Kent Memorial Library

Annual Report to the Town, 2015-2016

The Kent Memorial Library’s temporary home, 61 Ffyler Place, has served the library well.  The circulation statistics show a resurgence in the Spring of 2016, following a decline due to the move out of 50 North Main Street.  Complications with the renovation of the library and remediation of the toxin polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) have delayed our return until sometime in 2017.  The Town is looking into grants to cover increasing costs and a Town Meeting is expected to approve additional funds.

A fiber optics cable, linking the library to the Town Hall feed will be installed in the Fall of 2016.  Funds from the Library Endowment and the Library Foundation will pay for the library portion. The Town will pay for the link from the library to the Senior Center and the Ambulance Association.

There is a concern that the library will open without the use of the auditorium or Suffield Historical Room, as more funds and requirements may be needed.  The auditorium needs to have wider aisles to enable a medical stretcher to transport an individual from the room in a medical emergency.  To widen the aisles, one or two rows of seats need to be removed.

In the Historical Room, the original wooden bookcases were removed as the shelves were bowing and the acid from the wood was damaging archival materials.  Modern metal archival shelving, paid for by anonymous donors, the J. Gladwin Cannon Trust Fund, the Library Endowment, the Library Foundation, and the Suffield Historical Society are awaiting installment, pending the library’s opening.  The valuable historical records were moved out of the room in February 2015 and the library continues to pay over $300 per month for their storage.  Additionally, the library has had to delay a conservation analysis of the historical records by the Northeast Documents Conservation Center, funded by the Amiel  P. Zak fund.  Since the Zak fund is managed by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the library is ineligible to apply for additional unrestricted grants awarded by this institution until the conservation grant is closed.

After 44 years, the Kent Memorial Library will have new furniture when it re-opens.   New tables, study chairs, comfortable seating and additions to the Children’s Department will be added.  The furniture purchase was made with generous donations from Michael Zak, the Library Endowment, the Library Foundation and the Friends of the Kent Memorial Library.  Also, the library is paying for monthly storage for the furniture until the library is open once again.

The library staff, knowledgeable and courteous, often receives compliments from patrons.  The staff regularly attends meetings updating their skills. The following are courses the staff has attended:

New Technology in Bibliomation Libraries

Dropbox:  Getting the Most from Cloud Storage

EBSCO Databases

Teaching Technology to Patrons

Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians

Using researchIT CT One Search

Bibliomation Circulation meetings

Certificate Courses in Technical Services

Dorian Taylor, the long-time Head of Technical Services, retired in June 2015.  Sabine Schneider, a nine-year employee, became the new Head of Technical Services in February 2016.  Susan Mack retired in August 2015.  Her position as Reference /Interlibrary Loan Librarian will remain unfilled.  Three new Substitute Librarians started this year:  Sandra Chmiel, Pinki Shah and Barbara Conibear.  We also employed a new library page, 10th grader, Anna Mervosh.  The total staff now numbers seventeen, of whom twelve are part-time.  The library is open 56 hours a week, except during July and August when it is open 52 hours per week.

In addition to Children’s, Reference and Check-out Services, the library offers a free notary service provided by Pamela Baldini.  Beverly Sikes manages the Homebound Service to those who would like library materials but are homebound.  The library’s website was greatly improved by Diane Morse, enabling it to be more useful and up-to-date.

New features have been added to Children’s Services.   In a corner of the Children’s Room is the Krayon Kiosk, a three IPad sit-down station filled with fun, educational software for young readers. Available on the library’s website is Bookflix, a Scholastic e-book database for children in Pre-K through 3rd grade.  It features picture books in video format.  In addition to, Consumer Reports, and Newsbank’s Historical Newspaper databases, the library offers  This database features online courses on technical and business skills.  E-books are provided on two different platforms:  OneClick Digital and OverDriveZinio is the library’s e-magazine platform.  All are free to Suffield patrons with a library card.

Despite the small programming rooms at 61 Ffyler Place, the library continued to show movies (with popcorn), provided book discussions and many other programs for young and old.  Some of our programs were held at 61 Ffyler Place, others were off-site.  Notable programs include perennial favorites:  Polar Express, Fancy Nancy Soiree, and story times.  The Hastings Farm added to our Halloween and Harvest Fest.  The library hosts a Writers’ Group and continues to sponsor writing contests for young and old.  The library also hosts a Photography Club, Socrates Club, and Suffield Chamber of Commerce programs for their members.  The Suffield Players provided play readings throughout the year and the Suffield Youth Theater presented an original murder mystery play.  Programs also included talks on Nepal, Korean culture, Meditation, Islam, Antarctica and Baseball. This was the first year that the library presented an 8-week Great Decisions discussion group on world affairs.  We also had successful Winter and Summer Reading Programs for children and adults, with the ever-popular basket drawings provided by local businesses and the Friends of the Kent Memorial Library, who also fund the bulk of the library’s programs.

Moving to a smaller space, without many of the library’s books, we have relied on the interlibrary loan service provided by the State of Connecticut.  Unfortunately, due to Connecticut’s budgetary woes, the State’s funding issues have affected the interlibrary service causing it to be less robust and timely. Improvements in this area are expected.

All in all, the library has had a successful year.  Despite the library’s diminished circumstances, the library statistics demonstrate the library remains viable.  The library staff looks forward to serving our patrons in the new fiscal year.


Statistics                                                         2015-2016                                                2014-2015

Total Circulation – Items checked out 83,406 84,662
Total Patrons 12,640 12,300
Door Count 48,047 50,155
Total Programs 482 506
Total Program Attendance 7,846 6,542
Volunteer Hours (including Community Service Hours) 517 344
Computer Users 2,163 N/A
Facebook Visits 29,930 32,033
Website Visits 33,736 34,247



Jackie Hemond, Director

Kim Lord, Associate Director

Wendy Taylor, Children’s Librarian

Lois Gracey, Head of Circulation

Sabine Schneider, Head of Technical Services

Diane Morse, Programs/Webmaster

Pamela Baldini, Library Assistant 2

Vicki McGuinness, Library Assistant 1

Beverly Sikes, Children’s Assistant/Homebound Manager

Joseph Barnes, Library Substitute

Peter Brunette, Library Substitute

Cheryl Burke, Library Substitute

Sandra Chmiel, Library Substitute

Barbara Conibear, Library Substitute

Lisa Muscarella, Library Substitute

Pinki Shah, Library Substitute

Anna Mervosh, Library Page


Library Commission Members with Term Expirations:

Robert Brooks: Chair 11/30/17

Michael Alexopoulos: Vice Chair 11/30/19
Claire Kawalec: Treasurer 11/30/17
Bruce Rietberg: Secretary 11/30/19

M.P. (Sam) Coatti 11/30/19
Benito (JoJo) Cuevo 11/30/17
Rebecca (Becki) Fuller 11/30/19
Joan Greenfield 11/30/19

Joe Grimard 11/30/17

Kathleen B. Harrington 11/30/17
Chris Rago 11/30/17
Robert W. White 11/30/19