Hamden Public Library
Annual Report 2010/2011
The Hamden Public Library, the community’s information center, provides a variety of library resources, access to innovative technology and a knowledgeable staff to improve the quality of life and meet the informational, educational and cultural interests of the entire Hamden community.
The Hamden Public Library continued its ongoing commitment to excellence by providing traditional library services along with services requiring technology. This year 446,329 items circulated including 2,197 downloadable e-books and audio books. This is a slight decrease from the previous year due to the suspension of Sunday hours; however it is still a 5 % increase since 2008. The library provided programs and services through an outstanding staff, a supportive Library Board and terrific Friends of the Library. The library benefited from the generosity of the Friends for equipment, library materials and programs. Gratitude is also extended to our multitude of town residents who have been supportive through the years, not only with their steady usage, but also with their tax dollars and generous contributions to the Friends’ fund raising efforts. Miller Memorial Central Library is the main provider of library services to the Town while the two branch libraries, the Whitneyville Branch and the Brundage-Community Branch, are popular with neighborhood residents.
The Brundage-Community Branch participated in the ninth year of the successful PACK grant ( Parents and Communities for Kids ), providing outreach and programs to families in Highwood.
Whitneyville Branch continues to attract mothers and young children to its drop-in story times and provides a play area for them on days the meeting room space is not otherwise in use.
Librarian Pam Ross and her Monthly Book Discussion, financed by the Friends of the Library, attracted 298 participants, up from 170.
Through Head of Children’s Services Nancy McLaughlin and the Children’s Department, the library offered regular sessions for Wonderful Ones, time for Twos and Fun for Threes and Fours. All the library locations offered a wide range of cultural and educational programs.
The library serves on the HYAC board ( Hamden Youth Advisory Council ).
The VITA ( Volunteer Tax Assistance ) program, coordinated by Librarian Pamela Ross, continued with 119 residents receiving free income tax assistance in cooperation with law school volunteers from Quinnipiac University Law donating 191.5 hours at Miller and the branches.
Librarian Elisabeth Angele manages our Museum Pass program funded by the Friends of the Library. We circulated 28 park and museum passes that allow Hamden families to visit these sites for free or at greatly reduced prices. Six new passes were added. The passes were circulated 769 times.
Librarian Phil Scott continues to manage our interlibrary loan service. We borrow books not owned by Hamden Library from other public library systems and universities requested by residents. We borrowed 1,780 items; 1,530 items were loaned to other libraries.
Associate Director Nancy McNicol continued the third year of the bimonthly “Hamden Library News” with a town-wide distribution at 20 sites of 1,200 print copies including posting on our web site and over 800 e-scribers.
More than 60 volunteers generously gave of their time and were recognized during the annual volunteer reception.
A logo contest resulted in the selection of a new library logo.
Librarian Pam Ross and LTA Elise Brand met with the middle school student council for input in our teen services and collection. We listened to their suggestions and began purchasing X-box video games and DVDs of interest to teens.
Snapshot Day. Library “Snapshot Day” was held statewide during National Library Week in April. Photos and surveys were taken throughout the day showing how residents make use of our library on a day-to-day basis.
Business Expo. The library offered prizes for attendees who could show a library card or were willing to fill out a short survey about library usage. This proved to be a fun way to get to know the Hamden community a little better.
Holiday public donations for the Keefe Center with the library as a donation site:
166 coats through coat drive co-sponsored by Quinnipiac Valley & Trust
152 mittens, hats and gloves from our “mitten tree”
12 boxes of food ( we accept nonperishable food items year-around )
The Hamden Library web site hamdenlibrary.org has access to the catalog holdings, databases, the Internet, links to other web sites and program information. Our expanding collection continues to meet the demands of the diverse Hamden community.
187,759 books, paperbacks and magazines
22,293 DVDs, videos and audio cassettes
The restoration of the library materials budget to $225,000 allowed the library to restore cancelled magazine subscriptions, more copies of best sellers and the introduction of our digital collection.
The State Library began offering downloadable audio books to Connecticut residents in September 2009. Hamden patrons were consistently the heaviest users of this service, so we decided to provide additional audio book titles through Ingram in October 2010. In May 2011 we added Overdrive e-books to our collection which have become incredibly popular with our patrons.
Our public computers are heavily used.
We now have 101 public and staff PCs at Miller and the branches. The Town Technology Department continues to provide tech support for our growing system. One major problem is the demand has outpaced the network bandwidth capability resulting in slow connectivity. The DSL service at the branches was installed, but was not operational. There are plans in early FY 11 12 to connect a portion of our network to the Town’s fiber optic loop and a new high speed line is scheduled for installation at the branches. The Envisionware product for out time / print management was plagued with bugs that took most of the year to resolve. Head of Technical Services Jessica Rogoz manages our Horizon system and databases, while the IT Department manages hardware and network support. Jessica took on the additional responsibility for the Envisionware product. Our Wi-Fi is widely utilized with users bringing their own laptops rather than relying on our heavily used public PCs, and the branches will soon have Wi-Fi.
