Thursday, January 30, 2014

2013 Wheeler Memorial Library Annual Report


Despite the slow economic recovery, the Orange Public Libraries have continued to provide invaluable, and innumerable, services to all ages of our community. Heavy usage of both libraries continues, and patron visits increased significantly in 2013 over the previous year. The Trustees extend grateful thanks to the Finance Committee, the Selectboard, and the residents of Orange for helping make this possible. While the Trustees continue to supplement Town revenues with income from trust funds, it is our heartfelt hope that one day the Town will be able to fully fund our basic operations, thus allowing us to faithfully fulfill our stewardship obligations. Of course, programming and other enhancements to our services continue to be funded by grants and our wonderful Friends.

We have long been blessed with dedicated, knowledgeable and helpful staff; 2013 saw the retirement of one such member. After 14 years, Dianne Salcedo retired as Head of Adult Services. Dianne was honored at a wonderful and widely attended reception given by the Friends. Thank you, Dianne, for everything! Her successor is the able Manuel King, formerly Branch Assistant at Moore-Leland; we welcome him warmly.

Candace Cross and the Library's wonderful Children's Department continues to provide exciting programs and materials for young Orange residents. Collaborative efforts with local schools, Valuing Our Children, and daycare facilites help us reach additional children. Early literacy programs help give Orange pre-schoolers skills that will serve them well as they grow and learn. The library's Summer Reading program offers fun activities and promotes reading to large numbers of local children.

Thanks to the efforts of our director, Walt Owens, we continue to maintain an impressive presence online; this includes our website, filled with information on all of our services and programs, as well as our blog and Facebook page. In response to the tremendous interest in genealogy, we now also offer the library edition of Ancestry.com (available only inside libraries) and Heritage Quest online (available from home as well); these new resources represent a substantial, but worthwhile, investment.

Thalma Wright, a lifelong supporter of the libraries, generously remembered us in her will with a bequest of $1000. We also were grateful to receive a gift of $500 from the Orange High School class of 1943. Additionally, Walt was able to purchase significant additions to our music collection with funds given in memory of Richard Senier, former trustee. These gifts, for which we are most grateful, enhance our libraries and enrich our lives.

In 2013 the Friends of the Orange Libraries continued their support in myriad ways: a staff appreciation breakfast at Johnson's Farm, raised-bed gardening workshop with Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity, a postcard campaign to state officials in support of full funding of libraries, several local author book events, and a program on "Literacy in Guatemala". The Friends held their annual book sale in June, on the lawn; and what would the winter holidays be without Open Houses in both libraries? There is nothing like a Friend! (New Friends are always wanted, needed, and welcomed).

The Trustees continue to be deeply concerned over the lack of accessibility at the Wheeler library, as well as its crowded conditions. We are currently in the process of forming a Building Committee
to move this long-needed project forward.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Library Trustees,

Rice B. Flanders, Chair

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