2011 Annual Report
Wilbraham Public Library
This year brought many changes to the library, improving both our physical space and expanding our services through digital resources. Our new Service Desk was installed in July, bringing the circulation, children's and reference staff to a central location and better able to assist library patrons. A new LCD monitor above the desk highlights library events and activities.
The Children's area was rearranged to offer more visual control of pre-schoolers and better group collections by reading level, and we purchased a new Cybernet computer with an extensive selection of early childhood education and learning games. Several computers were also installed on the renovated mezzanine level, now known as “The Loft”. A new Keurig machine is featured in the magazine section on the main floor, allowing patrons to purchase coffee, tea, and other beverages to enjoy in the library.
Library staff created “Patti's Garden” with funds donated in memory of our longtime colleague Patricia McCollum. This small garden and seating area helps to beautify the grounds on the southwest side of the building and allows the staff to have a nice place to eat their lunch. The Wilbraham Garden Club also contributed to the outside patio area with a new teak bench for the public.
The library expanded our online offerings to include Freegal, a new music download service, and the library edition of the popular genealogy resource, Ancestry.com. This year may be considered “the tipping point” with the use of ebooks increasing by 375% over 2010. Wilbraham residents are able to access ebooks from the C/W MARS Digital Catalog powered by Overdrive. This service added compatibility with Amazon's Kindle devices in early fall, and launched a new collection of Disney Digital Books for young readers, meeting the digital reading needs of a great number of users. The library also partnered with other libraries in the C/W MARS network to offer Wowbrary, a service to alert patrons of new materials through email and Facebook integration. Library staff offered five e-book workshops and a four-part series on online resources for information and entertainment.
Programming for all ages continues to be a priority for the library. Storytime sessions were held for children age twelve months through five years old and 266 second-through fifth-graders and 69 teen readers participated in the summer reading program. The Cover-to-Cover book group created a stunning exhibit of origami peace doves in conjunction with their reading of Eleanor Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Children also were treated to several events including Magic with Scott Jameson, Dance with a Clown theater production, and Reading with Rufus, a special therapy dog. The teens decorated a tree for the town's annual Festival of Trees display at the Old Meeting House. In addition to the book discussion group, Booked for Lunch, and the monthly screenings of foreign and independent films, adults attended a lecture presentation by Michael Tougias, an evening of Irish music by Banish Misfortune, and a dramatic portrayal of the fictional character Atticus Finch as a part of the community reading project featuring To Kill a Mockingbird.
After over twenty years of service to the Wilbraham Public Library, Christine Bergquist retired from her position as Library Director in September. Adult Services Librarian Karen Demers was appointed Interim Director and promoted to the position permanently in December.
The library was supported throughout the year by LIFT, the Friends of the Library, and the Memorial Endowment Fund and received special donations from Country Bank, Hampden Bank, and Monson Savings Bank. The Wilbraham Cultural Council funded several library programs and the work of local artist ElizabethAnn Koscher, whose animal sculptures delight young readers in the children's area. Mount Holyoke College funded a special collection of Chemistry Adventure Kits to encourage interest in the sciences in children. A new program of Book Club Kits for adults was created with funds donated in memory of Helen C. Kelly, a longtime Friends of the Library volunteer. We thank these organizations and individual volunteers who serve on library committees, manage programs and events, and special projects at the library.