History of the Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, N.H.

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by William H. Teschek (Updated for the Internet)

Color postcard of the library in the 30s and 40s
The library as it looked in the 1930s and 40s.

the

The library as it looked in 1985.

History of Hampton's first private subscription library, 1807-1854, by Joseph Dow
History of the Hampton Library Association, 1865-1881, and the Hampton Public Library, 1881-1891, by Joseph Dow

S. Albert shaw

Simeon Albert Shaw,
Librarian 1874-1877, 1879-1931

The Hampton Public Library came into existence on April 2, 1881 when the privately funded Hampton Library Association agreed to donate its library to the town as a free public library. The town agreed to establish and maintain the library, which at the time consisted of approximately 900 volumes. Simeon Albert Shaw, librarian for the Hampton Library Association, became the town's first public librarian.

The library was housed in a room of the town hall during the first 29 years of its existence. In 1891 librarian Shaw reported that the collection consisted of the following categories and numbers of books; history, 287 volumes; travel and adventures, 181; biography, 182; fiction, 582; poetry, 61; natural history, 41; science, 27; agriculture, 28; moral and religious, 49; miscellaneous, 265. It was the "earnest endeavor" of the library purchasing committee, consisting of the librarian and the trustees "to exclude every book not of a strictly moral tone, or that would be apt to leave a harmful impression on the mind of a youthful reader." The annual town appropriation to the library was one hundred dollars every year from 1881 to 1905, with the exception of a temporary increase to 125 dollars in 1898, a year when both the librarian Shaw and trustee Charles M. Batchelder were town selectmen. They failed to keep the increase the next year however.

It is difficult to determine the hours the library was open, but it was open at least every Wednesday evening year-round. In 1896 they began opening on Saturday afternoons in July, August and part of September. In 1905 the library added Wednesday afternoon hours to its usual Wednesday evening hours. No card catalog existed at this time for the library's books. Instead they issued written, and occasionally printed, booklists available for distribution to the public. From 1908 to 1930 the new books added to the collection were listed at the back of the annual town reports. Like most libraries of its day the Hampton Public Library's shelves were not open to the public. Browsing was impossible, and patrons needed to ask the librarian to retrieve the books they wanted. The books were arranged on the shelves in order of acquisition, with numerical labels attached to their spines. The library still owns book number one, Samuel G. Drake's "Biography and History of the Indians of North America", published in 1857.

In time the need for more space became critical and something finally was started in 1908 to remedy the situation. A committee was formed to write a letter to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie requesting his aid in the erection of a new public library building, and at town meeting the citizens pledged two thousand dollars to the same purpose providing Mr. Carnegie's reply was favorable. On the afternoon of April 7, 1908 a meeting was held to review Mr. Carnegie's reply. He proposed to donate five thousand dollars for a new building, providing the town was willing to appropriate the sum of five hundred dollars each year for the support of the library. The town at that time appropriated an annual sum of 250 dollars, yet was not willing to double that figure. With the Carnegie proposal unacceptable to the town a committe of five was appointed to continue studying the matter of a new library building.

As it turned out, a Hampton citizen stepped forward and offered to build a library as a memorial to his father Joshua A. Lane, who had just died. This man, Howard Garland Lane, was a wealthy merchant and landowner in town, and held various local offices throughout his lifetime. Designed by George W. Griffin, architect and constructed at a cost of $5336 by Kelly Bros., this building was constructed in 1910 and dedicated in a ceremony held at the Congregational Church on December 14th. On the 29th the library's 3500 books were transferred from the room in the town hall they had occupied for nearly half a century, down the road to the new building, where the library is located to this day. In 1911 townspeople voted to raise the annual library budget to the figure of $500, which just three years earlier was considered too high. But, as the patronage of the Lane family continued for many decades, it is safe to say that Hampton has benefited more from having a Lane library than from having a Carnegie library.

