Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Few or Phew

Today I gave a tour for an organization that specializes in energy improvements for schools, businesses and nonprofits.  We had been in conversation with them before August 3rd, but now the time is ideal to consider our options for improving the energy efficiency of our building.  They were impressed by the fact that we have reduced our fuel consumption by almost 40% over the past ten years, but there is still much to be done.  They will present us with some options and related costs (and benefits) in the weeks ahead.

I have also begun to chart out the variety of recommendations that I've received from staff regarding possible improvements to the floorplan, furnishings etc. at HTL.  They have reported to me on what they liked about the old space and areas of possible improvement.  As we've been saying, we have an extraordinary opportunity to make our library even better. 

And because I don't have much on the docket to report on this gray Friday, I'll mention that I'm currently listening to "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah (the new host of the Daily Show) about his up-bringing in South Africa.  We have the print book as well, but Trevor Noah reads his own audiobook and his delivery is priceless.  Nothing quite as good as laughing out loud.  I'm reading the book "There There" by a new Native American author, Tommy Orange.  It is an extraordinary gathering of stories about Native Americans of all ages living in urban California, which gets its title from Gertrude Stein's comment about Oakland, CA "There is no there there."  A powerful and excellent read so far.

Good weekend to you all.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thanks on Thursday

Emma Crisp from GOBI Library Services, formerly known as YBP, right around the corner on Maple Street came to visit us yesterday to deliver a check for over $700!!  The staff at YBP had a booksale in September and voted to donate the proceeds to the Hopkinton Library's post lightning restoration.  Another incredibly generous piece of community support.  Karen and I were happy to receive the gift on behalf of library staff and trustees!  Emma declined our invitation to shoot some pool while she was here...
In other breaking news, Servpro is going to be here next Tuesday to begin the process of thoroughly cleaning the  Community Room (the big meeting room with the quilt).  Although it didn't take a direct hit post strike, smoke snuck its way into that end of the building (also the Local History Room end).  Servpro  anticipates that it will take two to three days to complete the cleaning of the Community Room from top to bottom, including kitchen and bathrooms.

Next we will bring in our HVAC (heating ventilation and a/c) contractor,  ENE Systems.  Though our HVAC control system was also taken out by mother nature, ENE should be able get a system up and running that will take care of the community room.  We need functioning HVAC in order to permit occupancy.  When we have an idea of when that will happen, we plan to open up the community room again for use by local groups and organizations.  Story time will  probably be shifted back there as well.  Stay tuned, but we're hoping that we'll be open for business IN THE COMMUNITY ROOM ONLY sometime in October.  Send all positive thoughts our way!!

Next stop, choosing a contractor for the work on the main library, which remains an empty shell.  We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Making it work on Wednesday

Remember that we are still receiving magazines and the Concord Monitor in our little library. We are putting them out for browsing here (next to the pool table) and some are out in the Slusser living room. 
You can also access magazines online via our website.  Scroll down on the right hand side and look for rbDigital Magazines (formerly called Zinio).  You'll need your library card number to access these magazines (the new fourteen digit #--if you don't have one, or can't remember, just ask us)--the collection covers a lot of territory--here's a sampling:  Bloomberg Business Week, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Highlights for Children, MacWorld, National Geographic (and NG for Kids), Newsweek, "O" the Oprah Magazine, Popular Science, Prevention, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Woodworkers Journal, Yoga Journal and many more.  Something for everyone and every mood!

Speaking of the Monitor, if you didn't see it on Sunday, the piece about HTL by Nick Stoico was a pretty good summary of where we are. 

