Today, October 14, 2016, all 66 member library directors, trustees and administrators gathered at the (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Over 150 attendees enjoyed breakfast, awards, and an informative keynote address by FDR Library/Museum Director, Paul Sparrow. FDR called a library “an act of faith” and we celebrated his words today.
Our MHLS Director, Tom Sloan, and MHLS Trustee Chairwoman Camilla von Bergen, began the meeting by welcoming attendees, giving our local library supporters NY Assembly woman Didi Barrett and NY Senator Sue Serino the floor to speak of the importance of libraries. I was particularly pleased to meet Ms. Serino, to thank her personally for her support which will benefit Lagrange Library directly. This week, I received a New York State Bullet Aid grant of $10 000, which is being used to support our Library’s STEM programming for all ages, expanding our museum pass program and updating our public technology.
MHLS employee’s longevity was also celebrated. I was particularly proud of Tom Finnigan and Chris Herron’s 25th and 20th milestones. Both work extremely hard and long hours ensuring that the MHLS delivery system works efficiently shuttling 1.7 million library items between 66 libraries (2015) and that the MHLS physical plant is run in a safe and healthy manner. Yes, I have been known to call Chris’s cellphone at 4am due to library alarm activation during an early morning Lagrange delivery.
After appointing new MHLS Trustees, recognition awards were given to member libraries who have demonstrated exemplary activities of civic engagement. I am proud to say that I was present to accept a MHLS Outstanding accomplishment award in the Civic Engagement category for recognition of the active partnership between the Library and the Town’s Parks and Rec Department. Our combined efforts by both groups benefit our community through our movie nights in the park, summertime library story walks in the Stringham Park, cross-marketing of each department’s summer programming, and our Little Free Library structure in the Freedom Park. Both Sandy Washburn and I work congenially together, serving our Lagrange tax payers by creating public ‘coming together’ opportunities in a cost effective manner.
FDR Library Director Paul Sparrow addressed the group, speaking of their current exhibition ” 24 hours after Pearl Harbor” in recognition of the 75th anniversary of December 7, 1941. Currently, the FDR library houses 171 million primary sources (presidential papers, speech drafts, artifacts etc.) ; 50 000 books in its collection, 23 000 of which personally belonged to Roosevelt. Mr. Sparrow spoke of the role of presidential libraries in history, the advantages / challenges of technology and of Roosevelt’s view of libraries as “an act of faith” which promoting civic engagement in our communities.
Upon the wrap up of the meeting, we were invited to tour the FDR museum and library. One of their security personnel was required to search my hand bag. I offered it to him, explaining that I was a librarian and he was most likely to find an overdue library book. “I’ve heard about your type. Have you seen the Seinfield episode about the library police?” Ugh. However, I do appreciate his quick comeback….me and my good time buddies.
It was a good day, enjoyed by me and my fellow library professional co-horts….my good time buddies.