The library was now open every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon and evening, with the reading room (now the New Hampshire room) also open every weekday evening. Newspapers and magazines were placed on the tables in the reading room for browsing. A list of these periodicals can be found in the annual town report for many years after 1910. In 1916 the first trust fund was created for the library. Mrs. A.C. Marie Currier left two thousand dollars to the town "to be used in the construction and fitting of a room in the Public Library...to be known as and called the Dearborn Room," in memory of her former husband Joseph F. Dearborn, a native of Hampton. At the time it was not convenient to add a room onto the library, so the reading room was to be known as the "Dearborn Room" and the two thousand dollars was invested as a trust fund, the interest being added to the annual town appropriation. The room was never built and the trust remains to this day. The naming of the "Dearborn Room" was forgotten over the years and only recently revived. The present library's young adult room is now the Dearborn Room.

In 1919 two bronze tablets were added to the front of the building listing names of men from Hampton in the Civil War and World War I. A celebration was held in honor of the returned soldiers on November 11, 1919.

margaret

Margaret S. Noyes, Librarian 1931-1967

In 1929 Librarian Shaw remarked that "it is very evident that in the near future the citizens of Hampton will have to consider seriously the problem of providing more room, if the library is to continue to grow and meet the needs of the community." After more than 57 years as private and public librarian Shaw resigned in November of 1931. For two months that fall the library was closed while the librarian and several volunteers weeded the collection of some 2000 books to relieve overcrowding and cataloged the remainder. In addition the library changed from a closed stack policy to open stacks, resulting in a leap of circulation from 11,291 in 1930 to 15,331 in 1932. Mrs. Margaret S. Noyes was one of the assistants in these endeavors, and upon Mr. Shaw's retirement she was hired to fill his position. Oil heating was introduced in 1933; prior to that date the building was heated by coal. The library remained open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for a few hours each day.

The enlargement of the library that S. Albert Shaw saw necessary as early as 1929 finally came about in 1957, when the town voted $40,000 for the construction of an addition and renovations to the old library to be added to a gift of $10,000 from Howard G. Lane and his son Wheaton J. Lane. Howard Lane died on July 11, l957 before ever seeing the new addition. The library was closed during the last four months of the year and the new addition was dedicated on January 5, 1958. The library began opening every weekday from 2:30 to 5:00 and from 7:00 to 9:00 during the school year and only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer.

In April 1967 the second change in public librarians occurred when Mrs. Charlotte M. Hutton was hired to replace the retiring Margaret Noyes, who had been librarian for over 35 years. In January of that same year the New Hampshire State Library did a study of the Lane Memorial Library and made several suggestions for bringing Hampton into the 20th century. Mrs. Hutton, armed with the State's recommendations, inaugurated several children's programs. Films and stories were used to entertain the children. The old card catalog was completely scrapped and a new one begun with the help of volunteers, particularly Mrs. Arlene Farrell. The town Budget Committee also heeded the state's advice and raised the appropriation from $9000 in 1966 to $14,500 in 1967. A newly formed Friends of the Library group donated many hours of volunteer help in addition to buying furniture and other supplies for the library. Recordings, pamphlets, large print books and a state-wide borrowers card were some of the current services added at that time. Eventually circulating art and art prints, games, puzzles and paperbacks were available for loan. A photocopying machine was installed in 1972.

Another major accomplishment of the late 60s and early 70s was the organizing of several area libraries into book, film and art purchasing cooperatives, gaining for the libraries involved discounts of up to 40% on books and the best discounts available on films and art.

charlotte

Charlotte M. Hutton, Librarian 1967-1980

In 1975 another study report was done on the Lane Memorial Library, this time by library staff, Trustees, and volunteers from the Friends. It recommended programs and changes to be implemented over the next five years, the most important of which was to be the building of a major addition to the library. The plans were to remove the 1957 addition and add on a modern three-story structure in its place, still attached to the old 1910 building. Wheaton J. Lane donated $25,000 towards the plan and in 1977 an article was placed on the town warrant for $500,000 to build the planned addition. This failed, as did another attempt for $960,735 the next year. After a one-year break another request was made at the 1980 town meeting for $985,000, a sum that represented only the construction of the basic building. The money for the interior design and furnishings would be raised through donations. Again however the people voted down the proposal.

The third change in librarians in 100 years came in February 1980 when William H. Teschek, then the assistant librarian, became librarian in place of Mrs. Hutton, who for reasons of failing health remained with the library only in a part-time position until her death in May of 1982.

