Wilton library reports upward trends for first half of year

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WILTON — The number of people using the Wilton Free Public Library is up, especially in the children’s area. So is the use of e-books, interlibrary loans and fundraising, Director David Olson told selectmen last week.

Along with providing the good news and being conscious of rising costs and needs, Olson asked selectmen their thoughts on working more cooperatively with the Farmington Public Library. He suggested a joint library card for users and saving by not duplicating purchases of some books.

Selectman Tom Saviello encouraged him to pursue the idea.

In the second-quarter fiscal year report, Olson and library staff highlighted efforts to adhere to voter suggestions.

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At the 2013 June annual town meeting, some voters questioned the library’s proposed $108,650 budget, which did not reflect decreases like those for other town departments. Some voters wanted to see more fundraising and financial transparency, while others spoke of the need for the library and its programs.

The private, nonprofit library is subsidized by the town.

More than $16,000 has been raised since the start of the fiscal year in July, Olson told the board. That is more than was raised during the previous fiscal year, he said.

Olson noted that the Black family’s haunted hayride, Blueberry Festival events and the Blueberry Farm donation helped, along with other activities.

“Selectmen challenged us this year to come up with a new fundraising event, for which they would match $250 in proceeds,” Olson said. “In November, we had a silent auction associated with hosting the Teachers’ Lounge Mafia at the library. We raised $850 from the auction.”

Selectmen promised him their checks will be provided at their next meeting.

The library’s endowment has shown a healthy growth over the past couple of years and is at $121,000, treasurer Chris Bennett reported.

Expenses for fuel oil, electricity, snow removal and insurance have increased. Two critical administrative computer systems needed replacement during the second quarter, Olson said.

Programs at the library have included art shows, poetry, author readings and a rug-hooking demonstration that developed into a monthly fiber arts group, Lynne Hunter of the adult services program said.

Increased use of the library’s website and Facebook page to highlight programs has increased attendance and provided feedback, Olson said.

As a Family Place Library since 2005, one of 13 in Maine, services and programming are developed to nurture the whole family, including young children, Cassandra Savage, children’s librarian, told the board.

“The program expands the traditional role of children’s libraries to include the whole family in supporting children’s growth and development,” Savage said. “All ages are welcome.”

abryant@sunjournal.com

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