2021 Report to the Town

What a year! Operating the library under the continued COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges.  Once again, we offered little indoor programming, a real loss for our normal operating structure, and were intentional about library usage and availability.   Using the extra hours normally devoted to programming at OFL, we wrote grants, created story time videos with community farmers and professionals, focused on the library collection, offered a 4-week summer camp for Orwell youth, and sought ways to better support and work with community groups.  

This year we received over $33,000 in grant funding.  With those funds and in-kind donations, we provided high quality equipment and tech support to the Select Board for the 2021 Virtual Town Meeting Informational Session, increased our wireless internet reach throughout the village green, purchased new patron and staff computers, increased our outdoor outlet availability, and provided 4 weeks of free day camp to Orwell youth in collaboration with Orwell Village School staff.  

Summer Camp and the teen and preschool programming (supported by the Summer Matters Grant) gave 72 Orwell children access to quality activities.  These events and camps were created to bring children together and give a feeling of hope and support after a year of stress and unknowns.  Our camp themes included The Great Outdoors, STEM, Art, Music, & Movement, and Games, Games, Games.  More than 18 kids participated in each week of camp. We hired 3 committed OVS staff and one local teen to run the program. It was a tremendous success. Young families participated in outdoor story time events and teens came to the library weekly for pizza and activities. This July was one to be remembered.

Virtual Story Time videos featuring local families

Another offering of note from 2021 is our Virtual Story Time videos, available on our website.  We visited sites around Orwell to capture what makes this village special.  A heartfelt thanks to our various hosts!

In the spring, Ramona Akpo-Sani stepped down from her position as the library assistant after many years of library service.  Ramona worked diligently as a Trustee in the early 2000’s writing policies and preparing the library for our online catalog.  As the library assistant, she catalogued many titles and welcomed community members into our space for 3 wonderful years.  Her leadership in bringing the library into the 21st century is to be commended. Thank you, Ramona.  

At the library, we offer:

  • free 24/7 WIFI in our parking area and around the town green.
  • public computers for use during open hours.
  • computer, device, and internet help.
  • a meeting place for local groups. 
  • a public gallery for local artists to display their work.
  • access to an online library of informational databases.
  • access to online libraries of eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and more.
  • a place to donate used, in good condition, books and media.
  • new and emerging technologies to experience, like VR. 
  • a “Library of Things” including an egg incubator, wood moisture reader, projector & screen, Kindle, board games, puzzles and more to borrow. 
  • Passes to local attractions

Over the course of a few months, a committee of Library Trustees, Wright Board members, and the librarian created a document that lays out the responsibilities of each board and the procedures for working together.  The OFL Board approved the Responsibilities Agreement in September and created a liaison position to aid in communication and future positive outcomes.   We all agree, our building in the center of Orwell village is a treasure to be maintained with care.  

We thank the community for your enthusiastic support of our biannual sales.  The majority of our operating funds are raised during these events.  

Lucas Family at the 2021 Harvest Sale

Orwell Free Library is ever grateful to local taxpayers for their continued support.

2021 Circulation and Usage
Borrowed items: 1821 adult books, 3219 children and teen books, 303 videos,
67 kits and things
2223 library visits, 813 program participants
723 items added to the collection

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