Submitted by Amanda L. Reynolds Cooper, Library Director
How did one of the busiest libraries in the state - we are routinely in the top 10% or better for number of library visits and materials loaned - spend its time this year? We circulated 172,518 items to 12,234 citizens of Hampton during 128,238 visits. In addition we rededicated the Dearborn Room as the Dearborn Redden room in honor of late Library Director Catherine Redden, weathered a flood and its aftermath on the lower level of the building, helped 347 children keep their reading skills sharp during our Summer Reading Program, hosted thousands of people in the Weston Theater for free movie programs, and celebrated the 100th year of the Lane Memorial Library building.
By the numbers:
|Circulated materials||172,518||(169,524 in 2009)|
|Visits||128,238||(127,211 in 2009)|
|Computer uses||28,139||(25,897 in 2009)|
|WI-FI uses||2,926||(1,968 in 2009)|
|Reference questions||8,632||(8,900 in 2009)|
|Special events||290||(190 in 2009)|
|Attendees||6,714||(4,104 in 2009)|
Routine maintenance as well as quality improvements were undertaken in 2010. The copper gutters and slate roof received much needed repairs, as did the carpeting and elevator floor after the failure of the sewage ejector system and subsequent flood in February. Safety and sound working environment plans led us to make several changes to our storage room. Components in our sprinkler and alarm systems required updates in 2010 as well.
We were fortunate to be able to invest in the Dearborn Redden Room improvements as well as making much needed updates to the Young Adult Area, Reference Area, and public use computers (described under Reference & Technology). The Dearborn Redden rededication was a chance to honor a past Director and friend now and forever, by including her name in the history of the building as well as the history of its administration. The two reading rooms in the 1910 building are graceful and peaceful - it was our aim to make the Dearborn Redden Room warm and welcoming. The Young Adult area gained some much needed definition and colorful, thematic carpeting. These are only the first of many changes we hope to effect in the YA Area to give those patrons a sense of space and ownership within the library.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the library building dedication highlighted the remarkable structure that is Hampton's public library. Reflecting on the building allowed us all a moment to appreciate the history that accompanies a place that has been in continuous use as the library for everyone in our community for a century. With care and maintenance this truly beautiful structure can continue to serve Hampton and celebrate its 200th anniversary remembering us as sage caretakers.
Collection & Lending
The expanding DVD offerings led us to consolidate and reorganize our magazine reading section to make new shelves available for the DVDs. Low use and space constraints helped us make the final decision to remove all books on tape.
We showed an overall increase in lending of nearly 2% but the runaway improvements were in some of our non-traditional offerings. The downloadable audio books and e-books, still a small subclass of our total collection and loans, increased nearly 41%. This downloadable service is made possible through the State Library and funded entirely, to-date, by patron donations. With an increase close to 41% this is a collection that we will continue to cultivate and promote. The shared resources of the State Library make this service affordable but also limited - our patrons currently wait for popular items along with patrons from 160 other libraries. As use of these materials grows that shared model may not be sustainable.
Another amazing performance in 2010 was the amount of use our museum pass program received. Funded entirely by the Friends of the Library, we circulate free or reduced price passes to area museums and attractions. This service saw a 30% increase this year. In total 545 people, families, friends or groups were able to enjoy a discounted trip to a museum.
Reference & Technology
The Reference Desk, as of the end of 2010, is now a prominent service desk, befitting the professionals who staff it, and arranged in a visible, functional manner that benefits the service to the entire first floor. The computer section, not planned for in the 1985 addition when personal computers were not in common use, gained dedicated space with a clear layout and eliminating the pieced together air it once had.
Overall computer use went up in 2010 but the standout service from this group is wireless access which increased close to 69%. More devices are available that can make use of WI-FI hotspots, patrons who hadn't previously used a wireless enabled laptop in the library may have found the service convenient in conjunction with their smart phones and other devices. We also continue to meet patrons who stop at the library expressly because it is an open hotspot which they find useful between business meetings, service calls, or other errands.
The library offered 100 more programs in 2010 than 2009 and 2,610 more people found their way to them. Nothing speaks to the success of the library in 2010 more than these numbers. The 290 programs and 6,714 participants are what make this library a living community space. The Weston Theater is a popular destination for our patrons and a gift that keeps on giving. In addition to a great many movies in 2010 the library participated in the Winnacunnet High School Career Fair, opened Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day with programming that enriched these holidays for our patrons, partnered with the Hampton Historical Society for an author book talk and the beginnings of the Hampton Oral History Project, held an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter tea party, partnered with the Congegational Church for a nondenominational series of lectures, and rode in the Hampton Holiday Parade. We also contined to offer those ongoing events that are the cornerstones of a library - we host 4 book groups, 3 storytimes, and 3 Summer Reading Programs.
Friends of the Library
The calendar for this group of volunteers is almost as full as the library's itself. The Marston School 1st grade book sales, the two full book sales, the multiple doll clothes sales, the Valentine Tea, the Red Sox Raffle, and lending a hand whenever it's needed are all annual events and 2010 was no exception. Add to this list participation in the Earth Day Fair at the book swap table, planning, promoting, and staffing the 100th building anniversary celebration alongside library staff, producing 3 newsletters to keep Friends members and the public informed of Friends and library activities and you'll wonder how they get it all done.
Their fundraising efforts generously contributed to the library in myriad ways in 2010. The Dearborn Redden renewal and the new Reference Desk would not have been possible without them. Those gifts and many others notwithstanding, the most noticeable contribution in 2010 was the new building sign. This sign adds a level of curb appeal and greatly increases our promotion abilities.
In as many ways and as many venues as possible the library would like to say thank you to our corps of 15 dedicated volunteers who take on many of our thankless, essential tasks for no more reward than knowing that they helped the library serve the community. This year our volunteers donated 2,199 hours or $24,192 worth of work. Thank you!
All of the remarkable increases the library has seen this year speak to a library that is current, that is providing standard materials, but is succeeding on the strength of giving the community more than just library standards. Examples of this can be seen in the remote downloadable access services, alternative lending such as the museum passes, and community programming from movies to author book talks. It is my pleasure to serve as Director for such a diverse library and it is my hope that the library, the staff, the Board of Trustees and I can continue this incredible tradition of service and innovation.
Amanda L. Reynolds Cooper,