Need to replace Library’s windows ‘urgent’

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 4:30pm
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Island Free Library Director Kristin Baumann said there is such an urgency to replacing the library’s leaking windows that she has labeled them as one of the library’s top priorities. Baumann told the library’s Board of Trustees at its Sept. 25 meeting that the windows, as well as the building’s roof are capital improvement projects that need to be addressed in the near future.

“It’s urgent,” she said of the windows, noting that the second floor windows need immediate attention. “We’re concerned.” She said the issue is due to disrepair, and that some windows have worrisome leaks.

Baumann said she did not know what the total cost, or budget, would be to replace the windows, but that, “It will cost a lot of money.”

“I said to the Board of Trustees that I think this is our main project for the next few years,” said Baumann. She told The Times that Town Manager Ed Roberge, and Facilities Manager Sam Bird are aware of the issue with the windows, and the need to replace the roof. “I am keeping them updated.”

Library Director’s Report

In her report, Baumann noted that Morgan Walsh, the library’s Youth Services Librarian, should be credited for a sizable increase in attendance of the library’s programs. Baumann said 6,852 people attended 623 programs in 2018, compared to the 3,814 people, who attended 452 programs in 2017.

“That’s double,” said Baumann. “It’s largely due to an increase in children’s programming. I credit Morgan for that.”

Baumann said there were 252 children’s programs in 2018, versus 107 children’s programs in 2017. “That’s due to Morgan.”

Baumann said that Walsh is the recipient of this semester’s education fund, which involves the library paying for half of the tuition for a staff recipient for a semester of school. “She’s pursuing a Master of Library and Information Studies degree at the University of Rhode Island. There’s a policy, with an agreement and certain criteria that have all been met. The Trustees were happy to do it.”

Memorial gifts

Baumann said that memorial gifts made to the library have been substantial, and the increase in processing them has led to Gloria Redlich stepping down as the Trustees’ secretary. “Memorial gifts are donations made to the library in memory of someone,” said Baumann.

“A lot of people give money to the library, and we’re thankful for all of them — whether they’re a large donation or a small one. It is all important to the library. It’s a big deal getting these donations.”

As for Redlich, Baumann said, “Gloria felt it was necessary for her to step down. She will remain on the board, just not as secretary. It is a huge job — acknowledging receipt of the memorial gifts.” Baumann said the job entails sending thank you cards to those who donate the gifts to the library.

Baumann said a replacement for Redlich has not yet been named, and that the library’s staff will handle the acknowledgements temporarily.

Baumann noted that the late Bruce Montgomery and Errol Transue asked that memorial gifts be given to the library, and she was effusive in her praise of both of them for directing donations to the library. The donations that are sent to the library are deposited into an account overseen by the Trustees.

“I put memorial gifts on the agenda, because I wanted to tell the Trustees how grateful I am,” said Baumann. “It’s an honor” to receive those gifts.

Baumann said the library was in the process of upgrading its website, and it will include a page for acknowledging memorial gifts. She didn’t think the upgrade of the website would be too costly, and noted that the Trustees “initiated the project.”

More wireless users

In other news, Baumann said, “This was the first year that we saw that there were more wireless users than desktop users at the library.” She said that 8,723 people used a wireless devise, compared to 6,627 who used desktops. “We knew this trend was coming. I have been at the library since 2002 and have watched the movement from computers to hand held devices. We have been planning around those tech trends for many years — less desktops, more chairs and better wifi.”

Baumann said she and the library staff would be attending the New England Library Association and Rhode Island Library Association conference at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick from Oct. 21 to Oct. 23. “That takes place on a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,” she said, noting that the library might open later on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The next Library Trustees meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.