.After Hopkinton library fire, warehouse fills with damaged books
  • Bookshelves and boxes of books from the Hopkinton Town Library fill up a Servpro warehouse in Bow while the library undergoes repairs. Courtesy
  • Books are placed in a hydroxyl chamber at Servpro to get rid of the odor of smoke damage. Courtesy
  • Seat cushions from the Hopkinton Town Library are stacked up in a Servpro warehouse in Bow. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Saturday, September 15, 2018
The Hopkinton and Contoocook communities are still reeling from the near loss of their public library, but library Director Donna Dunlop says they should be ready to announce a reopening date in a couple of weeks.
“Within two weeks we will have a better idea of what our needs our,” she said on a phone call Friday. “So many volunteers have stepped up but we have nothing for them to do yet.”
Dunlop and the library staff were worried they lost all of their inventory of books and electronic media to smoke and water damage, but after taking an inventory of the damage, Dunlop said they should get about 95 percent of the collection back.
The library is working with Servpro to assess the damage to the collection. In all, about 1,200 boxes of books are being stored in Servpro’s Bow warehouse, along with furniture and other equipment the library hopes to salvage.
“They are literally wiping down every book,” Dunlop said.
The books are also being put through a hydroxyl chamber, which is used to get rid of the smoky odor that filled most of library after lightning struck the cupola and started a fire during a storm on Aug. 3.
The fire devastated the space below the cupola, where the sprinkler system kicked in and drenched the space to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the building. The sprinklers did not activate in the rest of the building – they only will if there is excessive heat – saving thousands of volumes from water damage that would otherwise require them to be thrown away.
Dunlop said about 3,000 books were out in the community on loan when the fire occurred, and many of those are still being circulated as the library continues as a small operation inside the Slusser Center next door.
The next step, Dunlop said, is choosing a contractor to work on the renovation. Bids are expected within the next two weeks for the library trustees to review.
The lightning strike knocked out the library’s HVAC system, outdoor lights and fire alarm system. Smoke also reached and potentially damaged the building’s insulation in the ceiling. Dunlop said an engineering firm is conducting tests to see if the insulation needs to be replaced.
The timeline remains open-ended, as Dunlop says the library aims to reopen in three to six months. Once questions about the workload are answered, she says there will be a more definite reopening date to share.
“We have an incredible opportunity now to assess where we were and make improvements,” she said, adding that energy efficiency is “high on the list” of improvements.
Libraries in surrounding communities – including Concord, Bow, Weare and Warner – continue to honor library cards from Hopkinton. State Librarian Michael York paid a visit to the temporary library in Hopkinton on Monday.
“He just appeared in our little library at the Slusser Center. It’s great to have his support,” Dunlop said. “The entire library community has been so supportive.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3339 or

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Happy Constitution Day etc.

IF the library hadn't been struck by lightning, we would have been celebrating Constitution Day today with a daylong reading of the US Constitution by students, staff, library visitors and local luminaries.  Perhaps same time, next year:  So what is Constitution Day, you may ask:

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

Seems an important thing to celebrate, now more than ever.

A couple of updates:  Someone approached me today to ask why there was no work being done on the library yet.  We are in a bit of a holding pattern--still waiting for the results on the tests of our insulation and waiting for the bids from the three contractors interested in working with us on our renovations.  They are due by this coming Friday.  

Meanwhile, Karen, Leigh and I had an excellent adventure yesterday.  We were welcomed to the Hopkinton Public Library by their library staff, some trustees and representatives from their foundation and Friends group.  We also visited a company "Tucker Library Interiors" to discuss library design and layout.  We came away with many ideas.  Hopkinton, MA is a much larger community and their building now encompasses three floors and the next door historic chapel.  We liked much of what we saw, but we also felt thankful for the compact beauty of our one-floor library, where we will return.  Soon.

A cafe area and screen scrolling through upcoming programs...

Bookstore-like shelving for new books!
Nice chairs....
Leigh absorbing many ideas in their children's area!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Fun facts for Friday

Thanks to Leigh, Story Time continues!  Staff even  do private readings occasionally!  Here is Laura reading to some visitors!

At some point I may have mentioned that at the time of our lightning strike on August 3rd, there were approximately 3,000 items on loan, i.e. out of harm's way.  Those items are slowly coming back.  We are changing all returned books to a location of "Slusser Center" in our catalog.  There are 1,606 in that category, 285 of which are currently checked out.  We have a remarkably good selection, all things considered and we are beginning to buy some "high demand" titles, so if you have a request, please feel free to ask.

