Jay Johnston M.S., M.A.
FY 2015-2016 stands as a year of significant change, with the completion of the Maker Space project and the 3rd Annual Maker Fair, celebrating creativity and the joy of building ideas into reality. These two signature events were developed gradually over the past few years in response to increasing demand to use the library as a resource center for learning how to produce tangible end products. We struck additional creative and artistic chords with several gallery art shows, the continuation of the Richard Garmany Music Series, and a contemporary mix of adult, teen, and children’s programming ranging from knitting to healing meditation.
Our inaugural Farmers Market, begun in July 2015, was a smashing success attracting over 300 visitors each Friday afternoon throughout the summer. Indoors, Café Louise, offering food for the body and soul, came to fruition in the late winter. Technologically, we mastered the art of 3D printing, data capture, sewing and embroidery machine operations, digitizing film and vinyl records, and Maker Camp programming. We were also successful in renegotiating our Open Source Integrated Library System (ILS) contract with Koha for another five years.
Last but not least, we awarded our fourth Employee of the Year, Susan Porter, repaired and refurnished the north garden patio, developed our new mission statement, and were voted 3rd Best Library in Hartford County by the Hartford Courant.
These wonderful programs and projects were all completed in the course of a normal year and all while thousands of questions were answered, customers were helped, and a new generation of children were inspired.
More often than not these discoveries translated into evocative programming to spark the intellect and enrich the soul with art, music, science, mathematics, creativity, literature, the synergy of fellowship, and just plain fun. Children’s programming continued to evolve as new methods of engaging young foreign speakers, minds, makers, readers, explorers, and parents seeking answers to difficult questions moved into the fore. Adult and Branch Services continued to develop innovative and exciting niche and general programs throughout the year.
Continuous team learning, a spirit of professionalism, and a passion for success provided us with the momentum to push the envelope in our ability to offer new customer services related to 3D printing, data capture, digitizing film and vinyl recordings, media transfer, digital video editing, and other technology skills and operations. In-house we are maintaining our BiblioBoard in connection with our local history and Farmington Room resources, and ensuring that staff members remain up-to-date on various management applications and software vital to maintaining Library operations.
We recognize that focusing on our customer and accentuating the importance of each transaction with a smile and a good answer are the keys to our continued success. To sustain a high level of satisfaction, we strive to keep the team sharp through continuous learning and a great working environment. Investing in our staff provides us the leverage to deliver service beyond expectations and to meet the challenge of our refined mission statement:
The Farmington Libraries partner with the community to provide free access to services, experiences, and resources that offer opportunities to explore, create, and share ideas.
In a culture that demands extreme customer satisfaction, I believe it is critical that all employees are empowered with the tools necessary to solve problems at their outset. We will not sacrifice good will and customer respect because staff members are limited in their authority to take appropriate steps to provide immediate and reasonable resolutions. Minutiae should not interfere with our ability to provide exactly what people came to the library to obtain. If we do not have the exact item they are seeking, we take the opportunity to provide strong alternative choices. Naturally, we have operational and budgetary constraints, but we understand that meeting the needs and wants of our customers is a primary goal. We work very hard to understand and prioritize these demands. We consider customer recommendations as mandates for collection development and allocate funding to programs and acquisitions as appropriately as we possibly can.
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