Happy Holidays from MCLS

As 2012 comes to a close I look back with bittersweet memory. 2012 has been difficult for so many in so many different ways - the constant strife in the Middle East, the uncertainty of the economy here at home, and Hurricane Sandy, which devastated so much of our beloved shore and coastal regions. We lost a longtime friend and colleague, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian Sally Drake, and we all watched as the horrors of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre unfolded. Most of us felt as if our hearts broke wide-open that day.

Still others of us have dealt with personal medical issues, job loss, and family crises. Just as we were about to lose our faith in humankind with stories of political shenanigans, price gouging and looting after the storm, we were humbled by tales of heroism, such as the young teacher, Victoria Soto, who shielded her students from gun fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but lost her own life by doing so.

My daughter is currently hooked on the television show, The Long Island Medium. Now, I'm not sure exactly where I stand on mediums who claim to communicate with the dearly departed, but there was one episode that was especially poignant to me. Theresa Caputo, the medium, was talking to a young woman who had lost her child and was so paralyzed with fear that she was finding it impossible to move forward out of her grief. Theresa told her, "fear and faith don't go good together. Let go of the fear and embrace the faith." Out of the mouths of television mediums can sometimes fall true wisdom. Faith can be defined as many things - but mostly it's about having complete trust and confidence in something. To me, faith is looking past the tragedies that occurred last year and toward a hopeful and bright New Year. I hope that collectively we have faith in our own ability to make any situation a more positive experience just by our own actions and reactions, which are guided by compassion and patience. I hope that we have faith in believing that our libraries are a place where our communities can find solace, encouragement, independence, and inspiration.

Together, MCLS patrons and library staff members donated over 2,000 pounds of food to local shelters - most of which went straight to Sandy victims. We fine tuned resumes, taught new PC skills and assisted patrons in researching jobs - like Daniel S. who recently moved into this area from Liberia. He was a school custodian who got laid off. We helped him to identify possibilities, contacts and other background information for possible job opportunities, to compile his resume, and to decipher what can seem like a labyrinth of online applications. I'm pleased to share that Daniel got another job! Or, Rosemonde and Edher P., whom the library assisted with resume work. Or Jeffrey A., who had to fill out an online job application fast, with little knowledge of computers. We also worked to revise our website so that it would be easier for our patrons to locate information quickly.

This year the library has been a place where young children have come to socialize, and to develop their own love of reading; where adults and families enjoyed literally hundreds of free programs that we were able to offer through the generosity of our Friends of the Library, Library Associations, and other Library support groups. We retained our Library Journal five-star rating for the fifth consecutive year, ranking sixth among libraries in our budget category, throughout the country. This rating is based on our performance - our service in the key areas of circulation, visitors, program attendance and PC use. Yes, that's us! It's all of us - staff, volunteers and patrons working together toward a common goal and a shared vision that libraries are vitally important and do act as the cornerstones of our communities. I believe that we have unique strengths as a library, and to our clients we are more than books, electronic resources, DVDs and PCs. We are a group of people dedicated to touching the hearts and minds of our patrons. I hope that you agree, too.

I know I speak on behalf of the entire Library Administration team - Dick Cavallo, our Chief Fiscal Officer, and Larry McNamara, our Supervising Librarian, our managers and supervisors, when I tell you how grateful I am to work with such a wonderful staff who are truly visionary in their commitment to library services, and what a pleasure it has been to serve you - our patrons. As I look toward the start of a new year I realize that there are many reasons to have faith. Thank you, Theresa Caputo, for providing me with my New Year's Resolution: "Lose the fear and embrace the faith." I hope that some of you will follow along with me as I put that into practice in the coming year.

My very best wishes for a very joyful holiday and New Year, filled with the company of family and friends, peace, and good health.

Be sure to visit us soon in 2013! We look forward to serving you.

-Ellen Brown, Library Director