To view a printable PDF version of the Spring 2010 Newsletter, click here.
A new chapter in the literary life of the Berkshires began on March 22 with the arrival of Sharon Hawkes as the executive director of the Lenox Library. Hawkes, who came here from the public library in Auburn, Maine, succeeded Denis Lesieur, who recently departed after 26 years of leadership.
Despite the possible loss of state certification posed by the Town Board’s sharp cut in the
Library’s budget, Hawkes, taking a positive view, seeks ways to continue serving the public and expanding programs on a shoestring. Reaching out to the community was her first order of business, after establishing a working relationship with the hard-working staff. “The strength of a library depends on its staff,” Hawkes said in an interview, “and I am very proud to be a part of this very talented and dedicated group of people.”
She began reaching out to the community with two appearances at Town Board meetings to appeal for reconsideration of the Selectmen’s cut in the town’s share of the Library budget. Then she spoke at a meeting at the Kimball Farms retirement community, at which she urged residents to speak on the Library’s behalf at the Town Meeting on May 6. “I invite people to please drop by my office and introduce themselves and tell me what the library means to them. We will be forming a community focus group to establish a strategic plan for the library. It will take a lot of input from the community to learn what people want their library to be in the 21st century.”
Hawkes found her career as a librarian after 25 years in the performing arts, as a dancer, dance company manager, and modern dance teacher. She worked with gymnasts, actors and librarians in performing arts programs that included teaching storytelling techniques to children’s librarians in Greenwich, CT. Born in Tarrytown, NY, and reared in Ridgefield, CT, Hawkes prepared for her first career with a New York University degree in dance. When it came time to choose another career, she found a way to begin anew at the library in Maine, first in a job shelving books, and then earning a master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University while working her way up to become interim administrator.
After six years there, she sought a permanent Library administrative position, and found her answer in an advertisement for the job in Lenox. Chosen by a search committee and the Library’s Board of Managers, she has settled into Lenox with an apartment on Church Street, only a short walk from the library.
She finds similarities between the Auburn and Lenox libraries. Both are nonprofit organizations governed by boards of directors that depend on taxpayers for part of their budgets. Both have gone through years of renovations. Each has about 70,000 items in their collections. Auburn serves a larger community, however, with a budget of $1.1 million, while the Lenox budget is $600,000.
Hawkes has started exploring the town on hikes to historic sites. She is an avid reader and plays “a wicked game of Scrabble.”
She says a major challenge she faces is not within the library itself. Rather, she believes, “It’s bringing the library out to the community, and encouraging everyone to come in and give us another look.”
“There is a lot of history in this place,” Hawkes added. “We are going to explore it, to see how we can make our treasures more available to the public. I also hope to do more with volunteers. Volunteering is great way for people to make the library their own. Our challenge is to construct volunteer projects that are meaningful.”
“The future of libraries is also in the conversations we can have, bringing in experts on a wide variety of subjects to talk about things people want to know. And we can go in many directions at once, with personal initiatives for older adults, interactive programs for students, and pre-reading programs for young children, to get them ready for reading when it’s time.
“Getting into the community will help drive us to learn what people need. What do we think it is going to be like in the future? Libraries shouldn’t be following the train back but learning where we are going. Librarians know their patrons and are leaders in providing relevant information. It’s a very exciting time for libraries, and I am enjoying being part of it.”
By Claire Cox
Public libraries provide mainly for their local communities. Since every community has different needs and interests, each library hones its services to bring the most benefit to the most people. Just as a business listens to its consumers and forms a strategy for manufacturing what customers want, a library also uses input from its residents to create a long-range plan to provide relevant services.
Lenox Library is seeking opinions from people who live in Lenox and who also are involved in such areas as local government, local business, education, and recreation to participate in a Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesdays May 4, 11, and 25, 5:00-7:30 p.m. at the library. You will be asked to weigh in on the future of Lenox and how the library can help. If you would like to participate in the Committee, or just want to voice your opinion, please call 637-2630 and let us hear from you.
The 15th annual Lenox Library book sale is coming to town this summer, and it’s going to town with more books than ever before. Cook books, gardening how-tos, music CDs, and that novel you’ve always wanted to read will all be waiting for you starting Friday, August 27, 11am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
The book sale takes a year of careful preparation, with items in all categories evaluated and sorted by teams of volunteers. Arrangements are made to truck everything to the library, where crews will set up the tents, tables, signs, and smiles that help ensure that book lovers of all ages will easily find just what they need.
Book sale co-chairs Ilse Browner and Maureen Hammel make the book sale come to life, and already they are very busy. “I’ve never seen so many books come in so early in the year,” said Browner. “People know they are giving to a good cause, helping the library and the community. They help make us a success every year. And I couldn’t have found a more capable co-chair than Maureen, who has been coordinating all the volunteers who sort and store everything.”
Of particular note are the specially-priced collectible books. There will be more titles than ever before, including book sets, special bindings, autographed copies and early print books.