Please come visit us, but also consider taking advantage of the generous offer from local libraries who have opened up their doors to our patrons.  We have heard that many of you are using this benefit.  Just be sure you come back to us when we re-open!  As a reminder, our friendly local libraries include
Neighboring libraries providing services for Hopkinton Town Library patrons
We are extremely grateful that our neighboring libraries have stepped up to offer temporary services to our patrons while we get our library back up and running. Most will provide you with a temporary card - please bring a license or something with your address that shows you are a Hopkinton or Contoocook resident. Here are the libraries and any special requirements:

Bow: Baker Free Library
509 South Street  Bow, NH 03304
(603) 224-7113  

Concord (HTL library card OR a photo ID with proof of residence)
45 Green Street  Concord, NH 03301
1004 School Street
Dunbarton, NH 03046
(603) 774-3546

31 Western Avenue Henniker, NH 03242
(603) 428-3471

New England College, Danforth Library Henniker
114 Bridge Street Henniker, NH 03242
(603) 428-2344

29 School Street  Hillsborough, NH 03244
(603) 464.3595

Warner: Pillsbury Free Library 
18 East Main Street Warner NH 03278
(603) 456-2289
10 Paige Memorial Lane Weare, NH
(603) 529-2044

947 Battle Street Webster, NH 03303
(603) 648-2706

Let us know if you have any questions.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Goodbye Chairs and Lightning Statement

I visited Servpro in Bow again to assess the level of damage to our upholstered furniture.  They cleaned two of the big comfy chairs and they still seemed to have a faint indescribable odor.  They and all of the upholstered furniture and cushions are being considered a loss.  That is also true for the staff chairs.  You don't even want to know what Karen's chair looked like...

Hopkinton Town Library
Lightning Protection
September 13, 2018

Following the fire at the Hopkinton Town Library, there have been questions about lightning protection on the Library. We can assure you that the Library, like all town buildings, meets all required building codes.  There is no current New Hampshire code requirement for lightning protection, nor did one exist in 1997 when the Hopkinton Town Library was built. Lightning protection is also not part of the National Electric Code (NEC) in New Hampshire.

We have been discussing the pros and cons of lightning protection with our contractors and insurance company. We have learned that a single weathervane, if grounded, could likely have caused damage beyond what was experienced, as the wire would have been significantly overloaded by the strike. A more complex lightning protection system, consisting of a series of heavy gauge wires connecting multiple lightning rods to multiple grounding rods, does exist, but such systems are used primarily for power plants, towers, spires, smoke stacks, and aviation related structures. According to our insurance adjuster, even such a robust lightning protection system would be no guarantee against damage from a lightning strike.

As we plan for the reconstruction of the new library space, we will be paying close attention to safety and energy conservation measures.  We welcome comments and questions. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wednesday Wanderings

A recent article in the NY Times is worth a perusal.  It addresses the need for libraries in the 21st century.  If the outpouring of support for the Hopkinton Town Library since August 3rd is any indication, libraries role in communities is more essential than ever.  People don't just miss being able to borrow books and movies, they also miss our programs, using our meeting spaces, informal interactions, having a quiet safe place to retreat into one's thoughts, interactions with staff, the noise, the silence, the computers.....I hasten to remind readers that we are still here to offer many of those things, just on a smaller scale, right here at the Slusser Center. 

Follow the below link to read the article, which is also excerpted in part.

