New Fundraiser Highlighted At Library Board Meeting

At the regular monthly meeting of the board of trustees of the C.H. Booth Library May 12, trustees emeritus Mary Thomas and Kathy Geckle came to ask the board’s approval of a spring 2015 fundraiser they are proposing. Similar in nature to the highly successful 2007 gala event that raised $32,000 for the library, Ms Thomas and Ms Geckle presented their idea for a “faux fashion show,” featuring town employees, managers, teachers, business owners, police and fire representatives, and other well-known townspeople as models for fashions supplied by Danbury Fair Mall and local clothing stores.

The “models” would solicit supporters willing to buy tickets to the event, which they hope to hold at Rock Ridge Country Club next March or April. Tickets for the 2007 event, said Ms Thomas, were $100 each.

The event would also feature a raffle with a “wine and dine” theme, Ms Geckle suggested, from local and area eating and spirits establishments. Additional means of raising funds are also in the works, reported Ms Geckle, but before going further with the idea, the support of the board was desirable. The only money that would be needed in the immediate future, said Ms Thomas, was $500 for a deposit to secure a date at Rock Ridge Country Club.

Additionally, the fashion show event would not interfere with sponsorship for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot fundraiser. “It could be a fun fundraiser,” Ms Thomas said, thanking the board for its immediate approval of the idea and permission to move forward.

In other business at the library board meeting, a mostly positive report by treasurer Bill McCarthy included the information that this year’s annual letter fundraising campaign was “significantly better” than that of the previous year, due in part to the board’s additional push, through a second letter campaign, initiated after the flooding of the library in January. Mr McCarthy recommended that the board request the third and final installment of funds from the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library this year, for book purchases.

“Librarians and department heads, despite challenges,” said Mr McCarthy, “have tried to keep to schedules” for book orders. He felt confident that the money provided and not yet spent, due to the unexpected two-month closure of the library over the winter, would be utilized. The board voted to request the funds.

The Capital Reserve, depleted to $0 by costs related to the flood, has been replenished to some extent, Mr McCarthy reported, from money generated by the estate of Merlin Fiske, the Holcomb Trust, and the replenishment from the town for the $25,000 insurance deductible. Out of that fund, water pumps have been purchased. However, Mr McCarthy reminded the board, money needs to be transferred to replenish the main operating account, from which nearly $49,000 was paid out for work not covered by insurance. It leaves the Capital Reserve with a balance of just under $15,000, “Not a whole lot,” he cautioned, for future emergencies.


Back Up To Speed

Acting Director Beryl Harrison’s written report to the board included reports from the department heads, mainly addressing the library’s success in getting back up to speed since the winter flood. Technical Services Librarian Brenda McKinley reported that the processing of new materials, talks with recorded books representative Joe Levy, and the rebuilding of the audiovisual children’s collections are being addressed and a transition back to normal is under way. Ms McKinley is also working with Tony Vas of The Network Support Company on solutions to a variety of issues that arose from the loss of technology during the flood. She has been able to order ten widescreen monitors to replace older monitors in the library, thanks to funding by the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library.

A systematic weeding of the adult nonfiction collection is proceeding, with new and replacement titles ordered, Head of Reference Andy Forsyth reported.

Young Adult Librarian Kim Weber’s report noted that more than 200 new titles have been added to that department this month. The YA Council visited the Makerspace in Westport, in anticipation of the Makerspace proposed for the C.H. Booth Library. An Afina 3D printer, soldering kits and Makey Makey kits have been ordered for the Makerspace program. (Makerspace is a community-operated gathering space for tools, projects, and experts, bringing together like-minded people of all ages to socialize, generally over technology-related projects. Funding for this Makerspace is due to an anonymous donation.)

Several staff members accompanied her to programs at the Connecticut Library Association’s Annual Conference in April, Ms Harrison reported. Many of the programs were particularly apropos, she said, to the situation of the Booth Library as it addresses changes in clientele, services, programming, and technology.

Board President Martha Robilotti made brief announcements, including the news that the town has appointed a new Democratic board member. Newtown resident Geraldine Carley, library media specialist for Ridgefield Schools, is expected to join the board as of the June meeting. Ms Robilotti also announced that John Trentacosta, currently vice president of the board of trustees, would be nominated to the position of president for the 2014-15 year.

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