Director's Report - January 12, 2016

Mathews Memorial Library
Bette Dillehay, Director
January 12, 2016

This report is intended to provide the Chairman and members of the Board of Trustees with a report of activities during the period November 10, 2015 – January 12, 2016. You will also find attached a separate report, “2015 – Year in Review and What’s In Store for 2016.”

Financial Report
Current Reporting Period
Operational expenses for the two-month report period totaled $15,827.11. This amount includes three renewals ($6,213.24), the foremost being the annual renewal fee of $3,436.24 (line item 5240) for the online cataloging service used to support and maintain material records and access to the collection. Other charges in this line item are $2,009.00 for Library Ideas which offers Freegal Music and the annual fee for participating in the e-book consortium, OverDrive, ($768.00).

Current year-to-date operating expenses total $54,331.41, an increase of $12,751.55 over the previous year-to-date total. The increase of 30.7% over the previous year reflects a levelling of costs from the increase reported in November of 49.5%. It is anticipated that the library will remain within budget with $41,503.56 available in unencumbered funds. For the period January through June, operating expenses are expected to reflect a monthly average of $4,500 to $5,500.

Salary expenses for the report period November-December were $39,216, or $19,910 in November 2015 and $19,306 in December for a year-to-date total of $121,552 or 42.2% of budget, placing us slightly under budget at this reporting. The total amount budgeted for salaries and related benefits for FY2015/2016 is $288,331.

Patron Update
The current number of patrons is 11,247, an increase of 15 patrons over the previous report period and an increase of 341 patrons over the past 12 months. Patrons and others visiting the library during the report period totaled 6,105.

Several changes have occurred since the last reporting period. Part-time technical staff member, Raquel Ott, submitted her resignation effective December 30, 2015. Raquel is expanding her career as a realtor after serving on the library staff for slightly over ten years. Diane McKnight, currently a part-time member of the technical staff services under the direct supervision of Greg Lewis, has accepted a full-time position and will assume the duties formerly performed by Raquel. An evaluation will be undertaken over the next several months to determine the need and type of additional support for technical services.

Facilities Update
Improvements to the courtyard and the conference room exit have been completed. The courtyard now features a working fountain in the form of a 4-foot amphora. To date the Friends of the Library have assumed the cost of $3,133.87 for the fountain. Still pending is $1,425.00 for the awning, which has not yet been reviewed by the Friends.

Deck the Halls
“Once Upon a Christmas” is deemed to be our most successful holiday series to date. Programs were offered to all ages and enjoyed excellent attendance. Four events, including the opening tree trimming party, drew 132 members of the community to the library. Also sponsored was a party, “Cherish the Memories,” for teens; a “PJ” story time for youngsters and a cookie exchange for adults.

Two publications were created and made available to the public. The first, the story written by teenager, Kyndal Johnson, sold for $1.00 per copy, netting $70 which went to a charity of her choice, the YMCA Leadership Program. The second was a pamphlet, printed by the library, featuring the bakers and their recipes from the cookie exchange.

Coming Events
Two outstanding authors have agreed to appear at the library. The first, John Newcomb, author of “A Bunch of Plumbers,” will speak and sign books on Thursday, February 18 at 7 pm. A NASA engineer, Mr. Newcomb was among the pioneers who worked on the Lunar Orbiter Project at Langley.

John Warley, author of “A Southern Girl,” a book quite popular among Mathews library patrons, will speak on Thursday, April 21st at 7 p.m.

Efforts are underway to sponsor a library tea dance during February.


Mathews Memorial Library
”2015 – Year in Review and What’s In Store for 2016.”
Prepared by Director and Library Staff

2015 – Year in Review
Mathews Memorial Library began the year with 10,906 registered patrons and a goal of reaching 11,000 by year’s end. This goal was reached in July and as of January 1, 2016, the patron count stands at 11,246.

The approved budget for FY 2014-2015 was $353,606 and for FY2015-2016 the budget totaled $373,709, supplemented in the calendar year 2015 by donations from the Friends of the Library and 16 others totaling $13, 917. State Aid for FY 2015 was $61,359.

During 2015 the library was staffed by 8 full and part-time personnel. The FY 2015/2016 budget for salary and related expenses is $288,331. In addition, fifteen volunteers averaged 121 hours per month, a critical service helping make it possible for the library to meet organizational mission and goals.

