In October 1991, a long-range plan of service was initiated by the trustees of the Hammond Free Library. This plan included a history of the library and overview of the population served. We find that many changes have taken place in the last ten years.
For instance, the village has lost a gas station, a liquor store, barbershop, carpet shop, and a restaurant while Chippewa Bay has lost a grocery store and gasoline station and Oak Point no longer has a convenience store. The village did gain a Senior Citizens Housing Unit. The school has had two additions and for the last few years has offered Direct Learning Courses from Canton College of Technology for both students and adults.
Recreational activities have changed with both cable and satellite dishes readily available. There is no longer an Old Fellows Hall and only one bridge club. Weight watchers meet every Monday and TOPS is still active. There is a dancing class for school children. The firemen no longer offer bingo, and the library no longer offers the card parties that were held every two weeks during the winter months.
The library lost a large area of space as the Town Board renovated some offices and needed attritional space for the historian’s office. This has curtailed some activities in the library. The basement of the Town Hall is available for summer activities such as the library program that is coordinated with Hammond Central’s Summer School.
We are now well into the electronic age with two state-of-the-art computers for the public’s use. They were used extensively during the summer months. We will have to monitor the winter hours to see if the usage of them is affected and, if so, we may have to include more evening hours in our schedule.
The gift of the computers from the William and Melinda Gates’ Foundation and from Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Burt was most generous but we knew we would not be able to pay the extra expenses without additional funds. In 2000 we petitioned the local school board to place on the ballot at their Annual Meeting a request for an annual stipend of $6,000.00 to be collected at the time as the school taxes are collected. This passed 91-6 and at the same time the village doubled their contributions. At this time, we decided to add to our Large Print collection, start an audio tape collection and purchase more books in general. We will need to keep abreast of new software for the computers.
In the 1991 plan of service the library decided that our library’s primary roles were Popular Materials Library and as an Independent Learning Center. One of the reasons for the role of the Independent Learning Center was based on the premise that the school librarian and Hammond Free librarian were one and the same. This is no longer a valid reason, but the computers will encourage school children to use the library and will increase awareness in the adult community of other educational materials available through our library and the North Country Library System. As for the Popular Materials role we have consistently tried to increase our Large Print collection, purchase books that we know will be in great demand, started a video collection, mainly from gifts. Materials have been delivered to the elderly or house-bound patrons and this will be continued. In the year, 2001, we believe these roles are still the main function of our library.
To sum up, we will keep our roles for the library the same. Computers are going to make a difference and computers wear out. It was suggested at the annual NCLS meeting that monies be set aside to replace them in a few years!
We do have to promote the library more than we have. We should look into offering programs in settings besides the library as we do the 55 Alive programs. We must not become complacent because of our new monies, instead we must add to our resources, and showcase the library as an integral and appreciated asset to our community.