But you don’t have to be a dedicated bibliophile to enjoy the sale. Current titles make up the majority of the offerings, and coffee table books are popular sellers. Children’s books are much sought after, and it looks like this year’s collection will be a hit.
The grand opening of the sale will be at the Library on Friday, August 27, from 11am to 6pm. There is a $5 donation on Friday until 2:00, then admission is free. The sale will continue on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, with free admission all day. Anyone spending $15 or more on Saturday or Sunday can choose from a large collection of free bonus gifts.
Proceeds from the annual book sale go to support the Library’s many educational services and programs offered to the public year-round free of charge. For further information about this event, please call Ilse and Irwin at (413) 445-5679 or email email@example.com
Please Bring Us Your Books! Your CDs! Your DVDs!
Book Sale donations are now being accepted!
Paperbacks and hardbacks are great!
We also accept DVDs, VDs, and LPs.
We are always looking for those special, collectible books as well. Surprise us with your gift of a finely-bound or autographed tome.
Please call 637-3661, 637-0704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2010 Summer Reading Program Events
Save these Thursdays for summer family fun!
Save these Thursdays for summer family fun!
- July 1 at 11am – Alex the Jester – Hilarious fun for all ages!
- July 8 at 11am – Triple Shadow: Music, Masks & Dance of Bali
Supported by the Lenox and Massachusetts Cultural Councils
- July 15 at 6:30pm – Truth or Fiction Family Fest (see below)
- July 22 at 11am – The Yo-Yo Show with 2008 World Yo-Yo Champion!
- July 29 at 2:00pm – BUTI on Parade Family Concert – Always a favorite!
Sponsored by BUTI
- August 5 at 11am – Go Green with Comic Mime Robert Rivest
- August 12 at 11:00am – Boston Museum of Science presents Animal Invaders
Sponsored by Lowell Institute, Bank of America & Boston Museum of Science
Read & help reforest one of the world’s most endangered tropical forests! For every completed reading log, one tree will be planted through the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees program.
Join us for our first annual Truth or Fiction family fest! Find out who can come up with the wildest tale. Families are invited to listen to the Anansi folktale, The Liar’s Contest, then together tell their own story. It’s great fun guessing whether the tales are true or tall!
tnk grEn with Teen Crafts
What is better than recycling? REUSING!!! Pre-teens and teens will create incredible wallets, totes and wearable gear from used materials once bound for the garbage or recycle bin.
Hop in any time we’re open and make a frog bookmark or challenge yourself with an eco- activity.
Our summer reading program raffle is better than ever! Our Go green participants will earn raffle tickets for reading and for going green in their home and community!
Please check our website in May for updated program information.
Go green at your library is sponsored by the Lenox Library Association, the Massachusetts Regional Library Systems, the Boston Bruins, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
Jeremy Yudkin has been teaching at Tanglewood every summer since 1983. He is Professor of Music at Boston and Oxford universities, and his interests are wide and varied, including everything from medieval music to the music of the Beatles. Helping all people understand music is one of his greatest passions. He founded the Pre-Concert Lecture Series to create a place for all music listeners to learn. He is a compelling, lively, and friendly speaker. Participants rave about the experience. No musical expertise required!
ALL LECTURES TAKE PLACE ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AFTERNOONS FROM 2:30 TO 4 IN THE WELLES GALLERY, LENOX LIBRARY, 18 MAIN STREET, LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS
$25 PER DAY, $40 FOR THE WEEKEND
$245 FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON
(Season passes entitle you to a 20% discount on all Tanglewood concert tickets!)
TO SIGN UP: E-MAIL: email@example.com, or send a check to: Pre-Concert Lectures, PO BOX 2007, Lenox MA, 01240
Saturday, July 3
A TANGLEWOOD PREVIEW. Free and open to the public.
Friday, July 9
OPENING NIGHT AT TANGLEWOOD: MAHLER’S MAGNIFICENT SYMPHONY NO. 2 (“Resurrection”)
Saturday, July 10
BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH SYMPHONY AND THIRD PIANO CONCERTO: THE SECRETS OF WHAT MAKES THEM GREAT
Friday, July 16
MOZART’S REQUIEM: HIS LAST GREAT WORK. BUT WHO WAS IT WRITTEN FOR?