Measurable activities for the year include the following:

Patron/Guest Count 63,812
Circulation 17,938
Computer Use 17,302
Program Attendance 4,856
eLibrary Circulation 5,865

The highlight of each year for the library is the youth summer program, which last year included 147 registered attendees for the month-long “Science Matters” program. Likewise, the 2015 Soothin’ Summer Sounds were sell-outs with more than 100 in attendance at each of four programs. Total attendance for all programs sponsored by the library during 2015 totaled 2,856.

Members of staff prepared the following reviews of activities and outcomes in 2015.

Greg Lewis, Head Technical Services
Library Technical Services has a significant direct and indirect impact on the quality of services offered patrons, including in the areas of cataloging, acquisitions, resource access, and technology infrastructure.

First and foremost, maintaining the library network, computers, printers and other devices is key to allowing the library staff to perform their duties and patrons to be productive when working with library equipment. This ongoing task was no different in 2015, which saw the replacement of 6 computers used by juveniles and the installation of a popular Early Literacy Station for pre-school learning games. Upgrades to the library’s file server and gateway security appliance helped make the library’s network more secure and reliable for all users.

A full and regular schedule of monthly computer classes in 2015 had a significant impact on enhancing computer literacy in the community. A total of about 15 classes were offered which benefitted about 275 – 300 individuals. Through classes such as this or one-on-one conversations and instructional sessions, many people view the library as the “go to” place for learning about technology. Whether it is answering simple questions such as “What is the best Internet service for my location” or helping a patron get started writing their resume, there is a tremendous impact for this type of service.

Delivery of timely and reliable information is a core function of the library. Access to library research databases and downloadable services was improved in 2015 with some specific website enhancements and greater use of social media, the addition of MARC records to the catalog for electronic resources and additional staff training. Adding Universal Class to the library’s e-branch now provides access to over 500 online continuing education courses and supplements and vastly broadens the library’s in-house training. The library’s e-branch has become a powerful tool for education and recreation, but has introduced an increasingly larger responsibility for training and equipment maintenance.

Youth Services - Haven Headley
On Wednesday mornings, the library provides story time for pre-kindergarten children. Most of the attendees are around two years of age. Story time aids in development of literacy and fine motor skills, supplies a consistent face for the children to relate with the library, and creates relationships with the children and guardians that will be continued as they grow older. On Thursday mornings, the library provides story time for the Head Start class at the high school and the Salem Church Preschool. Sharing information with parent groups such as the Head Start PTA Meeting provided a chance to talk to guardians about how the library help their children be ready for kindergarten.

The library has a program called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. This program helps in development of literacy skills, provides guardians with reading strategy tips, ensures children enter kindergarten ready to read, creates an opportunity to present guardians with information about early literacy, instills the lifelong love of reading in young children, fosters a positive connection to the library for families and children, and reinforces parents’ role as their child’s first and best teachers

After school, children, particularly those ages 10-12, visit the library. This is an opportunity to supply homework help .and create relationships with the children that will be continued as they grow older. Throughout the school year, classes are invited to visit the library. Those that have come are in the Kindergarten classes and the 1st grade. This is a chance to create relationships with the teachers, teach children how to use the library, and show how the library can help them with school assignments.

The Summer Program sponsored by the library is amazing! It generates creativity and engages the children’s minds at a time when they aren’t in school, encouraging further learning. Goosebumps at the Library, a Halloween program, helped to show library as a fun place. The Mathews Market Days activities also showed the library as a fun place, provided a sense of community, and encouraged children to interact with the library collection through a scavenger hunt. At Christmas time, the library had a PJ Bedtime Story Time. This event brought patrons to the library who might otherwise not be able to visit and encouraged a family connection with the library.

The Read to the Rhythm program encouraged children to interact creatively with library materials rather than simply reading the books. The Dictionary Project in which dictionaries are presented to all third graders helps teach the children how to use dictionaries and helped them see the library as a place that can help provide information for school assignments.

Teen Territory – Rachel Wood
As head of Teen Services since October, I have learned that the Mathews Memorial Library is not just a building full of books. It is a home where adults, teens, and children can gather to read, to learn, and to build strong relationships. One of the clear missions of the library is to provide “more” to the community using a variety of avenues that become available. Over the last three months, there have been many occasions to witness just how this happens.

In October, the opportunity presented itself to teens and homeschoolers of the area for a free two-session writing workshop. Jason Leahey, a professional writer and teaching artist who was raised in Richmond and Mathews and now living in Brooklyn, used visual art in conjunction with hands-on literary exercises to help students explore the primary characteristics of exciting storytelling. Every student finished the workshop with the beginnings of a story or narrative poem. The workshop also, and perhaps most importantly, was an exciting and multi-disciplinary
means for Mathews' young people to be inspired and creative in ways that surprised themselves, as well as creating confidence in reading and writing abilities and their own imagination.

