Lane Library trustees are mixing the right ingredients

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An editorial from the Hampton Union, May 13, 2003

[courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The recipe for a successful warrant article goes like this: Make sure whatever you are asking money for is well run; keep the goals and costs reasonable; do at least some fund-raising to show you are willing to work for what you want; ask community members what their opinions are for the future of your project and listen to what they say; and be patient.

On all counts the trustees for the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton are following this recipe to a T as they have taken many of the right steps as they prepare to come to the town with a request for money to upgrade the library’s facilities. Libraries are a great indicator of the vitality of a community and the importance they place on not only intellectual pursuits, but also maintaining the heritage of the community.

Libraries, beyond being repositories for books are often times responsible for the safeguarding of many of the community’s important documents and historical data. Therefore, it is important for communities to support their libraries even if they do not often use them.

It is also incumbent upon public libraries and all others who make a request for additional funding from the community to ensure that they do so with the community’s ideals and interests in mind. By doing so the library or other entity will ensure that the proposal they bring forward will match the expectation of community members and what they feel they are willing to financially support.

The trustees of the Lane Library, by sending out a survey to residents on their planned upgrades, are ensuring that they and others in the community are on the same page. In their survey, the trustees ask taxpayers what they view are the library’s needs, what the current facility lacks, and what direction the renovations should take. In doing so the trustees are giving a great amount of control over this issue to their patrons and will be able to develop a plan that accurately reflects what the community is willing to support.

To this end we would also suggest to all residents of Hampton, whether you are a regular user of the library or not, to go to the library and pick up a survey. Let them know how you believe the library should grow and be improved.

Beyond information-gathering the library is also in the process of raising much of the $1 million it will need on its own. Such a display of effort should prove to the community that the trustees and other supporters of the library truly believe in what they are doing and that supporting the future of the library is important.

We would also like to point out that the Lane Library is very well run. Its resources are put to good use, well maintained, and thorough. Not all communities are able to say that they possess a library as vibrant and relevant as in Hampton.

While we have not yet seen the library’s proposal for its improvements, the process leading to that proposal deserves our support and recognition. The effort put in should also be considered as residents go to vote on a potential warrant article for the library at next year’s Town Meeting.

Library clarifies editorial to community members

A letter to the editor from Lenore Patton, Trustee Chair, the Hampton Union, May 16, 2003

The Trustees of the Lane Memorial Library were very pleased to read the editorial in support of the library in Tuesday's Hampton Union. We have tried to be cautious and deliberative in our planning and decision making. We always keep in mind that the library belongs to all the people of Hampton and that we are merely caretakers. That is why we decided to involve the community in the planning of our renovation and improvement project. We are gratified by the response to our survey and the strong support we are receiving from respondents.

In order to be certain that all in the community understand our plans thus far, we would like to clarify two points that were mentioned in your editorial. Although we do not yet have an accurate estimate for the project, we do expect the total cost of the renovations to be below the $1,000,000 figure you mentioned. However, although we plan to continue private fund-raising so that the Hampton voters do not have to bear the complete cost of the project, we do not expect to be able to raise the bulk of the money privately. We do promise to do our best to make the burden on the residents as light as possible, but it is far too early to determine the extent of our private contributions.

Hampton residents who have questiones or who would like to comment about this project are encouraged to contact any of the library Trustees. Working together, we can insure that the Lane Memorial Library continues to serve the needs of all our citizens for many generations to come.

Lenore Patton

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