It is a pleasure to present to you this report on the New City Library’s past year’s activities and successes.
After a problematic and public search process to replace the previous library director, the New City Library hired Mitch Freedman, in May 2013 by the unanimous vote of the eight trustees in attendance.
In addition, three other hires were approved by the Board in 2013: James Collins was hired as the Business Manager replacing Ellen Ellis; Veronica Reynolds, a member of the reference staff, was promoted to Coordinator of Community Relations replacing Sally Pellegrini; and, Brian Clay Jennings was hired as a reference librarian II to fill the vacancy created by the promotion of Ms. Reynolds. Additionally, Shibu Abraham was hired as the bookkeeper to replace Rita Filgate. All of these appointments have strengthened the Library. We are especially pleased that all full-time positions are filled.
The labor contract was finally agreed upon, and it was approved and signed by the New City Library Board of Trustees and the New City Library Staff Association. Negotiations between the two parties on the next agreement will begin again in 2014.
I am pleased to report that by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees a number of critical improvements have been made to the Library—some of which were accomplished in 2013, and the rest should be completed by June 2014.
New electronic sliding doors replaced the defective doors through which the public entered the Library. This was accomplished with a minimal amount of inconvenience to the Library’s patrons.
Programming services were dramatically improved by the purchase of new sound, video, and projection equipment for the Library Meeting Room. The newly established Director’s Film Series owes a great deal of its success to the new equipment. The attendance by capacity crowds at many of the film showings was not unusual.
A new phone system was installed to replace the antiquated system that the Library has been using since the 1990s.
Zinio, an online periodicals service, was purchased and use of it came underway toward the end of 2013. Having dozens of popular magazines accessible for free on the patrons’ smartphones should prove to be an especially popular service.
Having put new and bestselling books on the Library’s Nooks, they are now circulating regularly.
Several major projects will be completed in 2014 that were advanced substantially in 2013. The Library’s State Audiovisual Grant finally was moved along. At the time of this writing, drawings are completed and furniture and equipment are on order for the Children’s Department. The Children’s Room renovation should be completed by the beginning of April. All juvenile DVDs, CDs, and games will now be housed on open shelves in the Children’s Room thus simplifying access to them and browsing.
The changes to the Adult Services Department will be more extensive. The basement AV collection will be moved to the first floor. A new silent reading room will be recommended to replace the space formerly occupied by the Library’s DVD, CD, and Games collections. The Library patrons had to make their choices by searching through the browser cards. The cards selected had to be brought to the AV desk. At that time, the AV staff retrieved the items from the shelves they were stored on. Now all of the AV materials will be on open and browsable shelves on the first floor. Patrons will take their selections to the circulation department and have them checked out by using one of the three self-checkout machines or having a staff member check the items out to them. This will be one of the best changes introduced in the Library.
The Board approved the appointment of Parish Property Management, Inc. to do a complete analysis and evaluation of the Library’s physical plant. The report, Facility Conditions Assessment provides the Library with a road map the new 2014 Board of Trustees can use to enable them to establish priorities for the extensive work that needs to be done.
One of the interesting things learned from the Parish Report is that the Library building actually has eight separate roofs.
The Library owes a debt of gratitude to Anthony De Pino whose Eagle Scout project donated to the Library two new beautiful wooden benches which were placed next to the flag pole. Mr. De Pino also cleared away all of the weeds in the area surrounding the benches.
I am proud to have served as the President of the New City Library Board of Trustees for the year 2013. The list of accomplishments is great.
Library patrons already have been reaping the benefits of these changes in staffing, services, and facilities.
I am happy that 2013 turned out to be a year of such positive changes.
To my New City Library neighbors, thank you for permitting me to serve as your President. Given the Library’s staff and the dedication of the new Board, things will be even better in 2014.
Thomas Ninan, President
Board of Trustees
New City Library