In 1981 the trustees, librarian and building committee continued their quest for library expansion but took a different approach by asking for only $100,000 to be used as a Capital Reserve Fund for library expansion. They pledged to use this sign of a committment from the people to begin soliciting contributions from foundations, local businesses and citizens. The article passed by a large majority, as did an identical article in 1982.

1983

Library Building Committee, from left to right:
Dona Janetos, Larry Cullen, Art Brady,
Dick Millette (chairman), Jack Little,
Louisa Woodman, Barbara Ryan.

During this period those involved grew disenchanted with the plan for a three-story addition and searched for alternatives. One plan for a single story building on another site (where Jeffrey Drive is currently located) was presented at the 1982 Town Meeting but fell through when the people turned down buying the land for the Town. The final plan was then designed as a revision of the three-story plan. A 1.2 million dollar two-story addition would be added in place of the 1957 addition. The design was worked out by architect John Carter of Nashua and a newly formed Building Committee. It was presented at the 1983 Town Meeting and passed by a vote of 586 to 91.

Library

Groundbreaking for the new library, September 23, 1983. From left to right: John
Walker
, Selectman; Barbara Ryan, Trustee (hidden); Wheaton Lane, Benefactor
(hidden); John Carter, Architect; Richard Millette, Building Committee Chairman;
Ron Coakley, General Contractor; and Stillman Hobbs, Former Library Trustee.

Empty

Librarian William Teschek stands in the now empty library
after the books were moved into temporary quarters.

library

Demolition of the 1957 addition, October 3, 1983.

Coakley Construction of Greenland, NH was hired as the general contractor and construction began in the Fall of 1983. The 1957 addition to the library was demolished on the morning of October 3, 1983. The library itself had to move into a small warehouse on Stickney Terrace where it did a limited business for a year and a half. Many books were stored in a trailer in the parking lot, along with a good deal of the furniture. On March 15, 1985 they closed their doors to move into the new quarters. Six weeks later, on April 22nd, the new building opened to the public and a Grand Opening ceremony was held on June 9th.

New services included the rental of videocassettes, public use of three microcomputers, compact discs, an on-line reference service, a business reference area, and a public meeting room that seats 100 people. In 1990 an additional meeting room was made out of the old children's room in memory of long-time library trustee Dorothy Little. In 1997 this room began to double as a senior citizens' drop-in center.

Library Director William Teschek switched back to the position of Assistant Director at the beginning of 1990 and Bradley A. Green was brought in as the new director. After three years he resigned and was replaced at the beginning of 1993 by Catherine M. Redden, a great-granddaughter of the first librarian S. Albert Shaw.

The library automated its circulation system and card catalog in December of 1992, using Data Trek software. In July of 1996 a new position, that of Reference/Internet Librarian, was created and filled by Bobb Menk, who proceded to bring about public access Internet services. By the spring of 1998 there were 27 computers connected to the library's main server, and these included 6 public access computers providing Internet access. An intranet was also created to facilitate library staff communication and training. Much local history and genealogy has been placed on the library's website and is used daily by people around the world. By 1998 the library's website numbered over 1000 pages, not including the 1000+ automatically generated genealogy pages, becoming one of the largest library sites in the state of New Hampshire. Local historian John Holman has been responsible for getting most of the local history on our website, and Glendale, California resident Dick Marston (descended from many of Hampton's early settlers) is responsible for the management of the library's genealogical database, which is available on the web through Rootsweb's WorldConnect website.

With the addition of more public access computers, the existing setup in the Dearborn Room was moved to the main public area between the Reference Room and the Circulation Desk. The Dearborn Room became a Teen Room under the supervision of Joanne Straight, who became Young Adult librarian. In late 2000 this new Teen room was discontinued due to excessive vandalism and the books moved into other areas of the library. In 2006 the Dearborn Room became the new location of the library's large print collection, as well as comfortable seating for general reading purposes.

In December 1998 the Data Trek automated circulation system was replaced by the "Library.Solution" system produced by The Library Corporation. This allowed the library to put its entire catalog on the Internet for the first time.

