Welcome and thank you for joining us for the 2021 Friends of the New Salem Library Annual Meeting.
The Friends’ fiscal year ends June 30, 2021, and it began on July 1, 2020 – and it’s been quite a year! I’d like to take a few minutes to recap the Friends’ activity during that time:
To begin, the Friends purchased a zoom account – this allowed zoom meetings and events to be scheduled in advance without time limits. The zoom account was shared with the New Salem Library (Director) and the Library Trustees and has been instrumental for and widely used by all 3 groups.
Our next project was to investigate the role of Friends of Library groups at various libraries within the state. We gathered ideas on fundraising and programming, and shared our findings with the board.
Our zoom events included: October – Candidates’ Forum for the election for State Representative with Susannah Whipps and Will LaRose. The event was moderated by Mary-Ann Palmieri and there were more than 40 participants! This event was recorded, so those unable to attend to watch could do so at a later time.
Two Reading Aloud for Grownups events: January featured Dee Waterman and Andy Lichtenberg; March readers were Lisa Finestone and Mira Bartok. Both events were well attended and a bonus to holding zoom events was that people anywhere in the country could participate!
In February we partnered with Quabbin Harvest to host “Cooking with Nalini”. This fun cooking class with Nalini and Julie Davis focused on the Indian dish Sambar. The Friends purchased the spice packets for the first 10 participants and it was great to watch people prepare the dish along with Nalini.
In April we held an author event, featuring 2 local authors, Sally Bellerose (“Fishwives”) and Susan Stinson (“Martha Moody”). Both authors read from their books, followed by thoughtful discussion.
Also in April, we held a “Meet the Candidates” forum for the upcoming Town of New Salem election. This informative event showcased each office and allowed townspeople to better understand what each office entails. In contested races, each candidate presented a statement (live or written) and answered questions.
In June, Deb Habib, of Seeds of Solidarity presented “Gardening Ideas for the Soul, Land and Community”.
The Friends also created and published an Anti-Racism reading list, based on members’ suggestions. We held the Annual Appeal, while trying to be sensitive to the many aspects affecting people during the pandemic. We raised $2,100 of our $2,600 goal, thanks to very generous donors.
The Reimagining our Library Committee submitted its final report, having achieved the goal of creating an accessible, multi-functioning meeting space for the New Salem community. The Friends would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication. And now that the Library is fully opened, we hope many people will make use of this beautiful space!
Looking forward we have some wonderful events planned, potentially including a cider tasting and auction at New Salem Preserves, a Murder Mystery, a garden tour and more! We’d also love to hear your suggestions for events or fundraisers!
We are sad to announce that Julie Hubbard is leaving the board of the Friends, in order to travel and spend time with her family. Julie has been on the board for 5 years and was invaluable to our group. She reworked the publicity aspect of the Friends, making contact with local newspapers, New Salem News and other venues. She researched each event to report on presenters’ backgrounds and achievements, while focusing on the current event.
Julie also organized the Friends’ Used Book Sales, sorting through donated books and creating the displays in the community room and foyers. She also created inviting and up-to-date bulletin board displays in the library, focusing on current Friends’ events and sharing photos of recent events. She also promoted the museum passes offered, many purchased by the Friends, highlighting each museum or venue, which increased their use.
Julie, thank you for all your contributions to the Friends over the years. We will miss you.
We have 2 openings on the Friend’s board, so if you, or someone you know, are interested in joining this great group, please let us know!
We hope this message finds you well. That is no longer a sentence we take for granted. Keeping safe and well have been the watchwords for this year.
We write today instead of mailing our annual newsletter and membership appeal—which is normally our primary fundraising activity, generating almost half our annual budget. But this isn’t a normal year for us and, most important, for you.
For the Friends of the New Salem Public Library, 2020 began with the usual promise of fun programming. We held our first of three Reading Aloud for Grownups. The Sip and Journal workshop was a great success with eleven participants. For Love Your Library month in February, we provided the adult gift basket for the free raffle to library patrons. The Reimagining Our Library renovation project neared completion, including the purchase of new tables and chairs and, thanks to a generous grant from the Trustees of the New Salem Academy, the installation of AV equipment.
We were deep into planning other events. Then March brought the worsening coronavirus crisis and you know what happened. Everything shut down, including our favorite library.
Despite the shutdown, the mission of the Friends has not faltered. We remain committed to enriching the partnership between the library and our community by supporting the library through programming, advocacy, volunteer services, and fundraising.
We purchased a Zoom account for the Friends and the library and jumped into conceiving and hosting a Zoom Candidates Forum for the state rep. race between Susannah Whipps and Will LaRose. It was a huge success shared far and wide by AOTV and district towns. It was, we believe, the only event for voters to see and hear the candidates answer your important questions about the issues we face. And this was 100 percent a Friends initiative. We are very proud of our team in making this happen.
We continued our Museum Pass purchases to support the museums that had to close and to be ready for when they could reopen, which they did during the summer, no doubt to the relief of many of you.
We provided funds for the library to purchase new ebooks that could be available while the library was closed and interlibrary loans suspended.
Even before the pandemic sent us to the Internet, we set up online donations through the Friends’ website. And with Amazon Smile, you can support the Friends at no cost to you. Just select the Friends of the New Salem Public Library as your charity and every time you shop at Amazon (using the smile.amazon.com link), they’ll make a small donation to us. Did we mention it’s at no cost to you?
In the coming months, expect to see renewed programming—online with Zoom as long as we have to. We’ll also be updating our website. You can like us on Facebook to stay updated on new events.
The Friends’ Annual Appeal kicks off this month and is our primary fundraising activity—especially since we cannot host in-person events. Last year we raised more than $2,600.
You are no doubt being inundated with donation requests from your favorite charities—and many new ones sparked by the ongoing crisis. The Friends sincerely hope you will remember us to the extent you are able. You can become a member or renew your membership for just $10, but please consider a donation of $25, $50, or whatever you can give. Donations can be made directly through our website or by mail to Friends of the New Salem Library, P.O. Box 5, New Salem, MA 01355.
We are a 100 percent volunteer-run, 501(c)3 nonprofit. All donations are tax-deductible and help support our small, local library by providing extra resources for new books, DVDs, museum passes, furniture, equipment, and special programs. Your generosity is much appreciated!
Until we can meet again in person, we send our virtual best wishes. We miss you!
Thank you for your continued support.
Warm regards, The Friends of the New Salem Public Library
Board of directors: Betsy Bergantino Lisa Finestone Marny Ashburne Jo Boskind Anna Channing Julie Hubbard George Perides Karen Stevens Anan Zurba