Autumn winds brought sweeping change to the library this past fall. Started 35 years ago when a group of women created a book exchange, the library was tended by Peg Lotvin as well as many volunteers and employees until Peg’s retirement in September. I was hired by the Library Board in July, and worked with Peg, preparing for the library’s move to its beautiful new building. The new library was designed by architect Paul Mays to resemble the old Gardiner train station. His aim was to evoke a sense of Gardiner’s history and symbolize the library’s function as a main connection to the world beyond, much the way the railroad once did.
I fell in love with this community the day we moved books in a human chain stretching from the old library to the new one. Over 200 people volunteered—and hats off to the local businesses and volunteers who provided snacks and drinks for the book-movers. The move saved $8,000.
Peg continues to be a presence at the library, holding “Tea With Peg” every Wednesday at 3 o’clock. I clearly have big shoes to fill and believe I’m up to the task. A native of the Hudson Valley, I started my first library job as a page at the Newburgh Library more than 15 years ago, subsequently worked at various libraries in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island, and earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Pratt Institute.
Nicole Lane, a Gardiner resident, is also new, and serves as our children’s librarian. She attended Bank Street College, earning a dual master’s degree in education and literacy. Nicole has been busy creating and launching new programs: currently there are three story times on Tuesdays, aimed at different age groups, a program where children read to dogs, and a community playgroup. Volunteer coordinator and veteran library staffer Melissa Fairweather, who coordinated the move from the old library, has been busy too, managing over 100 volunteers, many also new.
Since the opening of the new library, more than 100 people have signed up for new library cards. Why the interest? We like to think it’s the big, beautiful, energy-efficient windows, professional circulation desk, spacious community room and art gallery, the work/computer tables and comfortable reading chairs, or the computer with learning games in the children’s library. According to the American Library Association though, U.S. libraries have seen a large spike in usage since the economic downturn. Not surprising given the value they offer.
Please stop by! The library is a good place to borrow cook books for winter baking, DVDs, videos, magazines and books for indoor entertainment when it’s cold outside. In November, voters approved an operating budget which allowed us to extend our hours to:
- Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and
- Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Also visit our website www.gardinerlibrary.org to view our online catalog and order materials for pick up at the library.