Library Update from Sean

January 2022

Report to the Friends

I’m changing my reports with the New Year focusing on highlights rather than a more comprehensive report detailing all we do. Besides some what I previously reported was the same month to month.


The biggest news is that Marilyn Abbink was hired as the new Supervisor in Training for Ridgefield. Her first day was January 3. Marilyn has worked for the District for 14 years most recently in Telephone Information. During our move from the temporary location, Marilyn actually took on extra hours to help us ready the branch for opening. Staff like her and I’m glad she took the position. Next we need to fill her position. With Marilyn on board my schedule has changed. I now work Monday through Friday. I’m committed though to be at the Saturday meetings.


December circulation was 9311. For 2021 we circulated 89,857 items. Compared to 2020 circulation increased by 98.21%.


We counted 550 people who came into the library during Hometown.


The Take and Make wreath program went very well. 55 people took wreath rings and greenery. I had planned to just hold this on Friday, but there was so much greenery left that I decided to run it into Saturday. Saturday evening a woman stopped by and donated ribbon and cut holly and asked if we could run it into Sunday. I was agreeable and was delighted to see most supplies gone when I came to work on Tuesday.


I’ve been kept busy drafting a new COVID contingency plan for the branch, more a guide on where to find things and how to operate the branch assuming no regular staff were available. I also drafted 4 quarterly appraisals in the latter part of December.


You’ll remember that I wanted to purchase a time capsule? I’ve talked with Marilyn and Becky and we’re all excited to move forward with this. I have some items I want to add and we plan on inviting library patrons to create something to include. My question is are there things the Friends want to include? Keep in mind that the interior space is kinda’ limited. When I think about this as I write this report my mind goes to the Timeline of Friends activities to raise money for the library, but this doesn’t necessarily have to go in. You may want to add other items.


Since you all are talking about goals I wanted to share a couple of my quarterly goals with you. At one point when we were in the old library my daughter volunteered to fulfill a school requirement and Lois kindly took the time to work with her on processing magazines. Cora asked me afterwards if I knew how to do this. I told her I could probably figure it out, but I’d be slow. She asked me how I could be the manager if I didn’t know how to do all the tasks in the library. I told her that as a manager I delegate and I don’t necessarily need to know how to do all the tasks at the library. With Lois gone it was kind of a shock to suddenly be doing deposit (She did walk me through one deposit, but there’s a lot of pieces). So one of my goals is to process magazines with Anne-Laure, who does this regularly, and to order supplies with Leticia. It’s not that I need to be an expert at these tasks, but people do sometimes move to other positions and being in the middle of a pandemic cross-training is a worthy thing to do.


My other goal grew out of a comment from my 360 review, “Sean may lean towards the benefit of the community while making life a little harder for staff unintentionally.” My goal is to more closely balance the stakeholders I interact with.

November 2021

Report to the Friends


No circulation numbers for October have been reported yet. **


The hiring process for the branch supervisor has slowed down. The job was posted November 11, when we had originally planned to do interviews. Potential new interview dates have not been shared yet.


The Trunk of Treat event was a lot of fun and we spoke with a lot of new families. We gave out 125 books and gave out 350 pieces of candy. Marilyn and I are already making plans of how we can improve for next year.


Even if the Trunk or Treat doesn’t take place we could use the same plan for the Downtown Trick or Treat. We gave out over 175 pieces of candy to children in costumes who stopped by the library.


I had two left-over bags of candy and gave one for you to use on Make A Difference Day. I’m using the last bag with a rough group of tweens to create a positive relationship before we start to educate this group on behavior in the library (for instance, no pretend choking).


I’m still leading virtual Pathfinder on Friday afternoons.


Staff are getting a craft ready for Hometown. We put together 150 take and make crafts for children.


On Friday December 10 the library will put out materials for a take and make wreath. I’ll be up early to cut greenery (and bring some with me). Last year 75 people took materials which was more than ever came for the in-house program probably because this runs from ten until supplies run out.


