Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
A year of Change
Have you visited the library lately? 1998 has been a year of changes striving to serve the Town of Hampton to the best of our ability. Our biggest accomplishment after 118 years of existence is the establishment of a Reference Department in September. Bobb Menk was hired originally as our Internet /Reference Librarian in 1996. This year, the Internet portion of his job is under control and the Reference part now takes precedence. We already had two part time staff with Masters Degrees doing some reference work and they became the nucleus of the Department. Now, every day that we are open, there will be a professional at the Reference Desk from 1 p.m. to closing as Beverly, Bill and I take turns with Bobb, Alice and Joanne S. In order to do this it was necessary to juggle staff and duties and thus the change from 2 Circulation Desks to 1 also occurred in September. In addition to Reference, Bobb is now offering 2 computer classes to the public on alternating weeks, held on Wednesday evenings from 8 - 9 p.m. Call Bobb to sign up for Web Browser basics or Basic Internet Searching.
The last service change occurred in December with a change in circulation systems. Last year we learned that our previous vendor would no longer support the system we had beyond February of 1999. Bill and Bobb spent the rest of 1997 into 1998 investigating other vendors' products, and in December of this year a new system was installed. Customers will notice an increase in the speed of check ins and check outs, and will receive an automatic printout of each transaction. Those of you with Internet Access may also see the library's catalog on the web. You can now search our holdings from the comfort of your home! Genealogists from other parts of the country can now discover what we have in the library and plan to actually visit us to use our materials.
In February Library Assistant Megan Kilburn left us much to our chagrin for a full-time job with benefits. Sandra Kent was hired and brings years of personnel experience and her warm friendliness to the Circulation Desk. The start up of the Reference Department had us hiring Charlene Carliell in September to assist in staffing the Circulation Desk. Children's Room Assistant Mary Marshall moved out of commuting range in October and Kelly Bucknam, a UNH student, was hired as her replacement. Joan Kahl, longtime head of circulation, floored everyone with her announced retirement date of December 31st! She will be missed by both staff and customers, especially those to whom she delivers books in the Dearborn House.
The elected Trustees of the Library are Catherine Anderson, Tom Donaldson, James Inglis, Jerry McConnell, and Barbara Rallis. The Trustees meet monthly excepting July and August on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 9 o'clock a.m. in the New Hampshire Room. One project, started this fall by Barbara Rallis, is initiating a new Friends of the Library Group. The organizational meeting will be 2 p.m. on January 17th, a Sunday afternoon.
Two projects contemplated for late 1999 or early 2000 are the reopening of the Winnacunnet Road entrance and the moving of the Reference Room. When the Town is fully in the bank building next door, then a change in the front entrance so that people could access either building from that parking lot makes sense. As we continue to grow out of the upstairs space, a plan for moving Reference and possibly the computers too down to the Wheaton Lane Room would give Reference more room and allow the upstairs collection to expand. When Reference moves downstairs, then the Seniors will have to give up their room to the Children's story hours