Monday, November 23, 2009

Printmaker Donald Axleroad helps Farmington's Youth understand Art

We are very happy to have Donald Axleroad here to exhibit but also to invest his talents in educating our Teens in woodcut printing and inspiring our younger children with the Labyrinth he and his assistants constructed and programmed in the Kids Room this Saturday November 21.
Don's “ woodcut, The Minotaur Escaping the Labyrinth, has received many first prize and best in show awards in the past few months from organizations including the Carriage Barn, Rowayton Art Center, Flinn Gallery, the New Rochelle Art Association and the Kent Art Association.”-New Canaan News Review and New Canaan Advertiser, Sept. 4, 2008. Thank you Don and your crew for a first class show.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, third Farmington Libraries lecture series

It was a great honor to meet and introduce Dr.Rabbi Philip Lazowski and to hear his story of survival during the Holocaust. Dr. Lazowski is a wonderful speaker and humanist, his story was transformational.

My Remarks

November 10, 2009
Kristallnacht the night of broken glass

This is our third kristallnacht program here at Farmington

It all started few years ago with a visit from my good friends Phyllis and Sy Lapin, & Celeste Lewitt. When the idea of a Kristallnacht program, here at Farmington was first discussed. We all knew how important it was for people to understand and to never forget what happened on November 10, 1938 in Nazi Germany and Austria. ……
It all began in a personal way, when a German Diplomat Ernst vom Rath was shot and killed by Herschel Grynszpan a distraught German-born Polish Jewish boy living with his uncle in Paris. He shot Vom Roth in protest of the expulsion of his family from Germany. He killed so the world would know the terrible states his family was in which he learned by a pitiful letter from his sister written at the Polish border, This event was the flashpoint for the NAZI hate and, a coordinated Austrian German attack on all the Jewish people and their property where: 99 were murdered that night and 30,000 arrested and put in concentration camps. 267 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of homes and businesses ransacked. This was done by the Hitler Youth, Gestapo, and SS. Kristallnacht also served as a pretext and a means for the wholesale confiscation of firearms from German Jews. These are things that must not be forgotten so that they will never happen again. And, I don’t want to forget Sy Lapin who was taken from us on November 5th last year who helped me so much in these programs. Please! one moment for Sy...

Now, I am so honored to introduce our most distinguished guest, scholar, author, and honored speaker: Rabbi Philip Lazowski the author of many books and papers; but who, today, will speak of his own Faith…… and Destiny. A story of his survival during the Holocaust….. Dr. Lazowski…..

Books by Dr. Lazowski: Understanding Your Neighbor's Faith: What Christians and Jews Should Know About Each Other, Rediscovering the Prayerbook, the Daily Service, A home guide to Jewish rituals, holidays, and prayers, Reflections on faith, Passover Haggadah: From the Depths to Redemption

Also, Special thanks to Kay Donnelly for her valued assistance in the program …….

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yea! for the Friends of Farmington Libraries

The Friends of Farmington Libraries have a long legacy of supporting the Libraries. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Friends were the first to step forward to provided seed money for the Barney Renovations Project. It is because of the good work of the Friends and the many friends of the library that the Barney Project is going forward. As a result of the above, I paid a visit to the Friends Board Meeting of November 5th to acknowledge the $ 60,000 hard earned dollars they gave to the Barney project and to make a few remarks regarding their gift and the naming of it at the New Barney. The Friends have and will always be special to me and the Libraries and it was just fun to stop by and see them in Action.

Best, Jay

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good-bye Suzanne

Children's Services Librarian, Suzanne Maryeski, has accepted an appointment as director of the New London Public Library. We all wish Suzanne well in her new responsibilities and will miss her light heart and kind ways.

