Friday, February 20, 2015

2014 Orange Public Libraries Annual Report

The Wheeler Memorial Library first opened its doors in April, 1914, so throughout this entire year we have celebrated our building's 100th birthday in a variety of ways. Those celebrations included a birthday party with cake and party favors, an evening with popular crime author Archer Mayor, a fantastic luncheon and travel slide show presented by Deb Kent, a special Page 100 Poetry Contest, and an enlightening and entertaining slide show and history of the Wheeler Library presented by former library director Janice Lanou. It was a year of both looking back and looking forward, honoring the building for all it has given us, and focusing on what we will need for the next 100 years!

But 2014 wasn't all party time! The Orange Public Libraries have continued to provide free access to countless valuable services and programs for all ages in our community. As always, the Trustees are deeply grateful to the Finance Committee and the residents of Orange for helping make this possible. The Trustees continue to supplement Town revenues with income from trust funds, with the earnest hope that this will not always be necessary. Additionally, funding from grants and the Friends of the Orange Public Libraries helps us with programming and other services, for which we are very thankful.

The Children's Services Department continues to serve the youth and parents of Orange with materials and programs that include the Summer Reading Program, after-school and school vacation programs, early literacy programs, and special events. Collaborative work with local schools, daycare facilities and Valuing Our Children extends the reach of our services. At the end of the year, Candace Cross, beloved Children's Librarian, retired after 10 years of dedication to her job and to the Library's young patrons and their families. She was honored with a wonderful reception put on by the Library Staff and the Friends. Candace's successor, Mia Cabana, was chosen from a large number of qualified applicants. The Trustees extend our very best wishes to both Candace and Mia.

Thanks to Walt Owens, Library Director, our on-line presence is robust and thriving. In addition to our website, blog, and Facebook page, we have added an amazing "Virtual Branch Library", providing such resources as downloadable audio-books and e-books, more magazines than space allows me to list, searchable databases of magazines and newspapers, and genealogy resources, to name just a few.

In August the Friends were blessed to receive a bequest from former Orange resident Allen J. Ward in the amount of $15,000, most of which has been put into the Library's building fund for much needed future expansion and/or construction. We are also grateful for the many donations in memory of loved ones whose lives had been touched by the Library. These generous gifts enrich our libraries and our lives.

In addition to all of the activities already mentioned, the Friends also held their annual Book Sale on the lawn in June, their Holiday Open Houses in both libraries in December, and carried a library banner in the Celebrate the Harvest parade in October. This indispensable and dedicated group is always happy to welcome new members.

The 2014 report would not be complete without acknowledging the tremendous loss we have all suffered by the death of our longtime Library Trustee and dear friend Robert P. Collen. Bob was a patron, supporter, and champion of the library for his entire life, and he is deeply missed. His legacy will be a long one.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Trustees,

Rice Flanders,
Chair, Library Board of Trustees
Wheeler Memorial Library

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