Every month we’ll have a new display of books, highlighting on top of the first nonfiction case as you enter the library. This month is Native American Heritage Month and though sometimes it’s hard to tell if people are taking books we’ve seen good circulation of these items.


All staff will be getting four hours of Equity Training at different times in the next few months


The District is going to install motorized blinds on the interior of the clerestory windows, two more wireless ports (one in the staff area and one that will be outside), and if you happened to look at our books on display throughout the collection you’ll notice they are presented nicely now due to new wire book cradles.


**edit:

I have a figure for October's circulation 9.897 which isn't bad.


Interestingly if today was any hint of what we can expect over winter break we are going to be quite busy. It sure feels like today has been the busiest day of the month. We've had a group of 8th graders cycling through three or four times and heavy shelving all day and given out 10+ library cards. Personally I love it like this-I won't need to walk tonight and I'd sure rather be busy, but being short three people has sure made it hop.

October 2021

Report to the Friends


Of course the big news is that Lois took a position at the Stevenson Library. We are going to hire a “Supervisor in Training” and are planning on interviewing November 10 and November 11 with a tentative start date of December 1st.


In September the branch circulated 10,405 items. In 2020 we circulated 5,263 items.


The Library staffed a table at the Halloween Hall, put on by the Ridgefield Art Association, with mystery boxes and take and make elsewhere lollipop ghost kits. On October 29 the library will be participating in the Downtown Trick or Treat event. On October 30 I’ll take my car and several bags of candy to the Trunk or Treat event at the RORC from 6:30-8:00 p.m. along with mystery boxes and books to give out.


Katie Lightheart has been bringing in school age kids to play chess on Saturdays. Last Saturday she had called to say she would be coming with 10 kids and 23 ended up playing chess throughout the library. My hope is that this is a program that can be folded into library programs so the library can provide better support.


I had a call from Jean Hague with the Washington Watercolor Society. Tentatively they are planning on having a juried show from April 9, 2022 to April 30, 2022 on display in the library. I felt comfortable scheduling this as we are most likely going to begin programming for adults in early spring of 2022. Of course this is dependent on COVID, but that the District is having conversations about programming is a good thing. I feel like in Ridgefield the library could begin adult book discussion, the Spanish Conversation Circle (after checking in with the volunteer who leads it), the Stitching and Spinning program (I get email from this group about every 2 weeks wanting to know if the library can host this program again), gaming for mature adults and possibly a family history type program. The library has the physical capacity to do this and because these programs are really community driven staffing for us is light.


Staff at Three Creeks Library shared a great scavenger hunt idea which I adopted by quickly putting up 10 Halloween images (Think a bat, a black cat, a haunted house, a ghost etc) in various places in the children’s area. If children could find 5 of the images they got a prize. If they found 10 they got bragging rights. They could ask for hints and most often needed help finding the bat. Can you guess why? Bats like to sleep upside down so I put the bat underneath a bookshelf on the juvenile fiction case.


I’m still leading virtual Pathfinder except it’s on Friday now until 6:30 p.m. Christine Olson comes in weekly to lead a virtual Spanish Conversation Circle.


I also did a good deed in October. A woman had come in to use the professional level scanner to scan photographs and then negatives. She needed help which I gave her, but neither of us were satisfied with the scans of the negatives. I emailed the scans to her and she forgot to take her USB drive which had her book on it. She said I could mail the USB drive to her, but she had her whole book on it. What if it got lost? Or smashed? Or she didn’t have another copy of her book? Instead I drove to east Vancouver and delivered her USB drive to her in person. Later I figured out what had gone wrong with scanning the negatives and drove back to pick up the negatives for scanning and then a couple of days later dropped them off. Surely most patrons won’t get this level of service (or need it) and for sure I felt responsible for doing these scans correctly, but I also recognize when I do a good thing.

