafts and playing bridge, bingo, and other group games. One way all departments coped with the increase in business and the decrease in staff during vacations was with the hiring of former Greenland librarian Bonnie Gardner as a substitute. She was soon joined by substitutes Peter Blanchard, Janet Perkins, and Mary Jo Murphy. The subs may work a few hours occasionally, or get called just once a month for the monthly staff meeting. Having trained library substitutes has allowed us to have staff meetings during the day when everyone is available to attend. Previous to this, we either met after the library closed on Friday evenings or early in the morning before the library opened. Who wants to attend a training session on a Friday night?
Children’s Services saw a huge increase in business too. They were able to install a people counter in July, which has allowed them to track the number of visits to the Children’s Room. (Due to the door configurations upstairs, those visits are manually counted.) Supervisor Cindy Stosse’s staff of Joanne Mulready, Lynda Miller and occasionally Mary Twomey, changed in August. Lynda Miller resigned to move to the Fremont Public Library to be their Children’s Librarian as they opened their new building. We hired Shelby Edwards from Hampton, a former fourth grade teacher and prospective library student. She has proved to be a most welcome addition. The statewide summer reading program, Lions and Tigers and Books, Oh My! was as popular as ever. Wal-Mart again contributed a bicycle for the children’s grand prize. Bedtime story hours and the ever popular Polar Express evening continued. Four six-week story time sessions were held with an average of 100 children per week served. Library visits from 4th grade and area nursery/day cares were ongoing.
Reference Services under Stan Olson with Alice Alford had an incredibly busy year answering reference inquiries in person, via phone, and via e-mail. Overall, questions were up 19% from last year. Stan was the Continuing Education Chair for the New Hampshire Library Association and hosted a wonderful program on Readers Advisory here in November. Check our web site www.hampton.lib.nh.us and look under the icon Databases for the online data bases provided though the State Library. NoveList is a wonderful resource for those of you who have exhausted the works of favorite authors and don’t know who to read next. It will lead you to similar authors or to books on similar subjects.
Technical Services with Bill Teschek and Jean Keefe continues to be the backbone of the library. Without them, we wouldn’t have technology or materials! Bill is our webmaster and technical expert, maintaining 35 computers and the library’s web site. Bill has dealt with the issues of Instant Messaging, computer viruses and spam mail while upgrading and maintaining the existing computers and our web site. Call Bill at 926-3368 for more information on what computer courses he offers during the year. Jean has ably cataloged all the new materials — the books, puzzles, videos, DVD’s, music CD’s and art work, just to name a few.
I can’t forget our Volunteers! We started the year with a retirement party for Arlene Farrell, volunteer extraordinaire. She was recognized on both the local and the state level with proclamations for her many years of service to the library. Our volunteers enable the library to function and enhance our services to the public. Regularly scheduled volunteers appear daily to reshelve books, mend materials, sort donations, organize materials, prepare new books for circulation, reshelve new items, place back issues of periodicals and newspapers in storage, index the newspapers, and help us in many other ways. We couldn’t do it without them. If you too would like to make a difference, stop in and see Jeanne Gamage, Head of Adult Services, for a volunteer application.
Elected trustees, Lenore Patton, Sara Casassa, Judy Geller, Mary Lou O’Connor and Barbara Rallis, assisted by appointed alternates, Betty Anne Lavallee, Dorothy Gooby, and Mary Lou Hernan, have overseen the library throughout 2002. After a year long trial of extended evening hours in the upstairs library, statistics proved it underutilized and not cost effective and the library returned to the regular 60 hours a week. The Board has initiated and is continuing to work on a long-range strategic plan for the library.
Director’s Thoughts 1992-2002
1992 -- When I was hired in November of 1992, little did I know what the next decade would bring. I took a few moments recently to review the past ten years. When I started at Hampton, checking out books by bar codes was new. Finding books by looking on a computer was new and we were still adding cards to the card catalog with the public searching multiple drawers and guessing at the subject headings. Public computers had little memory and often had been donated by people upgrading their own systems. I think there were two computers in the Dearborn Room. The Internet was little known in 1992, mentioned only in passing in professional journals. The Reference desk, bought when the building was added onto in 1984, was unused other than by the public as additional table space. Books on tape were a new and fledgling collection. Adult fiction was divided into at least ten categories and you could spend hours trying to find all the books by one author. Etc. Etc.
2002 -- Almost everything is bar coded. Both circulation desks have multiple stations for checking out materials. The old card catalog has disappeared, along with the thousands of cards (now used for scrap paper) and all searching for library materials in any format is done on OPACS (online public access computers). There are multiple public computers being upgraded on a regular basis. Lane Library has one of the very best library web sites in the state and is known nationally for its access to local history and genealogy. Hampton residents come in droves to use the Internet. E-mail is the new pony express for many, especially for the many seasonal workers in the summer. The library staff and space has been reorganized and the Reference Desk is always staffed by professional librarians. New material formats have appeared and we offer Books on CD, DVD’s, and access to databases from home computers. There have been staff changes every year, but every new person has brought new talents and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to what the next ten years brings!