Chesterton Tribune



Westchester Library to revive 1,000 books initiative

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Westchester Public Library Director Lisa Stamm reported at the WPL Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night that WPL will be renewing its involvement in the national 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is meant to encourage parents to bond with their children through reading--especially newborns and toddlers. Stamm said the children’s manager noticed that WPL hasn’t officially participated in the initiative in a few years and decided to renew the effort. The Thomas and Hageman branches are working together to customize the programming to suit WPL. The program will include kick-off events starting in September and graduations.

Stamm noted that 1,000 books seems like a lot, but “you can do it if you read three books a night for a year.” She also said research has shown over and over the benefits of getting children started on reading at a young age.

Librarian’s Report

Stamm reported that the Thomas Branch children’s department received a new friend for its stuffed animal mascot, Buddy the dog. Buddy’s new buddy, Pal the stuffed dog, was donated by a grandmother who regularly attends story time with her granddaughter.

Stamm said she enjoys reporting on positives as well as facts as Director. Part of her approach is finding out from employees what’s going on day-to-day and including it in her report. She said, “I ask them to send us the real heart of what we’re doing.”

On the side of facts, Stamm said WPL had 34,992 visitors during June. The Library hosted 86 programs that had 1,376 attendees, and 50 non-library groups used meeting rooms. Among the hit events were a beach glass jewelry making class hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and the “movers and shakers” and “messier the better” children’s programs at Hageman.

Stamm said Horizon bank has been working dutifully to resolve issues with the credit and debit card machines and software WPL has been trying to acclimate to, but there are ongoing problems. “The entire process is proving to be more complex than we were told it would be,” she said. Horizon will be sending a higher-up to meet with her about the problems soon. Stamm reported if a more formal software increases the workload on WPL employees too much, Square card readers could be an option.

2019 Budget

The Board approved a draft of the 2019 budget. Before Stamm started in April, former Library Director Phil Baugher served as the interim-director and began drafting the budget. Stamm took over and made some changes after being hired.

Stamm went over the major changes for the Board. This year one of WPL’s employees is moving up in pay scale because she gained her Master of Library Science degree and $50,000 has been allocated in the case an assistant director is hired, so professional salaries went up to $240,000 from $145,000 in 2018. Cleaning and sanitation supplies was bumped up from $12,000 in 2018 to $15,000 because Baugher wanted to build in a safety net for those items.

The biggest change, Stamm reported, is the other professional services line item, which is increasing from $45,000 to $118,442. Stamm explained the change, “First off, we saw our snow removal costs triple last year, so I want to be prepared in case that were to happen again.” This line item will also cover the cost of having Chester Inc. conduct a technology audit on the WPL system and making changes to the technological infrastructure so it runs more smoothly-- a project Stamm set in motion right after starting.

In terms of materials, in 2019, WPL will have an additional $4,000 to spend on children’s materials at Hageman, an additional $10,000 to spend on adult audiobooks at Thomas, and an additional $500 for children’s audiobooks at Thomas. Stamm said she made that increase by reducing the allocation for Thomas CDs by $10,500 upon noticing a significant decline in CD rental and a surge in audiobook rentals.



Posted 7/17/2018




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