2020 Annual Report

Curiosity! Inspiration! Connection!

Dear Neighbor,

Traditionally, the annual report outlines the Library’s past performance with statistics and narratives. As we all know, 2020 was not a traditional year and cannot be encapsulated in a chart with numbers. Rather, it is the spirit of our staff and our community and the strong bonds that continue to connect the two despite all of the challenges which truly summarizes 2020.

Through nearly four months of NYS-mandated closure to the public and the subsequent balance of walking the line between safety and service, our Library and our community have rebounded. Our staff and our community have responded with such grace, resilience and care for one another that the only word to describe this partnership is 'inspiring'.  Collectively, we have redefined many aspects of our lives and while we yearn for much of what we lost, we have also managed to make the things we need -- such as library service - endure.

Valley Cottage Library Staff made an amazing and quick transition to the shutdown transforming all of our programming to a virtual platform. They worked diligently, learning how to record programs from story times to craft programs and adding this content to our online social media platforms. Our scholar book discussions, librarian-led book discussions, Book and Pub Club discussions and Adult(ish) programs, cooking, yoga, meditation and knitting programs, etc. were all are conducted via Zoom (what else!) and allowed us all to reconnect again in a live format. The attendance has been pretty wonderful and we feel that post-Covid programming will probably become a hybrid of live and virtual venues. And, our website was transformed further into an information hub to help inform as well as entertain our community.

We even redefined how to checkout a book and deliver materials safely outside our front doors! Curbside service was a cornerstone of our business for many months and I am proud of the way our staff made this process work so smoothly and efficiently. As of today, in-building use is still limited but it has allowed the Library to operate safely during the difficult winter months.

When the first patrons returned to access curbside back in July or entered our building in September for the first time in almost 6 months, we heard again and again how much we were missed, how much our work mattered and how much of a respite a book can provide. We couldn’t agree more and this challenge has only served to strengthen our mission to satisfy your curiosity, inspire you and connect with you.

One thing I learned over this past year is that it really does take a village. I am so proud of our Staff. They have all been very engaged in learning, creating and adapting to our new temporary normal. Their passion for Valley Cottage Library and our community has been evident throughout these long months. And, I would be remiss in not recognizing the hard work and dedication of our Board of Trustees who have worked tirelessly this past year to support me and the Staff in making our transition possible.

Finally, I'd like to thank you, our neighbors and friends, for the continued support of your "home library" and wish you all good health in the year ahead.

Amelia Kalin, Library Director