Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
The 14 full and part-time staff of the Lane Memorial Library have a combined total of 61 years of education beyond high school; a total of 22 higher education degrees; 99 years of part time library service; and 91.5 years full time library service. Not all the years of library service have been in Hampton, but the town is certainly the recipient of all that experience!
We were happy to celebrate the library's 125th anniversary in April. The Friends of the Library participated, hiring classical guitarist Peter Fletcher to kick off both National Library week and the anniversary celebration. The foyer of the original building was the site of an all day public celebration with birthday cake. Opening its doors in 1881 as a room in the town hall, the library went through an expansion with a separate building in 1910, an addition in 1957, and a second addition in 1985. Another expansion is not feasible on this property footprint, and the Board of Trustees is looking forward to planning a new facility for the future on town land nearby. The anniversary celebration continued for 125 days from April to August with free raffle drawings monthly, and a grand prize of a $125 gift certificate to the Library Restaurant in Portsmouth.
Many improvements occurred in 2006. The library's interior received a much needed coat of paint. Most improved were the three original rooms: the NH Room, the Dearborn Room and the large foyer connecting the two. The Dearborn Room, the library's original reading room, again became a reading room. The collection of large print books was moved into the room, and the Board of Trustees bought two wing chairs in memory of the Director's mother, (Stella Shaw McEachern, the granddaughter of the first librarian, Simeon Albert Shaw), adding to the ambience of the room. The foyer, originally used as a music area with a record collection, again became the music area with new CD storage cases and the reuse of the built in record cabinets, all of which allow the public to browse the library's collection of music. The art works which formerly hung in the foyer were moved to the storage room after they were scanned and posted on our website. They are still available to check out, but take up less valuable space.
Another large maintenance project was the installation of sliding doors replacing the separate outer glass doors in March. The inner foyer doors were not replaced with sliding doors at the same time, as they were not corroding and were not in danger of failing as the outer doors were. The Dorothy Little Room, part of the original building on the lower level, was painted, the hanging heater was moved from the traffic area to a corner, and a new rug was installed in November as part of that room's upgrade. This room is used as Hampton's Senior Drop-In Center and sees daily activities.During 2006 the Lane Memorial Library experienced another busy year, circulating 176,431 items, in over 128,000 visits by residents and visitors to the library. We loaned 1841 items out to other NH libraries and borrowed 863 items for Hampton residents. We registered 1164 new patrons. Computers were used by the public 25,642 times.
Darrell Eifert, Head of Adult Services, launched the year's programs with a series of films to watch and discuss; the concept has proved popular and was repeated later in the year. The Summer Program for adults was titled HAMPTON READS and was based on a bingo game. Adults had to read 5 items from a game card of 30 choices, ranging from reading something humorous to reading a "fat" book. Several people took part and remarked on how interesting it was to read something in another genre not familiar to them. Grand prize was a gift card to Barnes and Noble. A new audio format was introduced with Playaways, audio books on a device similar to an MP3 player - no more switching audio tapes or CD's - just the one book on the player. They've proved great to use when exercising or cleaning house or wrapping lots of presents! Look for another new audio format, downloadable audio books, in 2007. Darrell's able staff, Barbara Chapman, Elli Cyr, Claudia Cyrus, and Mary Twomey, split up Sandra Kent's hours when she retired in October after 8 years of great customer service; they continue their good work daily.
Joanne Mulready's regular story times continued throughout the year, culminating with the ever popular Polar Express party in December. National Library Week in April featured Wayne from Maine in celebration of the library's 125th anniversary. Summer was celebrated with Treasure Reading as the theme under the direction of Marybeth Varney. There were lots of pirate decorations and adventures, though no one walked the plank! Gold doubloons, eye patches, and "Avast there mateys!" were evident throughout the summer. In August we welcomed Paulina Shadowens, a 2006 University of Rhode Island Library School graduate, as the new Head of Children's Services. Paulina comes to Hampton with much experience in libraries and with children.
Cheryl French, the Young Adult Librarian, worked with Darrell Eifert as the large print collection was moved, and used part of that area to make a new Teen Area. She continued the Teen Advisory Board and several book groups begun last year. The kids were active with a fund raiser during the Friends of the Library book sale, raising funds for the SPCA. During National Teen Week they read enough pages (over 1600) in a challenge devised by Cheryl, which resulted in her having pink and green hair for a day!
Alice Alford and Marija Sanderling continued their excellent reference work, breaking records almost monthly for questions answered and interlibrary loans filled. We continue to lend more to other libraries than we borrow. Marija is undertaking a review of the adult nonfiction and will be updating resources as she finds outdated materials that need replacing. Don't forget to check out the new databases available on our website. These excellent, trustworthy research tools can be used from home 24/7.
Bill Teschek, Head of Technical Services and resident genealogy expert, continued adding to the genealogy and history books in the NH Room. He continues to maintain and upgrade the library's website, as well as our 35 public and staff computers and 5 servers. In June, Jean Keefe, our cataloger and long time adult services assistant, retired after 29 years! We hired Isabel Danforth from Connecticut to take over her duties. Between Bill and Isabel, every item in the library is cataloged and accessible to the public through our online catalog. New this year - you can be notified about new items in our collection through RSS feeds. Call Bill for an explanation of RSS!
The Friends of the Library
The Friends of the Library continue to be an energetic, positive force for the library! Thank you Friends! They were responsible in 2006 for a reception for current and former trustees during National Library Week; the purchase of all of our museum passes; the funding for programs such as Peter Fletcher, classical guitarist, and Wayne from Maine; a donation of large print books in memory of the director's mother; new furniture in the Children's Room; and fundraising via book sales, bake sales, and craft sales for new materials for the library. In conjunction with the Children's Room and Centre School, the Friends invite all first grade students to come to a children's book sale. They have a tour of the children's library which includes telling them how to get a library card if they don't have one; they attend a story time; and the big attraction is they are each given a quarter and allowed to pick out and buy their own book at their reading level.
The library was happy to have the support and assistance of an active Board of Trustees. The Board which meets the third Thursday of each month, consists of Sara Casassa, Bob Frese, Judy Geller, Mary Lou Heran ,Bridgit Valgenti and Alternates Dot Gooby and Linda Sadlock.