Director's Report October, 2023
Report To The Board of Sherman Free Library
Prepared by Kris Jarrett
Social Media & Web Presence:
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/shermanfreelibraryporthenry) continues to be our primary means of sharing the library’s collections and activities outside of in-person visits. We are also seeing some traction on Instagram, though its shorter format is not nearly as useful for our history posts. (https://www.instagram.com/shermanfreelibrary/).
Social Numbers Snapshot:
Current Facebook Numbers: 253 likes, 331 followers
Instagram Followers to Date: 64
Facebook Reach, Last 28 days:
Post reach: 3,221
Post engagement: 3,192
New Page likes: 7
New Page Followers: 8
Policies, Policies, Policies:
A little while back it came to the attention of not just us, but most libraries in the system, that we are now required to make available online a large number of policy documents. This is a new requirement under NYS Education law; no longer is it acceptable to simply have these documents available for inspection at the library. We already had many, either completed and approved or in draft form, and over the last few months have been building out that section of www.shermanfreelibrary.com
Currently we have board approved documents for the following topics posted:
Board Meeting Time/Locations
Draft and Final Board Meeting Minutes
Open Meeting Policy (matches NYS template)
Safe Child Policy
Patron Behavior Policy (also posted in the building)
Computer/Internet/WiFi Use Policy
Donations Policy (basic policy for books and media, see also: Collection Development Policy )
Freedom to Read (not required by law, but was adopted by the board into General Policy)
Library Bill of Rights (not required by law, but was adopted by the board into General Policy)
Recording and Broadcasting Public Portions of Meetings
Bulletin Board Policy
As well as the following required information:
Library street address
Library website address
Library telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address
Listing of the days and the hours when the library is open to the public
Brief description of the library (e.g., roles, mission)
Listing of the services offered to the public and who is eligible to use them
We still need to finalize or write, gain board approval for, and post the following:
Requirements to Obtain a Library Card (seeking board approval tonight)
Request for Reconsideration of Material Form (seeking board approval tonight for addition of residency requirement)
Budgets (in draft for 2024, need to learn how many years back are required)
Updated General Library Policies document (currently being edited, have older version needing many updates)
Annual Report to the Community (will write one for ‘23, published in ‘24)
Confidentiality of Library Records (will be in General Library Policies document)
Disaster Response Policy (have outdated draft)
Collection Development Policy (have outdated draft)
Code of Ethics Policy
Personnel Policy (will be in General Library Policies document)
Financial Controls: Purchasing/Procurement Policy and Petty Cash Policy (will be in General Library Policies document)
Conflict of Interest Policy
The good news is that we are well into the process of coming into compliance with these new laws, we are not alone in needing a bit more time to be fully compliant, and the libraries of CEF are working together to help each library start each document with a solid template.
We have received three volumes of essays and genealogy by J. Gregory McHone: John Gregory of Vermont, John Wasson of Witherbee, and The Spring Family in America. Mr. McHone is the grandson of Charles A. and Emma Spring.
Two DVD’s of history interviews conducted by Brian Venne with local miners and a DVD of ~1950’s mine footage have been added to the collection.
The Miners Sculpture Committee donated a beautiful book of photos, history, and the story of bringing the miners sculpture to Port Henry, Miners Remembered. This book will become part of our in-house collection.
Digitization has been completed for the following major items since my last report:
“Leather Flower Album”, Sherman Free Library Collection
Collection of Port Henry sheet music loaned for scanning by Tom Trow
Photograph album, "No. 2 Cedar Point Blast Furnace Construction 1922-1923," Earl Charles Henry, photographer, Sherman Free Library Collection
Photo and Document Album: Witherbee and Sherman Crown Point Land Transfer, Sherman Free Library Collection
“Album 7” Short History of Iron Mines with Four Maps, by Brennen, 1990, Sherman Free Library Collection
“Witherbee and Sherman Photo Album with Cuba”
In Progress/On Deck: Woodbridge Scrapbooks B, C, D, early library record books, bound yearbooks, postcards, and much more.
It remains my hope that we will soon have an online home for these digitized documents making them available to a much wider audience.