Another change that took place in late 1998/early 1999 was the introduction of full-time reference desk service. The library first began staffing a separate reference desk a few hours a week in 1995. In the Fall of 1998 it began to be staffed from 1:00 pm to closing each day, and this was expanded in February 1999 to include all open hours. The Reference staff, headed by Bobb Menk, included long-time staff members Joanne Straight (who doubled as the Young Adult librarian) and Alice Alford. The desk is also staffed from time to time by the Director, Assistant Director, and Children's Librarian. Indexing of the local newspapers was begun by the reference staff in mid-1999 and is available on the library's website.

The resignations of Reference/Internet Librarian Bobb Menk in June 2000 and Children's Librarian Beverly Vetter in August 2000 led to a redesign of the library's departmental structure. The library staff was split into four departments: Adult Services (adult circulation desk, collection development, adult programming), Children's Services (children's circulation desk, children's collection development, children's programming), Reference (adult reference and information services, inter-library loan) and Technical Services (computer, website and network management, cataloging). Four department heads reported to the Director. The part-time circulation staff was broken up so that some work primarily downstairs while the remainder work upstairs. Jean Keefe took over much of the responsibility for cataloging, supervised by Assistant Director Bill Teschek, who was made head of Technical Services.

By the summer of 2000 the library had 33 computers up and running around the building. Nine of these offered open Internet access to the public and usage averaged over 1000 people per month. By 2003 average usage was up to over 2100 per month. Actual book circulation went down in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but by 2002 had started to level off and slightly increase.

In the first few years of the 21st century we began to look into plans to renovate or expand the existing building, as our 1985 addition began to get more and more cramped. When it was constructed we told the town that it was good for another twenty years. That time period is now over. Burst heating pipes and a resulting small flood in the Children's Room in January 2004 enabled us to perform some renovations in that part of the building. Other, more minor renovations were made to the upstairs in early 2006, and automatic sliding doors were added to the main entrance that same year.

The Friends of the Lane Memorial Library once again became active in the early 2000s after several years of inactivity. Spurred on by Dot Gooby and other active Friends the group saw a resurgence that has led to a large membership. The Friends hold several book, bake and craft sales every year to raise money for library projects, and donate several hundred dollars every year towards the purchase of museum passes that offer library patrons free or reduced admittance to several area museums.

Wired and wireless Internet access for everyone has given turned the library into a popular spot for summer tourists and young adults from all over the world who have come to work at Hampton Beach for the summer. While children's programs and borrowing books remain the library's most popular services, Internet access has grown to become a critical service.

In the summer of 2007 long-time Library Director Catherine Redden was diagnosed with cancer and was out on leave for several months before tendering her resignation in early 2008. Assistant Director Bill Teschek was Acting Director until January when Interim Library Director Shirley Barron was brought in for four months to hold the position in anticipation of Catherine's return. When that return didn't happen Shirley moved on and Bill became Acting Director again until new Library Director Amanda Reynolds Cooper was hired. She had been Director of the Epping public library prior to coming to Hampton and began work here on June 16, 2008.

The library's Dearborn Room was renovated and renamed the Dearborn Redden Room in 2009 in memory of former Library Director Catherine Redden. Funded largely by a bequest from the late Richard Weston (and partly from the Friends of the Library) the library was able to install a wide-screen theater and sound system in our Wheaton J. Lane Meeting Room. Featuring a 110" screen, state-of-the art blu-ray projector and surround sound, the Weston Theater opened in late 2009 and was used to show popular adult and childrens movies when they were released in blu-ray and DVD.

Another change that took place in 2009 was moving the young adult/teen librarian, that then being Kirsten Corbett, from her position down on the desk in the Children's Room upstairs to the Reference Desk. A few months later some additional shelving was added to the main staff area, which allowed some collections to be shifted. The teen book collection was moved into the area formerly occupied by the adult reference collection. That collection, which has been shrinking of late due to so much now being available on the Internet, was moved to the end of the non-fiction collection. More changes in reference and young adult took place at the very end of 2010 when new carpeting was laid down in the former Reference, now young adult area, and a new reference desk was constructed a few feet away from the former location, bringing it within line of sight of the main circulation desk, and closer to the teen book collection. A long desktop unit was constructed in the former business reference area along the north wall of the library and five public computers and the microfilm reader were moved to that area.

