Jim Stevenson-inspired rail restored, and Library Updates
The Island Free Library Board of Trustees met for the final time of 2021, with Director Kristin Baumann reporting on the end-of-year holiday events in progress and the upcoming programs scheduled for the new year. Her report also included a new section: library updates submitted by the staff.
Chair Lisa Nolan applauded the move as a “great idea.” Baumann told the board that the thought of having the staff add to the report came out of the annual review process the library participated in, and she suggested that the staff could also attend the board meetings on occasion.
Morgan Walsh reported that she has completed a year-long continuing education course called Project READY, which stands for Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth. Participation in the course made the librarian eligible for a grant, which Walsh has now applied for. She reported that numerous special programs are scheduled for the island’s kids, with Healthy Kids with Kim Gaffett returning to the schedule.
Susana Gardner reported on her work curating the Librarian’s Book Cart and outdoor book hutch. Donated books, as well as “topical or curious works” are displayed for sale on the cart, as well as books in the Book it Forward program. In that program you take a book, and then give an act of kindness. Gardner has also been busy repotting the indoor plants and working with the Memoir and Book groups, as well as the library’s other online offerings, which will soon offer a closed-captioning option.
Bethany Petrik wrote in her report that the library had partnered once again with North Light Fibers to offer an ornament needle-felting workshop. Petrik wrote that the intergenerational program is “a pleasure to run,” and reported that she is also working on updates to the library website.
Irene Hopkins has been helping Marie Henehan in preparing materials for the ESL classes, and has enjoyed being part of the library family. Judy Mitchell mentioned the welcome addition of Carrie Johnson’s music program and the festive library environment.
Baumann reported that the Film and Soup program is coming back after a long Covid hiatus. Baumann hosts the group with Kim Gaffett and it typically runs weekly in the summers and monthly in the winters. To host the program the library will be opening up Room B to the public, which Baumann reports is the last room to be reopened from the pandemic shutdown. Baumann called it a “big victory” to finally have the library fully opened to the public again.
Nolan informed the trustees that the windows had been ordered for phase two of the library’s renovation, and that the railing maintenance had been completed. The medallions on the fencing at the rear entrance have been refurbished and reinstalled. They are based on the art of Jim Stevenson, and depict various animals reading, en route up the ramp to the library. The medallions were refurbished as part of the repairs to
the fence. The fence was struck by a car a couple of years ago, so a bollard was also installed at the end of the fence to absorb future parking errors in the narrow area behind the building.
The board will soon undergo some changes, as Chair Lisa Nolan is stepping down as chair but will remain on the board, and Treasurer Willie Feuer is stepping away from the board after many years of service. Several candidates were suggested by various members of the board, with no decision made quite yet.