Submitted by Catherine Redden, Library Director
2004 was the year of THE FLOOD. January 15, 2004 will be long remembered as the day the cleaning service found broken pipes flooding the Children's Room during one of the coldest spells of the winter. Two separate overhead heating units, independent of each other and for different reasons, had pipes burst on the same night. Thanks to the incredibly quick response of the Fire Department who shut off the water, it was not as bad as it might have been. It truly was a fortuitous disaster.
From the calamity, we ended up with a better than ever Children's Room. The entire Children's Room collection and furniture was crowded into the meeting room and area libraries opened their doors and their collections to Hampton's children. An inventory was done to find out what had to be replaced and residents opened their personal collections to help fill the void caused when wet books had to be discarded. Because the carpeting downstairs was all installed at the same time in 1985, we were able to replace the entire downstairs floor with a mildew resistant carpet, something long needed. The Children's Room was painted a bright cheery yellow. The Friends of the Library donated primary color seating to coordinate with the new carpet. The Circulation Desk was replaced, as was some shelving and computer tables. Many volunteers freely gave of their time to help move the books and equipment back into the room and the Children's Room reopened for business in March.
During 2004 the Lane Memorial Library continued a busy year, circulating 175,769 items, in over 138,604 visits by residents and visitors to the library. We loaned 986 items out to other NH libraries and borrowed 538 items for Hampton residents. We registered 1,125 new patrons. Computer use hit a new high with 28,285 uses.
Adult Services noticed the correlation between extreme cold weather and lower circulation last winter. Jeanne Gamage's programming throughout the year included a monthly book discussion group, a writing group, a diabetes support group, two programs in collaboration with the Hampton Historical Society on Celia Thaxter and the Isles of Shoals, outreach programs at the Dearborn House, and a movie series. Through a local connection we were able to host Dr. Eric White, Bridwell Library Curator at Southern Methodist University. Dallas, Texas, for a well attended talk on the historical art perspective of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. Staff Barbara Chapman, Sandra Kent, Elli Cyr, Claudia Cyrus, and Mary Twomey were assisted in the summer by Diane Karpman, our seasonal library aide, in dealing with over 3,000 plus customers each summer month. During the year we partnered, at no cost, with AARP in a program that has AARP paying minimum wage to adults moving back into the work force. Beverly Parker, our first participant, has participated in weeding and other bibliographic tasks that assist people to have access to the resources they need for recreation and life long learning.
Children's Services coped magnificently with the flood and aftermath. Cindy Stosse, Joanne Mulready and Shelby Edwards worked long, hard, uncomfortable hours in the crowded Wheaton Lane Room from January into March, inventorying and assessing the flood damaged books and finding replacements, either through ordering new copies, finding gently used copies, or from the generosity of patrons who donated their own books to replenish the collection. They were ably assisted by the Mormon Elders who volunteer regularly in the Children's Room and who mustered a team of local elders to assist in painting the room. The summer reading program, Check Out a Hero, was popular and included heroes from animal rescue, the State Police, and local heroes. Scholastic Book Fairs, managed by Joanne Mulready, earned new books for the Children's Room and provided parents and relatives with an inexpensive way to encourage their children's love of books. The excitement about the annual Polar Express party was helped with all the publicity for the debut of the Tom Hanks movie. The staff looks forward to an uneventful and hopefully warmer winter.
Reference Services experienced both a loss and an addition. Stan Olson left in January to take a job closer to home. Marija Sanderling, with lots of NH experience, was hired as Head of Reference Services. She quickly learned the use of the hand held bar code scanner and began a long needed electronic inventory of the collection. She is participating in an ongoing weeding project, removing outdated sources of information and replacing them with updated and more accurate items. You can find examples of Marija's expertise in the many brochures she assembles for patrons, from how the electoral college works to how to help prevent the spread of flu. Alice Alford continues to add her expertise to the Reference Department and oversees the acquisition of all of the newspapers and magazines.
Technical Services with Bill Teschek and Jean Keefe continued maintaining and upgrading the library's computers, improving the library website and cataloging all the new materials. We changed our Internet Service Provider in March to G4 Communications. The website has been revamped and made more accessible to the public. Bill added a public hub for people bringing in their laptops and it has seen up to three people at a time working from it. Computer use broke new records in June, a month earlier than the usual records. The Lane Memorial Library's web site was listed as one of the top thirteen genealogical web sites in the United States, being included with sites such as the Genealogical Society of Utah - Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Library of Congress!
The Friends of the Library have truly established themselves as a working support for the library this year. They volunteered many hours in getting the Children's Room back to functioning, as well as buying furniture to replace what was destroyed in the flood. They held a book and bake sale and inaugurated a wreath sale at the holidays. Their popular book bags sold out and a new stock is now in. They're close to achieving their 501C3 status after hours of paperwork and membership keeps growing. Thank you, everyone!
Trustees Report: The Lane Memorial Library Board of Trustees is very grateful to the community this year for the support they showed in the wake of the flood in the Children's Room. Board members Lenore Patton, Sara Casassa, Judy Geller, May Lou O'Connor, Barbara Rallis, and alternates Dot Gooby and May Lou Heran all worked with the Friends of the Library in their fundraising book sales and bake sales. The trustees continue to move forward with plans for a library renovation based on a survey of the needs of the community.
Library Director, Catherine Redden enjoys sharing information about Hampton with Australian visitors on a Parts and Recreation Group Study Exchange.