By Liz Premo
Atlantic News, Thursday, August 14, 2003
HAMPTON - The Lane Memorial Library will be celebrating some very special summer patrons next week when the staff holds an International Day reception on the afternoon of Thursday, August 21.
"We identified in the summer of 2002 that many of our patrons were here on [three-month] student visas," explains Adult Services Librarian Jeanne Gamage. "The idea [for the reception] came from a volunteer who thought it would be kind of interesting."
According to Head of Reference Services, Stan Olson, "a fair number of people" working at local businesses here in the Seacoast area are from far-away lands such as Thailand, Russia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Canada, among others. Their countries of origin are indicated by pushpins stuck into a map that is on display near the library's entrance.
This international group of patrons, says Gamage, "use the library to access their e-mail and keep in touch with people back home." She goes on to reveal that the library's foreign visitors are responsible for "3000 computer uses in July," averaging "100 or more" log-ins every day for that month.
On another international note, all visitors to the library this summer have had the opportunity to meet Linda Luebner, who was hired to fill a part-time position created especially for an individual with foreign language abilities. Luebner, who speaks Spanish, began a weekly "Cultural Exchange" conversation group where participants can sharpen both their English and Spanish skills. The group meets every Monday evening from 6-8 p.m., and Gamage reports that the program "has been quite successful."
The International Day reception is hosted by library staff, who have appreciated being able to serve Hampton's foreign visitors. Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon and evening, and the library's international guests will be given "something for them to take home," says Gamage, including Lane Library key chains, pens, and "Caribbeaner" clips, among other items.
"This reception invites anyone who comes from another country to stop in," says Gamage.
The International Day reception will take place on Thursday, August 21 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. For more information, contact Jeanne Gamage at 926-3368.