Report To The Board of Sherman Free Library
February, 2023, Q1
Prepared by Kris Jarrett
General Library News:
Things have been busy! With help from Sue, Gail, Janelle, and Barbara, I am now feeling comfortable with day-to-day operations of the library and CEF/Horizon systems. With the basics mostly under control, I am looking forward to expanding the library’s offerings in 2023 through programming, community events, outreach, and by continuing to offer top quality service to our patrons.
Total Patron Interactions:
November, 2022: 128
December, 2022: 157
January, 2023: 248
Social Media & Web Presence:
We have a new Facebook page, and it’s getting some decent attention!
Due to the method used to create the initial page being disallowed by Meta, we no longer had top-level access to that account. The simplest thing, and really the only thing we could do, was to start fresh. Although we still have a little work to do to reclaim all of our followers (though I would venture to guess that a large number of our ‘old’ followers are no longer active) we are making good headway with a series of historic photo posts and general library updates. I have been cross-posting the history content to a few active FB Groups, and reception has been enthusiastic. Please find our new page here: www.facebook.com/shermanfreelibraryporthenry and help spread the word if you are a Facebook person.
Going forward I recommend that we establish both a YouTube and Instagram account to reach a wider audience and allow us to post a wider variety of media.
When placing a reorder for patron cards it was noticed that we have a website printed on the card, yet it was not registered or developed. I have secured the registration and placed a simple landing page at that URL. Registration costs are $12 per year for www.shermanfreelibrary.com. More work will be done soon on this page.
With help from Rose at the Town Office I have gained access to edit our page on the Moriah town site. Outdated items have been removed, hours updated, new social links added, et cetera. www.porthenrymoriah.com/living-here/about/sherman-free-library
Thank you to Janelle for her assistance with the report thus far as we have been able to make a decent first pass and now have a good handle on what data still needs to be collected and tabulated. The report is due at the end of this month, and over the coming week I will be working with David at CEF to pull the necessary reports from Horizon, working with Janelle on financial numbers, and the library records to gather the remaining information.
I have begun to implement a few new data collection methods with an eye towards making next year’s report process even smoother.
Staffing & Personnel:
With myself and Barabara, and Ronnie and Karen stepping in for an occasional day, we are well staffed. I will be leaving for a vacation covering most of the last week of February and the first week of March, and Barbara (who is currently on vacation) will be covering my usual hours. I plan to be available by phone and email should questions arise during that time.
2023 Events & Programming:
I would ask the board to help set out our events schedule for 2023, including things such as books sales, raffles, and other fundraising events/community events we wish to hold this year. As we look at dates and which events will be held in 2023, we should also be thinking of volunteers to assist with work on planning and implementation.
As we are soon to approach the voters and request funding through the school budget, I would like to be able to present a full calendar of events as well as a few new programmatic offerings such as…
I have left this as an open question for discussion, including with our community. I would like to circulate a survey to see what type of programming (and thoughts about the library’s services in general) our community members would like to see from us.
In addition to soliciting community ideas, I have been looking back through prior programming files and have some ideas to be looked into further including youth and senior programing, collaborations with other institutions, films, speakers/talks, and off-site programs.
I would like to host a Spring Clean Up Day for which we invite the community to volunteer some time at the library and tackle tasks such as spring yard clean up, deeper cleaning and maintenance projects, and, like it or not, the basement. I would love to have enough hands to remove a few loads of trash from the basement, as we have stacks of rotting books and other materials down there that should go to the dump. With the board's approval, I will approach the town about possibly loaning a truck/trailer and perhaps comping our transfer station fees. I also have a flatbed trailer which could be used if a larger truck is not available.
As you look around the library you will notice some changes to the layout of the space. I have been working to open and widen walkways to allow better flow and accessibility for patrons and staff, as well as a cleaner and more organized look in a challengingly small physical space.
The computer work station area has been reorganized, with two stations moved to the front wall, allowing for a much more open floor plan on that side of the front room. The third computer will be set up in another location to serve, when needed, as a research computer with more space for materials. This newfound open space can be used for temporary exhibits either of our own development, or from partner institutions such as Lake Champlain Basin Program, Moriah Historical Society, and others. This space being more open will also allow for shifting of tables and seating for events such as speakers, films, or other presentations requiring a screen and projector.
In addition to moving some furniture around, I have been doing a fair bit of cleaning and organizing, both to clean things up, and to familiarize myself with what is in the library.
In an effort to maintain a high level of cleanliness I will develop a weekly and monthly maintenance schedule.
A project I plan to put an estimate of costs together for soon is to improve the lighting, specifically in the back room, in the stacks. The prior system of small incandescent lamps needs to be replaced, and with modern LED strip lights, it will be a very accessible project for us with low expenses and relatively simple installation.
Long long term I would like the board to start pondering the possibility of installing a patron accessible restroom. Not having an accessible restroom will limit our ability to conduct public programming, especially children’s programming. I do not currently have a solution for where such a room would go, but it’s worth beginning to think of solutions.
Do we wish to continue the late fee hiatus?
I could use some direction on the procedure to follow up on late, unreturned, or lost books. Specifically, how much work do we put into tracking down funds owed to us.
As I have been learning the scope of our collections, both in book form and ephemera/other printed material, I have been doing a bit of scanning and digitization of items which are likely unique. As you know, the library houses a wonderful collection of photographs, maps, guide books, and other printed material focused on local history and events. For those with interest, I am happy to share what has been digitized. I will also be working on a plan to review what our priorities for digitization should be and what forms of storage and public accessibility make sense for us.
I plan to meet with Betty at the Iron Museum/Historical Society archives soon so that I have a better idea of what is held down there, and how we can jointly utilize our collections for programs and to improve public access to historical information, images, and objects.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the board for your support of the library, and for offering me the opportunity to help continue our 136 years of service to the local community.