Going Mobile. Based on our Google Analytics statistics, we discovered that nearly 10 % of our web traffic comes from mobile devices. This year Jessica created a mobile version of our web site, designed to be easier to use on hand held devices. The most popular link on our web site was to our online catalog.
Computer Sessions - Miller: 14,345; Whitney: 2531; Brundage-Community: 3498; Total: 20,734
Web Site Visits - 190,528
Library Subscription Database Sessions - 2563
CT State Library ICONN Database Searches - 8471
CT State Library ICONN Audio books Downloaded - 706
Self Checkout - 1443 sessions; 2513 items
Online Catalog Self Renewals - 21,291
Online Catalog Requests Placed - 14,533
Facebook Friends - 151
Twitter Followers - 411
Bookletters E-mail Subscribers - 787
Bookletters Page views - 65,323
Library Newsletter - 167 web downloads + ~800 subscribers
Even though the staff authorization was 26 full time and 11 part time employees, staffing was impacted by not filling a vacancy due to the contractual 6 month hiring freeze of the full time Children’s Room Library Technical Assistant position. The year began with feeling the impact of the cumulative loss of 3 vacant part time Page positions at Miller from the previous 2 years and the frozen Children’s Room LTA position. The impact on our staffing meant delays in reshelving materials, keeping the shelves in order and periodic waits at the public service desks even though staff was reassigned from other departments to help cover the desks. As vacancies are filled through internal promotions and outside recruitment, there is a learning curve as staff adjusted to new assignments, duties and responsibilities. The Library Technical Assistant vacancy in the Children’s Department was filled in February by the promotion of Page Elise Brand from the Whitneyville Branch. Patricia Dennes was hired as a Whitneyville Page to replace LTA Elise Brand. The year ended with Miller Page Robert Butler taking a brief leave of absence and eventually resigning. The position would be filled in FY 11 12.
Building: Miller Memorial Central Library Needs Assessment
The present Miller Memorial Central Library building has provided Hamden residents with useful space and services for over 30 years. The arrangement of restrictive walled space by function no longer provides flexibility to meet the changing needs of the community. The increased use of the library over that period of time, significant growth of services to children, increased collection size, the growth of technology and projected increases in population for the next 20 years lead the need to plan for additional space, especially our overly crowded children’s room. The Library Board issued several RFPs for a building program consultant; however, they decided not to proceed at this time due to the study costs and the present economic climate.
Council Approved Expenditures: $1,762,674
Library Expenditures: $1,747,587
Savings Returned to the Town: $15,087
Fine / Meeting Room Revenue: $34,502
Excellence in Service
We are very proud of our public service staff. Their extraordinary service at check-out desks, reference desks, children’s room and the branches is often appreciated by the public. Less recognized are the support staff that makes possible everything library users see and experience at Miller and the branches. Support services range from maintaining the computer system, the web site, purchasing and cataloging materials, maintaining our buildings, operating a central business office and handling thousands of other tasks.
How Are We Doing?
The following comments were made by Hamden residents concerning the library:
A card from a child: “I am thankful for my library.”
“Hamden has an excellent book collection.”
“Hamden Library is doing a great job.” It’s a wonderful, complete library.”
“I’m so happy the Hamden Library has a book discussion group.”
“Wonderful selection of art books. I’ve used them for both personal and prep for school.”
“We love the place. Great work with the CDs!”
“I would like to say how wonderful your web site is.”
The above is a sampling of 52 comments received and an additional 176 e-mails received. We also receive constructive criticism so we can constantly evaluate our services to make your library experience even better.
The demand for services to children continues to grow at all locations. Story times, craft programs and special event programs are popular and filled to capacity. The summer reading theme this year was “One World, Many Stories” and featured craft and art related programs. The Friends of the Library and the Hamden Library Board generously funded almost the entire summer program including the performers. The Summer Reading Club had 451 participants.
Quality programs at Miller and the branches draw large audiences and are instrumental in our overall increased usage statistics.
Summer Reading Program
Total number of programs: 53
Total attendance: 1208
Summer Reading Club: 451
Total number of programs: 490
Total attendance: 11,225
Brundage Community: 20,787
Visits to the Library:
Brundage Community: ~15,380
~50,578 questions answered
FY 11/12 Goals
Develop and implement a Strategic Plan FY 12 - 14
Improve the network connectivity speed at Miller and the branches
Continue the PC replacement schedule for both staff and the public
Replace our current Horizon Integrated Library System
Continue our excellence in service
Continue to work with the Hamden Board of Education to improve their Summer Reading Program
Enhance service by strengthening staff expertise through staff development and workshops
Build connections with the community through programs and outreach services