October 14 - 21, 1998

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Library Corporators Hold 160th Annual Meeting

by J. Rossetti-Ford

The 160th Annual meeting of the Corporators of the Hartford Public Library was held this year at The Hartford Club on Thursday, October 8.

Hartford Public Library President William Large opened the meeting with a moment of silence for the late Rev. Collin Bennett, who had been a corporator of the library for many years. Bennett, who passed away several months ago, had traditionally opened the meetings with a prayer. The Reverend Ashley Cook of South Congregational Church on Main Street performed the honors this year.

Large then introduced the library's new corporators: Timothy Moynihan and Nellie and Steven Romaine. He also stated that the library had reluctantly accepted the retirement of the Associate Librarian, Mary Beth Mahler.

Large said that the number of corporators now stands at 135. "I know I am speaking for the entire board and library. I think I can promise you that the next two years will be an exciting time to be a corporator because our library has now embarked on the most ambitious expansion it has undergone since its formation more than 200 years ago," said Large.

Chief Librarian Louise Blalock reported that the library is "more visible, more vital, more a presence in the daily lives of people than ever before as we enter the fifth year of a sustained effort to build capacity and respond to community interests and needs." She added that the Library's collection now exceeds 550,000 items. "We have the largest, most well-managed library collection in Connecticut. The collection includes the state's best library business and technology resources and greater Hartford's largest quality collection of film on videocassette, music on compact disc, and books on tape," said Blalock.

According to Blalock more than 610,000 people come to the library annually. She praised her staff for their excellence in handling normal duties and added that it is they who are "the first point of service for the customer and the most important ambassadors to the library for the public."

Blalock also said that the main library and its branches function as homework centers for young adults, and elementary and middles school students.

"The library seeks partnership with public schools to create active, student-centered libraries. The SAND/Ropkins Library is a model community library for the city of Hartford. We are open to developing similar partnerships with neighborhood elementary and middle schools.
We are interested in providing technical assistance to the high schools and sharing networked resources," said Blalock.

According to Blalock the library is really moving forward, but much work is left to be done. "In connecting people to information and ideas, it is the library staff with their knowledge and skills, interpersonal abilities, positive attitude and energy that are the driving force of the library's success,"said Blalock.

At the end of the meeting, the corporators elected Lynne Burfine, Maria Posada and William Large to the Board of Directors.

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