LIBRARY DIRECTORS:

Simeon Albert Shaw 1881-1931
Margaret S. Noyes 1931-1967
Charlotte M. Hutton 1967-1980
William H. Teschek 1980-1990
Bradley A. Green 1990- Dec 1992
Catherine M. Redden Jan 1993-June 2007
William H. Teschek, Acting Library Director, June 2007-Jan 2008, May-June 2008, Dec 2008-Feb 2009
Shirley Barron, Interim Library Director, Jan-May 2008
Amanda L. Reynolds Cooper, June 2008-

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS:

The library has had an Assistant Librarian/Assistant Director since 1950.

Sadie Arnold 1950-1959
Lucy Hadley 1959-1971
Lucy B. Bume 1971-1974
Audrey C. Ross 1974-1979
William H. Teschek 1979-1980
Kathleen L. Dunbrack 1980-1986
Helen E. Skinner 1986-1989
William H. Teschek 1990-

CHILDREN'S LIBRARIAN:

Before 1979 the Assistant Librarian was usually also the Children's Librarian:

Kathleen L. Dunbrack 1979-1996
Margaret L. Gleeson 1996-1997
Beverly Vetter 1997-2000
Cynthia Stosse 2000-2006
Marybeth Varney 2006
Paulina Shadowens 2006-

OTHER LIBRARY STAFF:

Hilda Morse 1940's
Marion Leach pre 1957-1970
Patricia Noyes 1967-1972
Ruth Chilton 1971-1979
Rose Fisher 1973-1977
Ruth Ross 1974-1986
Bette Hawthorne 1974
Joan Kahl 1974-1998
Jean Keefe 1977-2006 (continued as a substitute until 2009)
Marie Sullivan 1978-95
Pamela Jautaikis 1979-1992
Helen Hobbs, 1979
Margaret Lovett 1979-1994, Bookkeeper
Laura Blizzard 1980-1984
Joanne Straight 1985-2001 (Reference Librarian 2000-2001)
Alice Alford 1986-2009
Joanne Mulready 1986-2012
Karen Weinhold 1987-92, 2008-
Regina Youngclaus 1987-1989
Kathleen Bonerb 1989-1992
Melissa Kubik 1992-1995
Mary Marshall 1992-1998
Karen Ryan 1995-1999 (Children's Department Aide)
Lori Steenson 1995-1996
Megan Kilburn 1995-1998
Barbara Chapman 1995-2009
Robert Menk 1996-2000 (Reference/Internet Librarian)
Sandra Kent 1998- (since 2006 as a substitute)
Charlene Carliell 1998-2001
Kelly Bucknam 1998-1999
Mary Twomey 1999-2013
Lynda Miller 1999-2002 (Children's Department Aide)
Jeanne Gamage 2000-2005 (Adult Services Librarian)
Elli Cyr 2001- (since 2014 as a substitute)
Stanley Olson 2001-2004 (Head of Reference Services), 2008-2013 (Substitute), 2013- (ILL Librarian)
Shelby Edwards 2002-2005 (Children's Department Aide)
Bonnie Gardner 2002-2005 (Substitute)
Mary Jo Murphy 2002-2003 (Substitute)
Janet Perkins 2002-2009 (Substitute)
Peter Blanchard 2002-2006 (Substitute)
Linda Leubner 2003
Dianne Karpman 2003-2004 (summers only)
Gene Fox 2003-2005 (Substitute)
Claudia Cyrus 2004-
Marija Sanderling 2004-2013 (Head of Reference Services)
Beverly Parker 2004-2006
Cheryl French 2005-2007 (Young Adult Librarian)
Darrell Eifert 2005- (Adult Services Librarian)
John Carlson 2005-2006
Janet Anderson 2006-2012
Isabel Danforth 2006-2008 (Cataloger/Assistant Technical Services Librarian)
Pam Schwotzer 2007-2008 (Substitute)
Kirsten Corbett 2007-2013 (Teen Services Librarian/Reference Librarian)
Matt Gunzelmann 2008-2010 (Library Page)
Jonathan Wurtz 2008 (Library Page)
Stacy Mazur 2008-2013 (Cataloger/Assistant Technical Services Librarian), 2013- (Teen Services Librarian)
Maureen Cullen 2008- (Substitute)
Wendy Rega 2009- (Assistant Children's Librarian)
Bob Rice 2009
Kathleen Hall 2009-  (Head of Circulation 2013-)
Kathy Faulkingham 2010-12
Shelley Chandler 2010-11 (Substitute and Library Page)
Jenny Tobler 2010-2011 (Substitute), 2011-2012 (Children's Department Aide)
Julie Gibb 2010-2013 (Children's Department Aide)
Millie Ellis 2010-2011 (Library Page)
Nicole Cico 2012-2013 (Substitute), 2013- (Children's Department Aide)
Liz Premo 2012-2013 (Substitute), 2013- (Children's Department Aide)
Irene Scaturro 2012-13 (Substitute)
Ben Muns 2012- (Library Page)
Kathryn McLaughlin 2012- (Substitute)
Deb Covert 2012-
Rose Hanley 2013- (Substitute 2013-4)
Betsey Davis 2013- (Substitute)
Carol McGrath 2013- (Substitute)
Lisa Beaudry 2013-
Kevin Robbitts 2013- (Technical Services Librarian)
Sharon Svirsky 2014- (Substitute)