We have continued to add yearbooks to our digital collection thanks to loans from the Historical Society. Our digital collection now includes: The Bulwaggian 1927, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 49, and 51, The Lode 1938, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, and Sherman Collegiate Institute yearbook for 1944. More will be added to this archive, fully available online via Facebook, as we digitize more of the books in our collection and at the Historical Society. What has been done thus far are the staple-bound volumes which can be scanned on the flatbed scanner. Yet to be digitized are those with a true binding which need to be photographed rather than scanned; a process which takes more time and attention.
I have been in touch with the Regents Office with the hope of obtaining a copy of our original library charter document. Unfortunately, back in the 19th century, they made only one copy and it was turned over to the library. At this point, having combed through all the library records that have shown themselves, it may be concluded that the original was lost in the fire. What the Regents Office did find in their archives and sent along to us are the pages of their log books from when the charter was issued. We now have that in our records along with the amendments made to the charter over the years.
I have located and scanned the formation documents for Friends of Sherman Free Library. In the event that we wish to restart that organization, the paperwork is at hand.
A document has come to light that was prepared in 2006 by artwork appraiser Edward Comstock. This document lists artwork, photo albums, and objects in the library collection that were deemed valuable enough to be appraised for insurance. Included in this list are a few items which have not been located recently:
– Trophy cup, 1919, two-handled, "Derby Silver Plate” For "Decorated Town Floats", won by Town of Moriah
– Sword, staff and field officer's, mid-late 19th century, 38" LOA, etched straight blade,
brass grip and shield with eagle design, wire wrapped hilt. Maker's mark (a helmet and
sword, "F" and "D" on opposite sides) unidentified. Steel scabbard with brass mounts, with protective leather bag. Condition good. Provenance unknown.
If anyone has knowledge of the location of these items of what may have happened to them between 2006 and today, that information should be entered into the collections record.
Also missing is the flag, but I have learned that it was taken to a frame shop which subsequently lost and/or unintentionally destroyed the remaining pieces of the flag. Given the poor shape it was reported to be in at the time of this appraisal, I find that story unfortunate but likely accurate.
Events & Programming:
As a follow-up to our Evening at the Library talk, John Neggia, local WWII veteran, returned to the library and recorded an oral history interview on his time before, during, and returning from the war.
Evening at the Library IV: Aquatic Invasive Species with Lauren Jenness, LCBP, was held on Thursday, August 24th at 6 pm. We had very light attendance, despite more promotion, showing clearly that local history and a talk by a person known to the community may give us our larger turnouts. Despite only a handful of folks in attendance, we talked about invasive species and lake health in general and how the library can be part of education efforts to protect Lake Champlain and the watershed.
The library will be open on Halloween evening until 7 with spooky treasures for thick-or-treaters. The firehouse will also be open, and hopefully it can be a night to bring younger families into the library, if only to see what is available to them. We have Halloween/Fall Books and coloring sheets out and available.
Air Conditioning: As of this writing we are still awaiting information from Champlain Plumbing & Heating to help make our decision on a heat pump system or a standard AC system. Once we know more on how that will work, we can file for the grant.
Fire Alarm System: I believe we were going to think a bit more on the choice between just what we have now for a fire alarm system vs incorporating an entry alarm into the system. Please refer to the two quotes submitted by Impact Fire.
The Basement: We had two flooding events this summer, the worst of which gave us about six inches of water which took a few days to drain away. There is no sump pump in the basement. At least one well and pump should be added in the near future. The water caused a large mold bloom in the restroom necessitating the emergency removal of wet drywall and insulation. It was discovered that no provisions for moisture had been made when the restroom was framed in, with standard drywall and non-pressure treated lumber being used in contact with the wet floor. The sill and half of the studs were found to be fully rotted out and the black mold was extensive. Drywall was removed halfway up, the sill was replaced by a pressure treated 2x4, and the outer drywall replaced with cement board with a gap left for airflow. No interior drywall was replaced allowing for better airflow and inspection of the walls. This work was done by an outside contractor and the total price was $815 and has been paid in full. There is still a little work to be done; removing more rotted wood and installing a door of some kind; things we can do in-house.