Saturday, July 17
THE GREAT MAHLER THIRD SYMPHONY: MUSIC FOR THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
Friday, July 23
MOZART’S WONDERFUL COMIC OPERA: THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO
Saturday, July 24
ALL BRAHMS: THE FIRST PIANO CONCERTO AND THE SECOND SYMPHONY
Friday, July 30
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!: TCHAIKOVSKY, PROKOFIEV, AND GLINKA
Saturday, July 31
RICHARD STRAUSS AND HIS GREATEST MASTERPIECE: THE FOUR LAST SONGS, PLUS ELGAR’S GORGEOUS CELLO CONCERTO
Friday, August 6
TCHAIKOVSKY’S SIXTH SYMPHONY (“PATHETIQUE”), TOGETHER WITH MENDELSSOHN AND MOZART
Saturday, August 7
TWO VIOLIN CONCERTOS, TWO VIOLINISTS, TWO COMPOSERS: BEETHOVEN AND SIBELIUS
Friday, August 13
MUSIC FOR THE INCAS: ROBLES, FRANK, AND GOLIJOV
Saturday, August 14
A LITTLE JAZZ MUSIC: CONCERT JAZZ BY GERSHWIN, BERNSTEIN, AND SCHULLER
Friday, August 20
MOZART, MORLOT, AND MOTHER GOOSE!
Saturday, August 21
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: BEETHOVEN AND MENDELSSOHN
Friday, August 27
MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: HOLST’S THE PLANETS
Saturday, August 28
MUSIC FROM THE NEW WORLD: DVORAK’S “NEW WORLD” SYMPHONY
Note from the Director: the Lenox Board of Selectmen has recommended a cut to next year’s library budget of $36,452, a 15.4% cut down to $200,000. Such a deep cut would threaten our certification with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and take away many of our core services to the Town of Lenox, such as the ability to borrow from other libraries, state funding, state grants, and savings on library materials and supplies.
Please join us at the town meeting on Thursday, May 6, 7:00 p.m. to request that the Town of Lenox reinstate the library’s funding.
Lenox limits library funding
Updated: 04/13/2010 12:07:56 AM EDT
Tuesday April 13, 2010
Berkshire Eagle Staff
LENOX — The Board of Selectmen on Monday approved a final budget proposal while maintaining funding cuts to the library — cuts that run the risk of losing the library’s accreditation.
Last Wednesday, the board approved all parts of the budget proposal except funding for the Lenox Library Association, after library officials said the decrease in funding could impact the library’s accreditation.
The board stuck with its projected decrease of $36,452, or 15.4 percent, to the library, while acknowledging extra funding is available if the state revokes its accreditation.
The proposed budget for the 2011 fiscal year is $23.3 million, an increase of $300,426, or 1.31 percent. The proposed funding to the library is $200,000.
The private, nonprofit library receives funding from the town for services provided. Its funding decreased last year and had been level funded in previous years.
Because the town is below the funding levels typically provided to public libraries, the association has had to receive a waiver in the past to remain an accredited library.
State law requires that funding to libraries increase yearly, and the decrease in funding could impact the Main Street institution’s status and bar involvement in the inter-library loan system.
Board members said they appreciate what the library does but can’t cut back further in other departments.
“We cannot risk losing an employee, losing services for our town,” said Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Linda Procopio Messana.
If the library were to lose its accreditation, it is possible the town could reinstate some of its lost funds during an appeals process that could take months to complete. Those funds would be acquired from the $40,000 in reserves the town has budgeted for next year.
The matter will now come before voters at this May’s annual town meeting.
© 2010 The Berkshire Eagle. Used by permission.
Are libraries relevant today? What do libraries do, anyway? You know they lend books, and have story times for children…
See how many different library services you can think of, then skip down to Library Service Challenge (Continued) and see what the Public Library Association lists as the work that public librarians perform all over the country.
On May 22, Lenox Memorial High School seniors will hold their senior prom. As with any prom, they searched for somewhere classy, somewhere memorable. And in these tough times, they searched for something economical.
And the winner was… the Lenox Library.
As part of our ongoing partnership to provide services to the Lenox school system, we have offered our facility to the high school for this special event, free of charge.
Sandra Nelson, writing for the American Library Association*, described eighteen different functions of public libraries. Briefly, they include:
Providing local, state, and federal news
Supporting businesses and non-profits
Celebrating our diverse culture
Offering public Internet access
Encouraging early literacy
Supplying genealogy and local history info
Helping to create original content
Providing factual information
Referring patrons to community resources
Improving literacy skills
Serving as a jobs and career center
Offering quality health and life information
Providing for lifelong learning
Encouraging reading for pleasure
Giving homework help
Teaching information literacy
Providing a welcome gathering place for the community
Supplying citizenship information
Times are tough, no doubt about it. But when the going gets tough, the librarians get going! We are still busy bringing you:
Over 96,000 titles borrowed last year
Over 700 children’s programs, serving thousands
Outreach to the schools
Resources for homeschoolers
Outstanding lectures for adults
College-level audio courses
Welles Gallery art exhibits
Unique local history collection
World-class music collection
A building that inspires
We thank you for your continued support. You make us able to help the community with information that helps and ideas that inspire. If you haven’t given yet this year, please donate today to our Annual Fund.
Lenox, MA 01240
For additional information or to make a gift of appreciated securities, please call the Development Office at 413-637-2630 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view a printable PDF version of the Spring 2010 Newsletter, click here.