It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost gone. It’s been a challenging year for most, if not all, of us.
We mourned the loss of several strong library supporters, most notably former Board president Dean O’Neil and former long-time board member Robert “Bob” Philson. In December, we posthumously experienced Dean’s support of the library one more time, through the auction of Rita O’Neil’s Hummel collection, which Dean bequeathed to the library. Dynamic Auction Group did a great job with the online auction.
We have weathered the pandemic pretty well so far. People have been generous. We’ve been awarded a number of grants. The state, county, and borough have not cut our subsidy amounts. Some of the Federal pandemic assistance programs were helpful. While our Friends of the Library have had to cancel traditional fundraisers Wine at the Mansion in 2020 and 2021, and Death by Chocolate for 2021, they are currently doing a fundraiser selling Marianna’s subs and pizzas, with orders due by December 30.
I want to give a shout out to my staff members, who have been flexible in scheduling as needed, and in willingness to try new things, especially concerning virtual programming. I also want to thank our Board of Trustees, who have made some bold decisions over the past two years.
We are now a fine-free library. That doesn’t mean you get to keep the books forever – at 90 days overdue, they are marked “lost” and billed – but you can check out a whole stack of books and not have to worry about a huge fine if you’re a little late getting them back to us. We’ve also instituted auto-renew. When your checked-out item comes due, it will renew automatically IF there is a renewal available. (If you have an email address on file, you’ll automatically be notified whether it was renewed.) We’ve also changed our circulation policy so that books and DVDs that are not in high demand have a longer loan period than in the past.
Most recently, we’ve added the Wowbrary electronic newsletter to our outreach. Sign up to receive it, and you’ll know what new items we’ve added to the collection each week! You can sign up here:
We hope these changes are helpful to library users.
The new year will be filled with new projects. We are busy building new online local history collections that will be part of PA Photos and Documents, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the PA Historical and Museum Commission. We’re working with the Heinz History Center on our action station as part of the Civic Empathy Through History project. In addition, thanks to a Libraries Transforming Communities* grant, we will be hosting a new series of community discussions about mental health.
Thanks in part to a grant from the Meyersdale Wind Farm Fund of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, we now have a heavy-duty crosscut paper shredder, which will be available for members of the community to use, by appointment. This is our contribution to help prevent identity theft!
We will also be launching our new website soon, also partially funded by a grant from the Meyersdale Wind Farm Fund of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. Don’t expect massive changes, but we hope it will be easier for you to use, and also easier for us to keep updated and secure.
We will be closed December 31-January 2, reopening on January 3, 2022.
Best wishes for the New Year 2022!
The Library Lady
*“Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).”