Library Board Develops New Strategic Plan

In the continuing effort to provide sustainable excellence in Farmington's library services, Board members convened the second Strategic Planning meeting to chart the Libraries course for the next five years. Board member Terry Roberts acted as facilitator and has brought the board to a cohesive center in the library’s future. We look forward to finalizing the new plan within the next quarter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barney Ground Breaking Tuesday September 29, 2009

Opening Remarks: FVGLA, President Ed Prenet

Farmington Libraries Chairman, Bill Hayhurst

Building Committee, Chairman David Palmer

Remarks: Town Council Chairman, Mike Clark

State Senator, Donald DeFronzo

State Representative Demetrios Giannaros
Farmington Libraries Executive Director. Jay Johnston:
Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele special remarks
My Remarks:

Special thanks to the Town Council who believed in the project.
And, especially Mike Clark, it’s Chairman, for his support in the ensuing referendum resulting in an exquisite victory for the people. Thanks also to Councilors Mark Fey, Michael Demicco, William Wadsworth, Charles Keniston, Donald Perrault, Jr., and Jeffrey Hogan.

I world like to give Special thanks to the Connecticut State Library, the State legislature, our delegation: Senator Donald DeFronzo, Senator Jonathan Harris, and State Representative; Beth Bye, State Representative Demetrios Giannaros……. Special thanks to Governor Rell for signing the bond document awarding a 1million dollar state library construction grant to Farmington Libraries that began this odyssey, And Thank You LT. Governor Fedele for honoring us this evening with your presence!

Let me also thank first and foremost our citizens for giving Farmington Libraries the best community possible to develop one of Connecticut’s top programs. Leading your Libraries is a privilege and responsibility to which I give the highest priority. However, leadership requires support and confidence and for thank I thank our Board of Directors for their steady hand and insightful vision. Andy Baron, Karen Williard, Terry Roberts, Lana Parke, Nancy Nickerson, Alan Coykendall, Kathy Piccirillo, Janice Caroll, David Tabol, Anne Oberg, Alan Sherman, and its chairman Bill Hayhurst, I also need to thank all my Library co-workers and colleagues in Town Government, especially Manager Eagen, and Director Swetsky for their assistance in the many technical matters requiring consultation during this project’s development. Also, FVGLA Chairman, Mike Andreas, for his wisdom and expertise in the development of the project and to Judy Guglietta for her invaluable assistance. And special thanks to Kathy Lescoe, for her undaunted efforts.

Naturally Special thanks to the hard working Building Committee, Chairman David Palmer, Mike Schloss, Alan Coykendall, Andy Baron, Nancy Nickerson, Norma Hartley,

And, Our Fund Rising Committee, Chairman, Buzz and Arleen Whittaker, Russ Fisher, Nancy Nickerson, Brie Quinby, George Reider, and Anne Oberg.

Our Interiors Committee, Nancy Nickerson, Ann Oberg, Norma Hartley, Hillary Donald AIA

And, without saying, our great and innovative architects Bruce Tuthill and Peter Wells who brought our vision to reality.

This is a great day for Farmington and an exciting promise for the future….

Thank You all for your attention

Thank You Farmington Rotary

The Library is all about community and service and that is why we are so delighted to have the Rotary Club of Farmington conducting the second Barney Library fundraiser on the Barney Library front lawn September 13th. The club served over 250 lobster and steak dinners. Special thanks tho chairmen of the event: Stephen and Karen Wasley, and Paula and Kevin Ray and everyone involved for a job well done.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank You Farmington Savings Bank

Farmington Savings Bank President Jon Patrick presented Fund Raising Committee member George Reider and me with a $50,000 Barney renovations gift. Although the project is going forward we are continuing efforts to secure additional funding for the project.

Three cheers for Terry Matava

Many Tanks to Terry Matava for developing a display and working the Farmington Libraries booth at Unionville Days 2009.

Terry had a very wet but productive day….

Monday, September 21, 2009

Annual Report Fiscal Year 2008-2009

Farmington Libraries
Since 1901

September, 2009

RE: Annual Report Fiscal Year 2008-2009 (July 1, 2008/June 30, 2009)

To the Farmington Community:

I am pleased to present to the citizens of Farmington our 2009 Annual Report. While many new challenges emerged during this fiscal year, we weathered difficult times with resilience and the belief in an exciting promise for the future. The positive effect of our program is reflected in the year-end performance metrics up by 8.2%, or by 63,612 transactions, almost two times our population, for the third year in succession.
In that regard, the staff has worked smart and hard to deliver an outstanding program to our citizens and has done so with the spirit of the community foremost in their hearts and minds and with fewer staff to carry the load. Given all of this, the Farmington Libraries continue to be a learning-centered organization devoted to appreciative inquiry and re-engineering for the new millennium.