September 2021

Report to the Friends


The BIG news is that circulation is holding steady at over 11,000. In fact when I first looked I assumed that the July figure had migrated into August, and then I realized that the August figure was actually 300 higher than July. And we haven’t even hit our stride yet as we aren’t offering programs like story time or other activities to draw people in.


We had a count of 2763 People in the library for August, which averages to 106 persons per day. There were 10 curbside requests for the month. National Night Out we counted 263 people. We had two teens sign up for volunteering. Christine Olson is back to actively volunteering for us, leading a virtual Spanish Conversation Circle from the library on Saturday. She put in 6:45 hours for us in September.



The Library joined you at the Multicultural Festival (Thank you for sharing your space) and at Experience Ridgefield. I can’t speak for Becky, but I thoroughly enjoyed Experience Ridgefield. It was great to be doing something we would normally do; especially since we are not programming yet.


I’m still leading virtual Pathfinder every Wednesday though we’re considering moving to Friday for this program. Like most gaming programs I’ve led I have the same group of kids every week, and most have been involved with this program since early this year. I’ve proctored two exams this week.


Our study room is proving to be quite popular. Virtually no one has realized they can reserve it online, but virtually everyday we have two separate small groups using it.


The Art Association delivered postcards to us, pre-stamped, for patrons to take to send a card to whoever they might like to. I had a bunch of identical cards that I thought could be used for the same purpose. When I emailed Patricia Thompson to let her know about the cards she actually went straight to the Post Office and bought two books of stamps for us to give to patrons wanting to send a quick note.


Maureen O’Reilly with the Art Association said they want to purchase more of the cables used to hang art on the display system inside the library. I plan on being at the Haunted Hall the evenings of October 15 and 16 to promote library services and offer a grab and go type craft.


We’re hosting a moderator for a virtual Spanish Conversation Circle program on Saturday by providing space for her and use of a laptop.


We’re hosting the professional level scanner that the District purchased using grant money from the Washington Rural Heritage Project. We used this to scan historical photographs which went to the Washington Rural Heritage website hosted by the State Library, and now it is available to patrons.


Regrettably we’ve had two incidents with patrons who refused to wear masks. We did call the police to assist us with one patron who was trespassed from all District Libraries for a month and we were on the verge of calling the police on a second person who actually brought her children along. We’ve had more discussions with people about putting on a mask, but these haven’t risen to the level of an incident though I did get called a communist by one person. This has been tough on staff, but we are using humor directly afterwards to reduce stress. As I told staff if she had called me a socialist I might have taken it as a compliment.

August 2021

Report to the Friends


In July 3179 people came to the branch. Lois was so shocked by this number that she repeated her math several times.


Patrons did check out 11,346 items. In a normal July patrons would check out roughly 5000 items from the old library. Staff are keeping up with the shelving.


Staff shared that the workflow has become familiar and the system Lois and I set-up is working. We’ve moved from logistical challenges to patron challenges, and as a staff are figuring out how to respond to these.


I attended the August Library Board meeting and reported to the Board in spite of technical difficulties at the last minute.


Becky enjoyed her time with you at National Night Out. We’re preparing for Experience Ridgefield. Becky will be with you in the morning and I’ll be with you later in the day.


I’m reminded again about how small the world is. I’m still leading the virtual Pathfinder program for the District. I discovered that one of the moms was my daughter’s dance instructor for a couple of years starting when Cora was in preschool.


It’s been nice to see the teens return for pen and paper gaming in the study room. One of them told me that he’s running another game outside of the library with some of the first people to join the program, now adults. I doubt they would have ever met one another and been friends except for this program.


On July 29 library staff were instructed to wear masks again. On August 18 patrons were required to wear masks inside the library and patrons were not allowed to consume food or drink inside the library.


Tourists from other library systems, like Multnomah County, have stopped in to walk through the branch and talk with staff. That’s wonderful.

July 2021

Report to the Friends


My report is quite short this month.