To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library

This crucial institution is being neglected just when we need it the most.
By Eric Klinenberg
Mr. Klinenberg is a sociologist.
EXCERPT: Libraries are being disparaged and neglected at precisely the moment when they are most valued and necessary. Why the disconnect? In part it’s because the founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage — is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our world. But it’s also because so few influential people understand the expansive role that libraries play in modern communities.
Libraries are an example of what I call “social infrastructure”: the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. Libraries don’t just provide free access to books and other cultural materials, they also offer things like companionship for older adults, de facto child care for busy parents, language instruction for immigrants and welcoming public spaces for the poor, the homeless and young people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Visiting books and Voting on Tuesday

Karen and I visited the Servpro warehouse in Bow where our books and furniture are now residing.  Servpro staff report that this is the biggest "clean out" they've ever done.  1,200 boxes of books are slowly being cleaned.  But they have to clean all of the shelving first.  It's quite a process.

As noted in earlier posts, each book will be wiped down with a special sponge and then stood up on end overnight in the hydroxyl chamber, which removes odor, bacteria and mildew.  Those that have been tested to date have come out smelling like.....library books.  Just the way we like them.

All furniture is also being tested to determine whether they can be cleaned, including wooden chairs and upholstered ones.  The furniture is twenty years old and was beginning to show wear.  I will be meeting with our insurance adjuster on Thursday at the warehouse to review the status of the furniture.  

Anyone remember napping on these chairs in front of the fireplace?  You will again, though maybe not on THESE chairs....
Carl Campbell from Servpro has been overseeing the clean up job.  I'd call him with a building issue in a heart beat...but we won't need to again.  Ever.  Please.

And things in our mini library on the lower level of Slusser continue to go smoothly.  On Monday we had a surprise visit from Michael York, the Director of the NH State Library.  It was great to talk to him about how we have been moving forward with our plans and to have his support.

On Saturday, Leigh Maynard took the library's show on the road with a tent set up at the Farmers Market in Contoocook.  Forty three people visited her tent  library; twenty of those were children who did her painted walking stick project.  Stay tuned for the next time a little library pops up in town!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday Felicitations

We had a good building walk through with our insurance adjuster from Primex, Town Administrator Neal Cass, Library Trustee John Greabe, Carl Campbell from Servpro and three building contractors interested in the project:  Bergeron Construction, DubePlus and Meridian.  We expect to have bids by September 21st that will be reviewed by Primex and the library trustees.  It has been a constructive and informative process to date.  We are still saying 3 to 6 months until we can reopen, but will know much more soon.

In the meantime, Servpro will be cleaning the Community Room end of the building and the Local History Room, both of which were less affected by smoke.  They will also be cleaning all walls and woodwork and sealing them.

This weekend, Children's Librarian Leigh Maynard will be at the Farmers Market in Contoocook on Saturday from 9 to noon.  She will have information about the library and will have a craft --"decorate your own walking stick" for any kids who stop by her table.  This staff is amazing!  Karen delivered audiobooks to some patrons who can't make it to the library and Laura has been busy ordering supplies and keeping track of items that were lost to smoke.  AND we had lots of visitors checking books in and out and just plain visiting.

  Meanwhile, Edgar A. Crow and I have just finished "Across the River Styx" the sixth Judge Marcus Flavius Severus Mystery in ancient Rome by local author Alan Scribner.  It was thoroughly enjoyable escape reading and will be available for loan at the library!  From the book's cover, which bears noting "this book is not only a mystery, but also captures the daily life of ancient Rome and is a sojourn into the world of courts, police and criminal law of the period.  All laws, rescripts and legal procedures are from Roman law sources."  It is a highly atmospheric book, fun and informative and just what I needed in August!  Now I'm moving on to Julian Barnes' newest, "The Only Story."  More on that anon.  Happy weekend to all.  Onward and upward.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thinnish Thursday

We had a quiet but steady stream of visitors today in our small but mighty library here on the lower level of Slusser .  It's interesting to note that Thursdays were always our quietest day over at the main library and it continues to hold true here at Slusser.  Difficult to know why.

At the moment Scouts are meeting down the hall graciously accommodated by the Slusser staff, since they used to meet in our community room.  Many families visited including one who took some time to read in our comfy chair! 

Yesterday it was great to see the Food Pantry in full swing.  It's been good to be part of this busy place.