During the month of November, the library staff was busy preparing for the upcoming holiday theme of Once upon a Christmas. In the teen territory, we took the opportunity to use what was learned during the writing workshops as an avenue to show off the teens’ talents with a holiday writing contest. Each 1,200 – 1,500 word essay began with the phrase Once upon a Christmas and was to be either a cherished memory or an imaginary story. The winner, Kyndal Johnson, a sophomore at Mathews High School, wowed the library staff with her emotionally inspired story. The winning work was printed at the Gazette-Journal and sold for a donation during the holiday season. At the annual Deck the Halls event, where the winner was announced, Kyndal chose a local charity, the YMCA Teen Leaders Club, to which the collected donations were given. This holiday writing contest was another example of how the Mathews Library connects with the teen constituents and supports other wonderful community avenues, like the YMCA, in the county.

Building strong relationships with the teens is another great byproduct of working in this area of the library. Whether pulling up a chair to talk at my desk, helping me decorate the room, or participating in a teen gathering, I have been able to take advantage of my time with many of them to build a trusting relationship. With the knowledge I gather from their personalities and what I learn of their day to day life, I am able to personalize programs, offer specific books, or even decorate the room to encourage their continued participation and attendance in all that we do. One example of this developing relationship showed itself during December’s Cherish the Moments Open House. At the open house, twenty teens joined together and played a game that allowed the group to share Christmas memories, which brought to the gathering more than just stories of favorite presents. It reminded the teens that we often enjoy life when the spotlight isn’t on ourselves. Looking back over the last three months, it is obvious the Mathews Memorial Library thinks outside the box when reaching out to our patrons. Yes, we are a place full of wonderful books, free internet, and other helpful services, but we are also a place where the community is positively impacted as well as the many who come through our doors.

History and Genealogy – Becky Barnhardt
The Mathews Memorial Library provides archival materials, books, microfilm, and online history subscription sources for professional and non-professional genealogists and historians.
The library has a total of 1,378 reference resources (books & microfilm) in the Chesapeake Room and 825 collections (with over 3000 items) in the Herman Hollerith Archival Room.

During 2015, over 250 patrons have been assisted in using a variety of these services, including historian Martha W. McCartney. McCartney used the library’s resources for the Mathews County Historical Society’s new publication Mathews County, Virginia Lost Landscapes, Untold Stories. In addition to McCartney, the resources have also been used by the Fairfield Foundation in compiling research for the Mathews County Historical Societies project “Archaeological & Architectural Survey - Year of Discovering Mathews.”

What’s In Store for 2016?
Libraries are at a very interesting nexus. Today’s libraries are not just about what we have for people but what we do for and with people. Viewed as hubs and repositories for intellectual content and leisure reading, libraries are also being expected to evolve with and reach out to our changing environment, adapting technological and other skills to meet the needs of our patrons. To fulfill our mission, we must search for solutions that serve our community. Mathews Memorial Library is fortunate to be adequately funded as a County agency. In addition, the financial support of the Friends of the Library allows the library to offer programs and resources without which such activities as the summer youth program would not be possible.

To be successful, we must align services with the priorities of the community and work closely with each of the library’s stakeholder groups: library leaders, policymakers and the community through the following action steps:

• Define the scope of the library’s programs around community priorities.

• Engage the community in library planning and decision making.

• Collaborate with local government agencies, including partnerships with schools to drive learning and educational opportunities throughout the community.

• Maintain a diverse collection of materials to meet the cultural and information needs of citizens.

• Collaborate with local businesses to provide access to resources, technology and certification programs and to job search resources to assist in creating a skilled workforce.

• Work with community partners to provide personalized and flexible digital learning experiences that individuals need to become comfortable and adept at participating in digital society.

Traditionally, the library is deemed a success when it is teeming with people from all walks of life – young and old searching and finding books of their choice, youngsters engaged in story time, researchers seeking information. It truly comes alive, however, when these activities are expanded to include young people learning new skills in a noisy learning environment, job seekers working on resumes, entrepreneurs using library resources. These activities lead to the most ambitious undertaking planned by the library for 2016 – that of becoming what is referred to as “maker spaces,” creative spaces in libraries where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. This initiative began at the library in late 2015 with the introduction of a creative writing exercise for teens.

In the years ahead, we must go beyond the walls of the library and into the community to engage different stakeholder groups and explore how to be a better place for learning, creativity and innovation.