Thank you for all your time, energy, and creativity for the Grand Opening. That morning someone told me a grand opening is like a wedding. You have to expect something to go wrong, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. From my perspective it was a success. I can also pass on what I heard from Sherry Braga. She said this was one of the smoothest grand openings she’s been to and had some of the best activities for kids to enjoy. At the library we gave out 43 library cards on Friday, another 20 on Saturday, and more on Monday. We also checked out a lot of items on Friday. And we’ve had lots of questions about use of the meeting room.


Being open without capacity limits and keeping track of how long patrons are in the library is wonderful. I’m looking out my office window into the childrens’ area right now and there are three moms pulling books and 1 sitting where the wall mounted kids’ enrichment tools are with three little ones playing with these amidst a lot of excited chatter. Over the last couple of days we’ve had 4 people in using laptops and staying for long periods of time.


This beats being closed for five days due to the discovery of a crushed sewer pipe. I honestly can tell you never did I dream that I would see wheelbarrows going by my office window full of liquid concrete to fill in a two foot hole in the floor.


And I’ve had several more people come in with ideas for programs from running a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons program to starting a program on family history and organizing family photos to a weekly card and dice game program for mature adults. That’s the one I’m most excited about. Although progrmming staff haven’t sat down for a meeting yet I’m mapping out a tentative calendar.

JUNE 2021

REPORT TO THE FRIENDS


In the latter part of May we filled our last new position and hired Leticia as a 24 hour PSA. She’ll start June 17.


We began moving non-critical items over towards the end of May. Marilyn our new 24 hour SLA would win a gold medal in any sort of endurance competition involving moving things. She even came in for extra hours on one of her days off to help us. By Saturday June 5 it seemed that all that remained were the tables which I brought over.


During this time we also had over 200 boxes of books arrive that needed shelving. I am convinced that Jan who leads the Collection Development Department would win in any speed shelving contest. She managed to shelve 100 boxes of adult fiction in one long day. Not only that, but as we interfiled our adult fiction it all fit perfectly!


John, one of the couriers, spent portions of three afternoons with us after he had finished his route helping us move stuff, but also helping with shelving. I can’t tell you how happy I was at the end of that first long day when he told me he had moved all the empty boxes from the new library to the temporary location.


I also returned from lunch one day last week to find that Anne-Laure had shelved all of the magazines. This was important because we weren’t sure how many we could actually fit on the shelves neatly and we only have 4 titles remaining.


All shelving is complete. Excess books are being sent elsewhere. We’re getting very close to having the staff areas organized. Our goal was to open to the public by June 21st and I feel confident that we can meet that goal. We decided as a staff that when we open we will allow up to 24 people in at a time. Starting July 1st people who are vaccinated and children will be allowed in without masks though we will not be asking people’s vaccination status. Staff will continue to wear masks.


The Library District’s Facilities Department and the contractor are still fixing some items (like a leaky pipe in the staff bathroom), IT still needs to install our new catalog computers, the key card system isn’t live at this point, but I noticed this morning that all of the doors have door knobs now. I expect these little things will be taken care of as they crop up and as other departments are able.


The RCCA board toured the new branch on Friday May 28. Staff are feeling comfortable enough with people in the building that they’ve been letting in parents who come by with children and end up peering through the windows just to see the place.


I’ve still been able to lead Wednesday’s Pathfinder program.


I also had a conversation with a patron who wanted to reserve the large multiuse room for a music jam meeting taking place monthly. I suggested making this a library program so the room could be reserved for the same day and time several months ahead.

MAY 2021

REPORT TO THE FRIENDS


We are saying goodbye to Kathlleen Mintz who is moving to a full-time position at Three Creeks Community Library. Marilyn Abbink from Vancouver Community Library is our new 24 hour Senior Library Assistant. We have hired a full-time Senior Library Assistant, Becky Netherada.