Front Door: We have had a locksmith evaluate the door situation and a quote for handle replacement will be arriving shortly. The round knob is broken and needs to be replaced, which gives us the opportunity (and requirement) to replace it with an ADA compliant, accessible handle (see attached image). I am going to an expert on this, given the age and quality of the door, and the fact that some mortising will be needed to retrofit a modern handle and lock hardware. We will be rekeying the door during this process as well, which gives us an opportunity to update our “people with keys” list and know that it is accurate. Timeline on this project is before it’s too cold to leave the main door open during the day, as in the current condition it could not be opened by the public.
The New Printer: Our printer has already worked through its “starter” toner cartridges that it ships with which, I have learned, are only filled to about 20%. The black has already been replaced as that is critical, and the three colors are next at a price tag of $100 per unit.
Chairs: We need to replace all three of our office style chairs as they are missing wheels, have failed pneumatic pistons, and/or are just embarrassingly worn. We recently received a donation in the amount of $800 and I suggest that a portion of that be used for three new chairs; front desk and two computer stations.
Files: With help from Janelle and Vicki there was an afternoon of sorting through our non-collection paper files. They have now been sorted into financial and library operations/progamatic. Much more sorting and culling will be needed, but we have a good start on streamlining a system that appears to have been started from near scratch with each new director. It looks as though one new four-drawer cabinet will be needed for financial documents, but I am happy to wait for the appointment of a new Treasurer before making that purchase. There are still many many files we can destroy once they have been sorted chronologically and retention laws triple checked. Old state reports have been boxed and relegated to deep storage upstairs. The books and files containing library records such as meeting notes and original formation documents have been moved to one location and inside a water-tight file box.
Staffing & Personnel:
Redacted for staff privacy.
Please be sure to submit your proof of completion for Sexual Harassment Prevention Training before the end of the year.
Beginning January 1, 2023, each member, elected or appointed, of a board of trustees shall be required to complete a minimum of two hours of trustee education annually. This pertains to all boards of trustees of chartered (incorporated) and registered (licensed) public libraries, association libraries and Indian Libraries.
As we are just now learning of this new requirement, and discussions are being had as to why CEF did not do a better job of informing member libraries of the requirement, I will circulate an email with suggestions for meeting your two hours before the end of the year. There currently does not appear to be a penalty for failure to comply with this new legislation. The state has asked that we write the requirement and a penalty into our bylaws, but as of this time, we have not.
As we are coming up on the winter months, I propose the following schedule to both reduce our evening hours during the dark months and smooth out the inconsistencies in our open hours:
Winter (Nov. 1st - March 31st) 23 Open Hours
Summer (April 1 - October 31st) 27 Open Hours
This will adda few hours to our overall schedule which brings us better inline with state requirements, reduces the fluctuation in our closing time to better serve patrons, while still reducing our evening hours during the winter as a cost savings measure.
I attended the CEFDA meeting in Keene Valley on September 20th. This was a very valuable meeting as a new director and as we are all working through the new state law requirements on a number of fronts, and a lack of timely information on these topics from CEFLS. I plan to attend the next meeting on November 15th, also in Keene Valley.
The booksale is ongoing, with a reasonable amount of stock so as not to be overwhelming yet still bring in a few dollars a week in sales.
We will need to send a formal request for funds to the school board (correct?) soon.
I would like to begin thinking about deaccessioning books on CD. During my time here not one has been checked out, and we could make much better use of that space. I suggest making them available to other libraries, as some may have more use for them, but it certainly seems that in 2023 it is a dead format.
An opiate overdose rescue kit has been added to our first aid kit.
I plan to close an hour early, at 4 pm, on Friday, October 27th, to be on time for my role in Haunted Histories at Crown Point State Historic Site.
Could we have a mailbox on the wall of the entryway? We often have things that need to go out and I don’t want to forget to stop at the post office or send them from home.
Does anyone recognise the boat painting found in the basement?
Our vacuum is on its last days. The plastic has become brittle and I believe the suction has been compromised. Should we start a community wishlist?