Within a turbulent and unpredictable economy, we have succeeded in developing the resources necessary to go forward with the Barney Branch Library renovations project. This important and defining moment for Farmington was made possible through a one million dollar State grant, the passage of a one million dollar Town-Wide Referendum, and a successful fundraising campaign all together delivering the green light on this needed and necessary project.

In closing, let me thank first and foremost our citizens for giving Farmington Libraries the best community possible to develop one of the top library programs in the state. Leading your Libraries is a privilege and responsibility to which I give the highest priority. I also would like to thank our Board of Directors for their steady hand and insightful vision and I wish to thank all my Library co-workers and colleagues in Town Government, especially Manager Eagen, and Director Swetsky for their assistance in the many technical matters that required consultation over the year. I hope you visit our departmental blogs @ to further understand the richness of the programming provided to you daily. The following provides a small picture of the programs and events which summarize the year departmentally:

Children’s Services

There were two highly successful initiatives in the Children’s Room this year: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten and the arrangement of a sizeable part of the picture book collection into theme centers. And again the annual summer reading program broke all previous records.

1. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten: This new program encourages parents to read to their very young children, based on research showing that the number of books children have been read and the amount of language they are exposed to directly correlates with their later success in school.

This initiative was modeled on our highly successful school-age summer reading program, and uses reading logs to record the number of books read and offers incentives to encourage participation and completion of the activity. As of June 30 the program had been running only a few months and 164 children registered and recorded 21,300 books in their logs.

2. Theme Books in the Picture Book Collection: The picture book collection in the Children’s Room is the largest collection of books. Traditionally these books are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name, but this year a large number of these books were arranged in theme centers, based on the most popular areas of interest of preschool children. Some themes included are: Bedtime Stories, Things That Go (trucks, trains and planes), Dinosaurs, Teddy Bears, Starting School, Toilet Training, Princess Stories, and Concepts, which includes colors, shapes, opposites and telling time.

Parents are very enthusiastic about this arrangement and there is an appreciable savings in staff time, since families wanting books about one of these very popular subjects are led to one area, rather than to eight or ten different shelves in the larger collection. Also, books are re-shelved in one area, rather than interfiled into the main collection, which results in a more efficient process.

3. Summer Reading Program: Catch the Reading Bug @ Your Library, the 2008 summer reading program, again broke all records: 1,198 school-age children from kindergarten to sixth grade participated & recorded 27,594 books on their school reading log. This was a 9 % increase in participation over last year’s program.

Teen Services

1. We launched the Farmington Library Teen Review blog, a peer-to-peer reader's advisory tool currently featuring over seventy book reviews, with more to be added each month.
2. 71 teens participated in Teen Summer Reading through volunteer service, program attendance, and review-writing. Volunteers in the adult and children's department were down in number, but were employed more effectively -- given more meaningful tasks and more effective supervision -- than in the past.
3. We expanded the partnership with the schools and Farmington FOCUS to offer campus safety programs for graduating girls and boys.
4. Teen book circulation continued to rise, with statistics for July 2009 showing a 9% increase over July 2008, thanks to the recent interfiling of teen paperbacks with teen hardcover fiction and to the increased visibility of new and popular teen materials.
5. Usage of the Nintendo Wii gaming system in the teen area increased with the addition of a dedicated non-circulating collection of games.
08-09 Accomplishments

Information Services

1. Adult Collections were enhanced with the establishment of New Business Center in cooperation with a Farmington Chamber of Commerce grant.
2. New interior landscaping including the relocation of, home repair and home decorating materials which were placed in the new "Home Center".
3. Multiyear Adult Fiction de-accessioning program completed.
4. Logistics for the Barney collection 2nd floor relocation completed.
5. Programming enhancements for "Computer U" computer program app classes in fall 2008.
6. Established a new "Mental Health" library-sponsored book group in conjunction with N.A.M.I, a mental health advocacy group.
7. Two major web site upgrades implemented in-house by Information Staff.
8. Reference inquiries doubled through enhanced statistical methods and service volume increases.