The Library District is offering Limited In Branch Services. People can come into the library to browse up to our capacity which is 1 unless it’s a couple or parent with small children. Starting June 7 our capacity will be 12 as we will be in the new location. We will do away with our closure from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and our closure for the last 15 minutes of every hour. We will also have Internet workstations which people can use. On June 7 we will begin offering curbside services until 6:00 p.m. and Limited in Branch Services also until 6:00 p.m. People will be allowed in the branch for a full hour. Generally chairs will not be available and we will be removing the cushions from the window seats.


Interlibrary Loan opened back up May 1st with some limitations.


The May Experience Kit was Go Art Yourself and arrived May 15. The Library also distributed a calligraphy kit tied to a program offered through the library district by the Oregon Hope Chinese School to celebrate the Year of the Ox.


Summer Reading starts June 15 and will be virtual.


We will be closed June 3-5 as we move from the temporary location to the new location. Curbside pick-up will not be available during this time. We will offer curbside service starting June 7. Our soft opening date has moved to June 21. We’ve started moving items over to the new building.


I had an email from a woman who coordinates the Stitchery group that stopped meeting when the library closed due to COVID. She wanted to know when this program could start back up. It’s going to be awhile, but I was excited to hear from her.


Building Project Updates


The big news in April was the fence coming down and what a difference that made.


Since then much more has happened.


  • The parking area behind the library was refreshed with new asphalt and parking stripes were added.

  • The sliding glass door between the library proper and the Community Meeting Room has been installed. I’m pleased that it’s easy to open and close.

  • Almost all furniture has been delivered and put together. I had emailed Amelia telling her how much I liked the cushions on the window seats and purposefully didn’t send her a photograph so she’d be surprised. She emailed back that she had set them out the Friday before. The break room and kitchenette have full-sized refrigerators.

  • The copier/printer arrived. 4 Internet workstations were delivered. Staff computers were set-up. The network connection was set-up on the 18th.

  • Facilities staff delivered 220 boxes of books for the branch, and Jan Johnston, who is the lead for Collection Development and I shelved these over 2 days. I’m convinced that Jan would win any speed shelving contest. And over the next week more books will be coming on top of what we have at the temporary location.

  • Still to come are flat screen TVs, a video game system, and a projector in the large meeting room.


I’ve realized two things. First, I’m challenging staff to add color and character to the break room though Patricia Thompson with the Art Association has offered to let us borrow paintings.


The second thing is that it will take a while for staff to feel like the new building is their space. Early on I felt a little like I was trespassing almost. Now that I’ve put my files in my office there’s no issues for me. But it will be an adjustment for staff who haven’t been inside as much as I have.

APRIL 2021

REPORT TO THE FRIENDS

Thank you for the generous gift of the Keurig. The coffee, tea, and hot chocolate drinkers at the branch will make good use of it. And for the generous offer to purchase a water filter and have it ijnstalled.

The most exciting news is that on Monday April 12 the first two patrons in over a year came into the library to browse the collection. The library had a soft opening on April 12 for patrons to use the library to browse either by making an appointment or via walk-up. We’re limited to 1 to 2 people for a half hour visit. Promotion starts April 19 and we’re looking forward to welcoming more patrons into the library.

We have 4 Chromebooks available for patrons to check out and use outside the library.

We had a Curbside service count of 587 for this month and we handed out 205 Experience Kits/Curbside Crafts. Chris Poppert from the Family Resource Center did not pick up craft kits we had set aside for her so our count of kits handed out is a little down.

Kathlleen and Lois are like the dynamic duo of crafts! Kathlleen had kids saying “April Fish!” instead of “April Fools” on April 1st with her craft kit containing a cut out fish and instructions stating that in France on April 1st it is a tradition to stick paper fish on other people as a joke.

Lois pulled together a poetry collage craft since April is National Poetry Month.

The District has posted the two new positions at the Ridgefield Library which are a new 24 hour SLA (like Kathlleen) and a new 24 hour PSA (like Anne-Laure). We’re tentatively planning to move June 3rd-June 5th from the temporary library to the new location and hoping to have new staff onboard the 3rd week in May.

