By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Milan Švec (holding a pastry) and Peter Užovic, both
from Slovakia, pose for a picture with library staff
member Linda Leubner during the library's first
International Patrons Day.
HAMPTON - Lane Memorial Library celebrated the rich diversity of the community’s summer population last week, with coffee and cold drinks, light snacks and gifts - pens and key chains - during the first International Patrons Day at the library.
"The idea was because we have so many kids and adults coming here from overseas, we wanted to acknowledge them," said library Director Catherine Redden.
She credited Adult Services Librarian Jeanne Gamage and volunteer John Holman as being instrumental in establishing International Patrons Day, which was held all day Thursday.
Redden pointed out that the library also hired a summer employee this year to deal with the people who visit. Linda Luebner was hired and started a Monday-evening conversational language group, which meets weekly to practice Spanish.
The group includes Spanish-speaking kids and local students who take Spanish in school.
"They practice Spanish every week, they teach each other Spanish and English, and it’s been very successful," Redden said.
A world map tacked to the wall near the library entrance offered visitors an opportunity to identify their home countries. Dozens of push pins have been planted in areas such as Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa, Canada, the British Isles as well as nearly every European country and throughout the United States.
Reference Librarian Stan Olson noted that the library received a grant from Sam’s Club to purchase compact discs that teach the English language. The library uses these software programs to help foreign kids improve their English.
He said the library sees an average of 3,000 users sign on to the library computers each month during the summer. During the off season, that number drops to 2,100 a month.
"We get over 100 sign-ups a day during the summer, and a lot of those are by foreign kids keeping in touch with their families abroad," Olson said. He added that the library gives out dozens of special three-month library cards to visitors during the summer.
"With this event, we just wanted to recognize that significant percentage of the population that visits and works here during the summer," Olson said.