TRUSTEES:

Simeon Albert Shaw 1881-1931
Dr. William T. Merrill 1881-1887, 1889-1891
George W. Brown 1881-1885, 1887-1888
George W. Lane 1882-1883
John H. Fogg 1885-1886
George B. Lamprey 1886-1887
Charles M. Batchelder 1887-1929
Willis A. Tucker 1891-1892
Charles P. Jackson 1892-1895
Rev. Edgar Warren 1905-1908, 1929-1939
Rev. John A. Ross 1910-1918
Wilbur E. Lamb 1918-1920
Horace M. Lane 1920
Sarah M. Lane 1921-1944
Otis Raymond Garland 1932-1946
Gratia G. Hill 1939-1944
Bernice G. Palmer 1944-1962
Ruth Perkins 1945-1951
Dr. Harold L. Pierson 1946-1966
Ruth S. True 1951-1960
Dorothea W. Stevens 1960-1966
Stillman M. Hobbs 1962-1976
Helene B. Harris 1966-1969
Dorothy M. Little 1966-1988
Helene Joiner 1969-1972
Anne H. Taylor 1972-1975
Martha C. Williams 1975-1978, 1986-1988, 1993-1994
Dorothy I. Ingram 1976-1980
Alan L. Mason 1978-1981
Barbara A. Reger Ryan 1980-1988
Catherine B. Anderson 1981-1999
Arthur J. Moody 1986-1989
Judith L. Straw 1986-1990
Jeremiah J. Lonergan 1988-1991, 1992-1993, 2000
Denyce C. Stellmach 1988-1994
Ruth G. Stimson 1989-1995
Gerald A. McConnell 1990-2000
Steven N. Haberman 1991-1992
Thomas E. Donaldson 1994-2000
James Inglis, Jr. 1994-1997, 1998-1999
Elizabeth Lavallee 1995-1998, alternate 2000-2004
Barbara Rallis 1997-2005
Mary Lou O'Connor 1999-2005
Judy Geller 2000-2007
Sara Casassa 2000-2009
Lenore Patton 2000-2005
Carol Russell, alternate 2002
Mary Lou Heran, alternate 2002-2005, member 2005-2013
Dorothy Gooby, alternate 2002-2007
Robert "Bob" Frese 2005-2009, alternate 2009-2010
Bridgit Valgenti 2005-2009
Linda Sadlock, alternate 2005-2007, member 2007-
Susan Hughes, alternate 2007-
Kris Sawyer, alternate 2008-2010
Debra Perry, alternate 2008-2009, member 2009-2012
Richard Larkin 2009 (resigned after 3 mos.)
Robert "Bob" Lamothe 2009-
Richard Laskey 2009-2010, alternate 2010-2012, member 2012-2013
Sunny Kravitz 2010-2012
Jim Mills, alternate 2011-2012
Mark Hughes 2012-
Diane Crow, alternate 2012-2013, member 2013-14, alternate 2014-
Rev. Deborah Knowlton, 2013-
Sharon Fontaine, 2014-
Dick Desrosiers, alternate 2014-

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