Library History

The new year began with the Library Board of Trustees requesting the formation of a citizen’s committee to discuss community needs for library services. According to The Review the charge to the committee as approved by the Board stated, “The Committee will be broadly representative of the Liverpool Central School District residents served by the Liverpool Public Library and will meet as necessary as a group with the library director to prepare a report to the board of trustees of the library no later than May 31.

The committee will discuss and identify the current and future services [that] the people of the community expect from this public library and discuss if there are barriers or limitations imposed by the facility on delivery of those services and suggest solutions to overcome the barriers or limitations of the facility.” Members of the public were invited to contact the director if they were interested in serving on the committee.

At the January 6 meeting the Board voted to abolish the position of Assistant Director due to budgetary constraints. The following month two librarians, Rita ben Simon and Wanda Abrams, resigned to take positions as Library Media Specialists in the Syracuse City Schools.

The Board also authorized the installation of new gas heating and cooling units. Workers removed the old “EDPAC” units from the Mechanical Room and placed new units on top of the roof. It was anticipated that the new units would pay for themselves over a period of three to five years while providing better conditions throughout the library. The work took several weeks and the library had to be closed for a short time to insure public and staff safety.

Around the same time that the HVAC installation was taking place a new security system was installed by Sonitrol. New state-of-the-art “Smart Audio” technology was used in the building. The fire alarm system in the public elevator also had to be brought up to code.

In March the first issue of the library’s newsletter, Library Links, appeared in the LCSD School Bell. The Board approved some changes in the Patron Code of Conduct so that it would be a more effective tool in combating inappropriate use of the Internet on the public access computers.

The Liverpool Public Library became the test site for email notification of holds placed on the Onondaga County’s CoolCat. Previously all notifications for Liverpool holds had been mailed. Smaller libraries used telephone notification. Email proved to be a cheaper and more efficient mode.

In April the staff was deeply saddened by the death of Head Custodian Robert Watkins, Sr. who lost his fight with cancer. Many of the staff attended the funeral services and recalled the years they had worked with Bob, his sense of humor and how much he cared for children. Staff donations enabled the purchase of a new sofa for the Children’s Room in his memory.

The 1999-2000 budget contained a very tiny increase of only about $35,000. The $2.92 million proposal was presented to the public on April 27. The voters approved the budget 283 to 147. Trustee Sharon Fulmer ran unopposed and was elected to another five year term.

May 21 was Staff Development Day. Training sessions on computers and various applications were held and there was an excellent presentation given by staff of Rural Metro.

June 14 marked the retirement of Children’s Librarian Barbara Herrgesell after almost twenty five years of service.

The library participated in “Beyond Libraries: the American Libraries Photo Contest” and Kirsten Baker, an LCSD student, placed in the Amateur Adult division of the National finals. Her photograph was on display at the American Library Association’s national conference in New Orleans.

“Celebrate! Read in the Park” was a library sponsored program held at the end of June. Families were invited to drop in at Johnson Park to sign up for any of the library’s summer reading programs for kids. Storytimes for younger kids, “Tots on Tuesday,” was also offered that summer.

The July 7 meeting was a reorganization meeting for the Board of Trustees. Sharon Fulmer was elected President, George Alessio, Jr. Vice President, and Marlene Ward, Secretary. The Board regretfully accepted the resignation of Trustee Fred Elkins who had served on the Board for two years.

At the same meeting the Board voted to abolish the bookmender position, the part time information aide position. In their place three part time library clerk positions were added. This was all part of a Circulation Reorganization plan for better service. The Board also voted to terminate the contractual arrangement for a Custodian between the Liverpool Central Schools and the library. A new Custodial Worker I position was created as was a new Personnel Analyst position.

In her report Director Sharon Nottingham announced that Judy Sibio, Library Clerk in the Acquisitions Department, had received the Craig Koste award for Outstanding Service by the New York State Library Association.

On the first of August Information Aide Barbara Wood retired. At the beginning of September Glenn Rainey was hired to fill the newly created Personnel Analyst position.

On September 11th and 12th the Friends of the Liverpool Public Library held the “Book Sale Down Under.” More than 10,000 items including both children’s and adult books, CD’s, videos and software were sold. Volunteers staffed the sale which was held in the library’s underground parking area.

“Ask a Librarian” was introduced on the library’s web page as part of its Infocenter offerings. Patrons were encouraged to email their questions to the Reference Desk. A team of librarians rotated as responders to the reference queries within twenty four hours.

Programs continued to be popular. After Dinner Books, Wednesday Winners, Armchair Traveler and basic computer instruction sessions continued to attract an audience. Special topics such as a teen poetry night, the early history of Liverpool and an antiques appraisal were also presented.

Performance Awards for 1999 went to Michelle Anderson and John Hibbert.

In November Kaye Lindauer, a librarian in the Fayetteville Manlius school district led participants through the story of King Arthur as part of an National Endowment for the Humanities adult literacy grant awarded to the Liverpool Public Library.

The library also continued its participation in such community efforts as the Christmas Bureau’s collaborative with the Old Newsboys and the Marine Reserve in collecting toys for Christmas. The library was also the site for periodic blood drives by the American Red Cross.

Dan D’Agostino was appointed to the Library Board to fill the spot vacated by the resignation of Fred Elkins. At their November meeting the Board voted to accept the union contract, retroactive to July 1, 1999 in accordance with their negotiations with the Library’s CSEA unit.

A major facelift was given to the parking level’s 54 square foot vestibule. Deb Dahlin, LCSD art teacher, painted a mural of Johnson Park ( including the gazebo) on the walls. Patrons were pleased with the addition of the cheerful landscape while they waited for the elevator.

In November the library was notified by the Environmental Systems Research Institute that they had been awarded a Livable Communities Grant. The award was in the form of a Geo Information System (GIS) software program. The purpose of the software was to enable community organization to plan projects using population density and natural resource data.

As the year came to a close the library was recognized as one of forty seven designated as official participants in Sister Libraries: A White House Millennium Council Project. The library in Liverpool England in the United Kingdom was selected as its sister library.