Dwight Foster Public Library
2010 Annual Report

Library staff spent 2010 fully engaged in the implementation phase of the library expansion and renovation project as well as providing regular library services in a temporary location. The highlights are outlined below.

Expansion and Renovation Project

The final library expansion and renovation plan, a culmination of years of work, represents a careful expansion and renovation concept. It balances the unique and significant facility, workflow and storage needs while recognizing the mission to provide the best possible library service our community can build and sustain.

Library constructions documents were finalized at the end of 2009 and the project was released for bids in early January of 2010. The lowest bid was received from Joe Daniels Construction Company in the amount of $3,246,083 and a contract was signed with them on March 2, 2010.

The library staff prepared for a move to a temporary location in a Nasco-owned building. The library closed at the old location and moved everything out to make way for construction. The move took two weeks and the library opened at its temporary location on March 29, 2010.

Groundbreaking at the library took place on April 5, 2010 and construction commenced immediately.

In many areas the library was gutted during construction. In the historic areas of the library, efforts were made to preserve the fine architectural elements. Problems with a failed synthetic stucco system and low ceiling heights were sorted through and resolved. The building was ultimately strengthened and given new life for many years to come.

Technological Advances

The library implemented an RFID system in 2010 with the help of many volunteers who successfully tagged the majority of the 84,000 items in the collection. Staff workstations and a self-check unit were installed in 2010. The return and sortation system will be installed in the new library during the week the library moves back.

Installed in the renovated and expanded library were a security system, a fire and sprinkler system, a phone system, and a Machine Room Less (MRL) elevator as well as all new infrastructure. Efforts were made to utilize technology to improve energy efficiency in lighting, HVAC, and plumbing. A Focus on Energy grant was applied for during the project which will allow funds to return to the city for making documentable energy saving purchases.

The library also explored e-readers and downloadable books and now has a Kindle, Sony, and Nook available for patrons to check out and try. Additionally, the library is a member of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium and has access to ebooks via Overdrive.

Programs and Services

The library continued its tradition of offering a wide variety of programs in 2010. The summer reading program, "Make a Splash READ!" was a big hit with the 889 children who joined and the 1,437 kids and adults who participated in all the activities.

Other programs included: monthly Read to Therapy Dogs, public and parochial school visits, 4-K and Head Start story times, weekly public and daycare story times, Baby and Toddler Time programs, special Saturday youth parties and programs, adult and youth book discussion groups and a weekly "Learn How to Knit and More" program. The library very successfully coordinated a school/library kindergarten round-up to sign-up kids for library cards.

The Friends of the Library, a group of individuals, local businesses and organizations, exists to provide financial and volunteer support to the library. This organization makes it possible to provide programs and services that the library would not ordinarily be able to provide. The youth arm of the Friends organization, the Junior Friends, trained twelve new volunteers, eighteen Junior Friends worked a total of one-hundred and fifty volunteer hours for the youth department, including stuffing five-hundred "library bags for newborns" partnering with the Jefferson Literacy Council, to be distributed at the Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital. The group continued its R.E.A.C.H. program with the Fort Police Department, supplying age-appropriate books for use in domestic incidents involving children.

The library also partnered with a number of community organizations including the Jefferson County Literacy Council, the Fort Atkinson Science Fair, the Hoard Historical Museum, Rotary Club of Fort Atkinson, Fort Junior Woman's Club, Fort Atkinson Community Coalition, Opportunities, Inc., Fort Atkinson School District, Children's Share and Care Fair Committee and Head Start throughout 2010. These partnerships provided mutual benefit and allowed for important services to be provided to the citizens of our community.

Friends of Lorine Niedecker

The Friends of Lorine Niedecker continue to be dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Lorine Niedecker. The organization offers access to archives, educational materials and publishes a semiannual newsletter. This year they received an unsolicited grant from the Poetry Foundation. The board identified and addressed four priorities for 2010; redesign the Web site www.lorineniedecker.org to include a database function allowing greater access to the collection; outreach to high schools, one public art project, and hosting the Lorine Niedecker Wisconsin Poetry Festival. Partnerships included the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Writers Council, Fellowship of Wisconsin Poets, and local businesses; the Cafe Carpe, Velvet Lips Lounge, Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop and others. The Friends have launched a Facebook page and supported biographer Margot Peters' research. Her book which will be published by UW Press in the fall of 2011. The Friends of Lorine Niedecker provide support for the library to offer this cultural resource.

Collection and Use

The library's rich collection of materials numbers over 84,000 items. All VHS tapes were removed from the collection in 2010 due to dropping demand and in preparation for the move. Over 182,000 items were checked out in 2010. This is actually a decrease of 15 percent from 2009. The decrease in checkout appears to be related to the amount of time the library was closed, the relocation, and the different location. We expect a full rebound once we reopen at our home location.

The past year demonstrated that there is indeed vast support for the library in the community. Gifts of money, time, and expertise were made by many people which allowed the project to be completed on time and within the budget.

There will be an open house for the community at the new library on Sunday, February 13th from 1 to 5 p.m. All are invited to celebrate with us and see Fort Atkinson's new library!

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