Lending Services

1. Lending increased 7% over 07-08 (471,208 circulations)
280,481 visits 7% increase over 07-08
2. Increase in use of self check out— over 27,440 items checked out by patrons
Very successful bus trips
New York Botanical Garden
Van Gogh by Night exhibit at MOMA
3. Foreign language collection –Spanish discontinued –Chinese collection expanded
4. Museum pass virtual registration fine tuned and pass loan period changed to overnight to accommodate more patrons.
5. System holds implemented; subsequent increase in C-car delivery and processing
6. Personnel Manual and Policy Manual updated, passed by Board-staff meetings/training
held to ensure staff was able to handle emergency situations
7. Main library periodical subscriptions moved from Ebsco to WT Cox in cost saving move
8. Business Center collection purchased and made available to public
9. Barney teen collection moved to Main Library

Branch Services

1. Established Village Vibrations summer series of musical concerts on the front lawn of The Barney Library
2. Offered Conversational English Classes to individuals from other countries wishing to have an opportunity to practice English
3. Doubled our homebound library service to citizens who are unable to come to the library.
4. Increased use of The Barney library’s Hoppin Gallery through multiple bookings of artists, scouts, clubs, and reading groups
5. Expanded one-on-one computer training for adults

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barney Branch Library Renovations To Begin Soon

The Barney Library will close on Thursday, August 13 at 5 p.m. in preparation for renovations which will be completed in September 2010. The collection is in the process of being systematically moved to the main Library beginning July 28th. A final Tag sale will take place on Friday August 28th and Saturday August 29th for residents to discover a treasure or retrieve a piece of Farmington History. All proceeds from the Tag Sale will go to the Barney Renovations and additions project fund.

We continue to ask for contributions to the renovations fund to allow this project to be completed with all the important technology and collections required to operate in the 21st century.

Goodbye Farmington Libraries Trustee Karen Williard

Goodbye Karen Williard, Farmington Libraries Trustee, a great visionary and friend of the Libraries. Karen is off to the bucolic northland of Vermont and has left an important legacy for us all in her time spent here. Thank you Karen and all the Best.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Goodbye Ann Arcari... We all will miss you in your retirement from Farmington Libraries.

Farmington Room Librarian, Ann Arcari, has helped people find information at the information desk and ran and organized the Farmington Room archives since 1981. Ann was presented with an Official Citation by State House Chief Assistant Deputy Majority Leader for Economic Affairs, Demetrios Giannaros, with Representative Beth Bye and State Senators: Assistant President Pro Tempore Donald J. DeFronzo, and Chief Assistant Majority Leader Jonathan A. Harris. Ann said goodbye to over 60 friends at the Main Library on June fourth. We all wish Ann well in her retirement

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kathy Piccirillo receives the first D. Newton Barney library service award

Service is precious and yet a rigorous effort, where balance is a difficult art at times. My corps of trustees has a wonderful understanding of how to balance and work effectively throughout the challenges they face as my bosses and Library policy makers. In that regard, Kathy has been exemplary and diligent in the execution of her duties as a library trustee. I thank her for her hard work and congratulate her on her accomplishments. I look forward to seeing here often at the Library

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dr. Timothy Breslin, Principal, Farmington High School presents "Friends of Farmington High School Award" to the Library Staff: YEA!

Thank you Farmington High School. It is exhilarating to have the main library next to the High School, students, young people, have such a great sense of humor and a need for recognition. We realize that their lives are not always easy and that they can not always communicate how they really feel. It is that difference in us that bonds us to them and gives us a great pride and satisfaction to receive this award. In short we thrive on working with Farmington's high school students who remind us of our glorious past and the promises of the future. We are so happy to know we can and do make a difference in their lives.