BUILDING UPDATE

Shelving is up in the new location except for in the kids’ area where carpet needs to be installed. Paving took place Tuesday in the alley area and striping will take place next Monday. The glass slider between the main library and the community room should be installed next week. Planters and the bike rack are on order, and an order for benches will be sent in presently. The hearing loop is installed, but until the AV equipment is installed-which will be in early June-this installation is not complete.

Proofs using the historic photos as images on the windows have been received and reviewed. The final signage order is being reviewed. Photos from the Chinook tribe for windows in the children’s area have been received. We hope to have photos from the Cowlitz tribe up in the kid’s area also.

On Friday we’re meeting with the company putting the donor boards together.

MARCH 2021

REPORT TO THE FRIENDS

On April 12 Ridgefield Library will open for Library Beyond 5 services including checking out Chromebooks for people to use outside for up to 2 hours (The Library has no public Internet stations). The library will also open up to allow people to browse. People will be able to make appointments for up to half an hour every hour (Library staff will clean between patrons). If an appointment time is not full we will take a walkup patron.

In February a total of 226 crafts were given out. 158 were curbside crafts that were planned and prepared here. 68 were experience kits that were planned for the entire district by Jamie Baer, but put together by Kathlleen. Of these, 30 went with Chris Poppert to the Ridgefield Family Resource Center.

Our curbside service count for this month was 538. Considering that we were closed for 3 days due to a Holiday and snow, dividing that number by the 21 days we did work, we averaged service to 25 people daily.

Lois put together a collage craft kit for First Saturday/Youth Art Month including poster board and images from magazines. She included an invitation for patrons to return their completed collage and we’ll hang them in the library like we did with the snowflakes. After these were exhausted she put out a pinecone bird feeder craft kit, and once these were gone Kathileen put out an Experience Kit centered on weaving.

Lois led a Virtual Teen Book Discussion at the end of last month.

Kathlleen is moderator for an English Conversation Circle and hosts a virtual Craft ‘n Chat program at the beginning of the month.

I continue to lead a Virtual gaming program every Wednesday. Players now include a 4th grade girl who enjoyed her first session of this program so much that she had her parents buy the First Edition Core Rule Book.

We will not be presenting the Ridgefield Arts Experience this year.

I’m glad to report that Ridgefield will have a collection of 15-20 titles in French and geared for students in Middle School, including a couple of copies of The Little Prince.

The District is distributing Teen Library Loot boxes that contain a book, a snack, a creative activity and a calendar of events. These go to teens who sign up through the website.

I am beginning to put together a plan for how to serve patrons if we are still operating under the same COVID related constraints-that is limited entry and limited computer use. This planning is easier with the welcome news that we will have 2-24 hour positions open.

Ridgefield Building Project Update

The contractor has indicated a finish date of May 11. Probably early April for furniture installation. We do not have a move in date.

I was in the building today. Most of the carpet is installed.The planks of green, blue and orange give the mostly grey-toned carpet punch. All lights are up. The service desk area is finished (We’re talking quartz tops). The display case in the Community Meeting Room is finished. All the window seats are installed, and they all have cubbies. The self-serve tech counter is up (This is the one that overlooks Davis Park). Glass doors from the Main Avenue vestibule and the Mill St. vestibule into the library are installed. The partition between the library and the Community Meeting Room is not installed yet and workers were installing floor cove. This is going to be a knock-out library to echo what the contractor said and what I know.

While I was there. I took a long look at the Friends cabinet today and later we’ll need to figure out money containment through the deposit slot-using a metal locking box like before will not work. An open metal container or any sort of small box will work. The cabinet is locking so this area is secure. Opening the door with the payment slot will require kneeling down to let the release for the door lose.

We are still reviewing the sign package. The photographs for the historic images on the windows project have been selected. We are reviewing information on the donor boards.

Amelia and I went to see the bronze eagle today and have asked our Facilities Department to see if it can be hung in the Main Avenue vestibule.

Last week I ordered flags for the Community Room. This week I’m ordering new book carts.