Submitted by Amanda L. Reynolds Cooper, Library Director
By the numbers
The full collection of the library in 2011 totaled 70,012 titles. Over the course of the year 5,191 titles were added and 3,802 titles were removed. There were 12,234 registered borrowers last year.
|Circulated materials||181,486||(172,518 in 2010)|
|Visits||132,541||(128,238 in 2010)|
|Computer uses||27,347||(28,139 in 2010)|
Total Computer uses
|(2,926 in 2010)
(31,065 in 2010)
|Reference questions||8,088||(8,632 in 2010)|
|Reference database uses||32,635||(37,592 in 2010)|
|Special events||301||(290 in 2010)|
|Attendees||7,418||(6,714 in 2010)|
Libraries as quiet places are also assumed to have quiet, uneventful existences. In a library that began 130 years ago with 900 items and today houses just over 70,000 items it is safe to say that no single year has been uneventful. With that said 2011 brought some unexpected and remarkable changes, most notably to the staff and the infrastructure of the building.
Joanne Mulready, Children's Services Assistant, retired from the ranks of the library on September 1st. She celebrated 25 years of service in June and during her time here was the "storyhour lady" for literally hundreds of Hampton children. Her career saw four Library Directors and six Heads of Children's Services. As children and their families have adjusted to not seeing Miss Joanne they've met several of the Children's Services staff in their new, advanced positions. Wendy Rega, Jenny Tobler, Julie Gibb, and Shelley Chandler all took on additional duties and hours on the heels or Joanne's departure.
With the help and hard work of Dick Desrosiers and the Hampton Energy Committee the library has three brand new boilers for the first time since the library expansion in 1985. Mr. Desrosiers and the HEC identified a program through the Rockingham Planning Commission to assess our current building needs. They then assisted the library with the bidding process, identified the vendor that would supply the new boilers and helped secure a rebate from the utility company as well.
When the library wasn't receiving new heavy duty HVAC equipment it was adding to the aesthetics of the building. The work that began in 2009 to create a gallery and theater space within the Wheaton J. Lane meeting room was finally completed in 2011 with the addition of secure hanging devices, exhibition quality lighting, and an appropriate wall color scheme to offset the artwork. The Weston Theater & Galley has hosted three artists since opening in October: photo journalist Ivan Massar and landscape painters Jane Sutherland and Catherine DePentima. The already bright and cheerful Children's Room added some new friends in the addition of a mural of woodland creatures created and painted by Tom Poirier. The work was funded by the Friends of the Library and is being expanded to more walls in 2012.
Collection & Technology
For several years now one sub-collection of the library has managed to achieve an annual increase in circulation far above any other. In 2011 that collection was the Young Adult section. Midway through 2009 the YA collection was re-housed in a more visible and inviting location and at the end of 2010 it was given a mini makeover with the addition of a new free standing shelf for audio books and new carpeting. In addition to the careful material selection by Young Adult Librarian Kirsten Corbett these changes brought about a 29% increase in use over 2010. This increase demonstrates one of the library's growing strengths and helps in planning for growth and continued improvements.
In 2011 the library presented and the voters approved a warrant article whose funds were directed to the purchase of media and support of programs. With these funds approximately 900 book titles were added to the collection as well as 2 online databases. The entire cost of the annual subscriptions of the library's magazine collection was also paid from these funds. Several additional Summer Reading Program events were possible for the youngest patrons including back-to-back presentations from the Boston Museum of Science and singers Judy Pancoast and Steve Blunt. The library was also able to host award-winning classical guitarist Peter Fletcher for our adult patrons.
In addition to the library's print offering there are also a number of online resources including the 2011 acquisition of Transparent Language. Transparent Language is an online learning system accessible via the library's website that offers instruction in over 80 languages. This system enables the library to provide the most current language information for patrons in more languages than could be housed physically within the building as dictionaries and audio CDs.
After several years of replacing and upgrading the public computer workstations a few at a time the library was able to simultaneously purchase 14 refurbished computers all running the Windows 7 operating system. This major improvement has had a positive effect on patrons' experiences with the workstations. The newer machines are also more compact giving the cramped work tables a bit more room.
Staff DevelopmentThe staff of the library meet regularly to share ideas, solve problems and discuss ways to improve library service. In 2011 there were several additional opportunities for the staff to expand their skills. Courtesy of the Hampton Fire Department all of the staff received their recertification in CPR, a course taken every other year. The staff also received specific training from State Technology Resources Librarian Bobbi Slossar on ebook readers and the NH ebook consortium download service. Finally, in conjunction with the Seacoast Libraries Cooperative the library hosted customer service Training Developer Anne Washburne from L.L. Bean who spoke on the key elements of good service.
What did the library offer during the 301 programs of 2011? Highlights included:
- Storytimes, both traditional offerings and special events
- Summer Reading Programs for all ages
- Book Groups for all ages
- Movies, movies, movies
- Gaming events for kids of all ages and National Gaming Day
- Visits to and from area schools
We also hosted:
- Kids Knitting Class
- NaNoWriMo, otherwise know as National Novel Writing Month programs
- Kids Zumba
- Young Adult Library Service (YALS) Conference
- Halloween Costume Swap
- MLK Day Concert
- Imperial Russian Faberge Eggs, a NH Humanities Council presentation
- "Discovering Roots" Genealogy Workshop by the Locke Family Association
Volunteers & Friends
As ever, the Friends of the Library and the excellent corps of library volunteers brought wonderful additions to the library this year. Annual favorite events that also happen to provide funds for the Friends such as the book sales, doll clothes sales, and Red Sox ticket raffle ran without a hitch. The sweet and dear Valentine's Tea was in danger in 2011 of not being hosted, lacking leadership for the event, but new Friends members stepped forward and the "sold out" event proceeded with much enjoyment.
From their funds this year the Friends purchased the SEE Science Center Museum Pass. This pass is an excellent addition to our Friends funded pass program, An entire household is admitted free to this hands-on learning center regardless of the number of people in the family. The library is also able to now offer Wowbrary, a web service that will regularly inform patrons by email or RSS of the library's newest items thanks to the Friends financial support (for more information visit http://www.wowbrary.org/signup.aspx). Lastly the beautiful new outdoor sign received a much needed tweak: evening lighting for the long NH winters.
In 2011 volunteers donated 2,247 hours of their time for which the library can not thank them enough. In shelving and processing books, in indexing the Hampton Union for our database, and in various special projects these volunteers have given $24,717.00 worth of labor. One special volunteer, a jack-of-all trades as far as library tasks was concerned, left us this year for Tupelo, MS. Sharon Chang volunteered for the library for 4 years. The library wishes her well in her new home, Lane's loss is Lee County Library's gain.
Amanda L. Reynolds Cooper,