By Pamela West-Finkle
I hope everyone is staying warm in the midst of our Catskill Mountain Winter. February is always the hardest month for me. My husband is already bugging me to bring home Robert Redford’s Jeremiah Johnson movie for the umpteenth time. It has become a tradition so that we can make ourselves feel better about frozen pipes, wheelbarrowing wood through snow, and hoping that sometime before Spring, my downstairs bathroom toilet line decides to unfreeze.
This is the time of year when I get to give an overview of 2021. There is no doubt 2021 was a tough year, but our critical services to the community have weathered the storm, proving that libraries are not just for entertainment.
Except for a week or so of floor repairs back in March when we discovered a small leak in the radiant floor, the Andes Library remained open for most of its operating hours throughout the 2021 leg of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite school exposure quarantines, remote learning of children, ailing parents, and my horrible broken shoulder back in July, the staff and volunteers of the library did a stellar job making sure the desk was manned and our service to the community continued.
I especially thank our library assistant, Tami Jaegel, our volunteer in residence (practically) Bob Murphy, our student intern Abel Mendez, our volunteer coordinator Diane Lockspeiser, our board president Judy Garrison, our secretary Ellen Rosman, and our acquisitions team, Gloria Carlson and Linda Lederman for all of their dedication and hard work. Thanks to Joanne Warner and our Garden Tour committee for a successful summer fundraiser. Also a shout out to Laurie McIntosh and Laura Josepher who stepped in to teach CROP Summer Reading Program workshops when I was convalescing, to Deb Slating who helped to finish up our barcoding, and to Kari Haugeto who shared her wonderful energy and talents on multiple special occasions throughout the year.
Financially, we have a lot to be thankful for as well. We began the year in uncertainty as we were looking at a possible shortage due to having to exhaust our reserves for the construction project. The Community Foundation of South Central New York gave us $7,500 towards operations costs in the Spring, The O’Connor Foundation provided $2,000 in funding for our take-home Story and Song bags, our Summer children’s programming, and $2,500 for the W.I.D.E. Diversity collaboration between our library and the libraries in Delhi and Walton.
After our final report for the construction project was finished and approved, we received our final $8,600 from the New York State Library Construction Aid fund. The Garden Tour and bake sale brought us over $1,100, and our annual fund drive, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful community, brought in around $17,000, including a few amazing donations of $1,000, and our wonderful anonymous donor who contributed $6,000. At the end of the year, Assemblyman Brian Miller obtained the best Christmas present ever—a $25,000 appropriation to use as we see fit. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!
Even though the pandemic has affected some of our traffic and limited the number of in-person events we could have, our patrons and visitors used the library 2,486 times in 2021. We saw a significant increase in the number of children coming to the library. Children came to the library 359 times, compared to 105 in 2020, and 261 in 2019. We checked out and circulated 1,707 books, 959 movies, periodicals, and audio books, and processed 894 inter-library loans from other Four County libraries. Although we’ve seen a decline in our DVD checkouts due to the number of part-time residents who moved to Andes full time and installed cable, we have seen a twofold increase in our children’s book circulation. We have also seen an increase in our reference questions and technical support. Finally, our Facebook live Story and Song time received 354 live views and 19,803 total video views.
We are so happy to serve our lovely mountain community, and we are grateful to our new residents who obviously have a great admiration for libraries. Your positive feedback and support has been so inspiring and it is a pleasure to serve you. We are always looking for new volunteers and people willing to serve on committees to plan events, fundraisers, and programs. If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact us at 845-676-3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a reminder that the library does close during inclement weather—significant snow or ice. We suggest calling the library before you come on those days to be sure we are open. Stay warm!~