hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

December 6, 2012

Library continues to thrive despite staffing levels

by Alex Lippa

---- — Like many organizations across the country, the Haverhill Public Library has had to fight through budget cuts and staff reductions in recent years. But Library Director Carol Verny says the library is still thriving.

“Things are going well,” said Verny. “We have one of the largest numbers of items checked out in the area. We are a well used library.”

The library had more than 405,000 items checked out to more than 300,000 people last year, numbers which are slightly down from last year, but that is not unusual in an age where libraries are used more and more infrequently.

The library has adapted as people begin to stray away from books and use new forms of technology to read books. As a result of a large demand, the library has added e-book classes. The classes allow readers to bring devices such as an iPad, Kindle or Nook and staff will show them how to download content and use their readers efficiently.

“A lot of people were asking how to do this,” said Verny. “A lot of people were interested in exploring the capability of the devices. We offer a lot hands-on activities and background information.”

Also popular at the library is the Spanish-language programs which they now offer. There is a youth services staff member who speaks Spanish and the library has increased its Spanish-language materials.

“There is a big need for it now in the city,” said Verny.

The library now offers a mobile app called Zinio, which allows members to read over 50 magazines from their cellphones.

But even with successful new programs, the library still needs help keeping their success. Unlike many libraries, the Haverhill Public Library is a non-profit organization and tax dollars only cover staff salaries, building maintenance, and operating costs.

All materials and technology come from the library’s Reader’s Fund. Each year around the holidays, the library asks for the community’s help to continue improving.

“Generous donations to The Reader’s Fund are needed now more than ever,” said a letter written by the library’s Board of Trustees.

Donations will help pay for new materials as well as increasing online reference sources such as historical newspapers and business resources.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the library can go their web site at www.haverhillpl.org.