News

Library Staff Attend Workshop

Dansville Public Library Staff members Mary Stepanik, Karen Cowley, and Marcia Miller recently atttended the Pioneer Library System’s Support Staff Workshop. Trainings included new ways to access the online card catalog to more efficiently provide service, assessing patron preferences to assist them in finding new authors of the same writing style and genre, and ways to resolve conflict in a professional manner.

‘It is important that our staff continue to provide excellent service,’ said Teresa Dearing, Dansville Public Library Director. ‘Pioneer Library System trainings not only provide staff with new skills to ensure we provide our patrons with the latest services, they also offer an opportunity to network with staff from other libraries in the system which promotes innovation and efficiency.’

The daylong workshop is offered annually at the Pioneer Library System headquarters in Canandaigua, New York. Workshop titles included ‘Different Web Page Designs: Blog or Not?,’ ‘Communications Skills Within Your Library: How to Resolve Conflict in a Professional Manner,’ ‘i-Bistro: Learn New Tricks or Refresh Some Old,’ and ‘What Do I Read Next?: A Readers Advisory Presentation.’

Dansville’s Pioneering Website Turns Ten

Launched on March 13, 1996, with the title of Dansville Community Home Page (DCHP), the Library’s project was the area’s first community website. Started at a time when few had access to the Internet, and the web was a small but growing phenomenon, DCHP was created with the intention of using this new technology to strengthen Dansville’s community and to promote Dansville beyond its borders.

The site opened with contact information for community offices such as the Town and Village, historical essays by David Gilbert, local business listings, local churches, and local clubs. An early and still popular feature is a listing of local people with their email addresses. Information about local festivals was included. And of course there was a page about the services available at Dansville Public Library.

Over the ten years since DCHP was launched, it has grown and changed. The most obvious change is the name: the board of the library agreed in 2004 to rename the website to Dansville Public Library, and this led in 2005 to a significant redesign of the site, to highlight its refocused role as the Public Library’s information resource. In the years since DCHP was started, several other community websites had been launched, including Noyes Hospital, Village of Dansville, Dansville Central Schools, to name a few. In the early years of DCHP, web pages for each of these organizations were maintained on DCHP by the volunteer staff. As DCHP shed these resources, it expanded the services it provided for the Library. Currently the website keeps a list of new books purchased by the Library. The entire Library catalog can be searched directly from the web site’s main page. And Library news is featured front-and-center on the main page.

The concept of an electronic community resource was the brainchild of Tony Witte, M.D. Within a year of getting his first home computer, Dr. Witte sought a constructive community outlet for his interest in computing. He approached Terry Dearing, Library Director, about bringing public access computing to the Library. Soon a fund-raising effort was begun to provide a computer for the public to use for CD-ROMs and to access the Internet. While the funding was being sought for the Library’s computer, Dr. Witte was exploring the concept of community networking, using computer connections to share community information. It seemed that a website would be a practical means to accomplish this, so Dr. Witte learned how to create simple web pages and links, and ‘ with the enthusiastic go-ahead from the Library board ‘ Dansville Community Home Page was born. Other volunteers joined in the effort. Stephen Beecher has been a significant contributor over the years, maintaining the business listings and, for several years, uploading select articles from Genesee Country Express.

Within the first year of operation, DCHP received an offer from the Library’s Internet service provider which at that time was ServiceTech, to host the Library’s website for free. ServiceTech’s servers allowed DCHP to create more advanced features, and in early 1998 the Dansville Community Message Board was launched. Since then over 4000 posts have been logged. Shortly after, another interactive feature became available. The Dansville Community Calendar allows community members to post their events on the Calendar for viewing by the community.

The Library lost its free web hosting after ServiceTech was bought by a succession of other companies. Currently the Library’s website is hosted by Genesee Gateway, a non-profit organization that has much the same mission that first propelled the Library’s project: to use computer technology to serve the community.

Despite refocusing the website as a library information resource, Dansville Public Library’s website continues to provide many community services beyond direct library information. To date over 8000 local obituaries are published online thanks to on-going volunteer efforts. Over 3600 local veterans are listed in conjunction with the Veterans 2000 Memorial project. Over 100 Dansville area clubs and organizations are listed on the Clubs and Organizations page along with contact information.

Dansville Public Library’s website receives an average of 300,000 unique page hits each month. And if Google, the premier web search utility is any measure, the Library’s website is Number One: a Google search for ‘dansville’ brings the Library’s website as the top listing.

Library Bids Farewell

The Library has had to bid farewell to two long-time employees, Rosemary Shepard and Claudette Conway.

Rosemary joined the Staff a little more than 25 years ago. She began her working life as a teacher, then was a homemaker, and later joined the "crew" at the library as part time clerk. Rosemary spent many hours organizing, typing, and filing, working partly as secretary and partly as typist. Some of her duties were eliminated as the computer began to make its presence known, but she continued to type and file documents needed to keep library records in order until her final day at work on September 29. An avid reader, she has always been ready to recommend good reading to library visitors.

Claudette Conway has been employed as part time account clerk for more than 16 years. To her credit are timely payrolls and financial reports, and careful and wise counsel. Claudette worked in a similar role at the school district, and became the library’s bookkeeper at that time. When she retired from the school, the library continued to use her services. She has kept our records neat and clear, and many times earned praises from the library’s auditor.

Best wishes for wonderful, well deserved retirements go to both Rosemary and Claudette.

Library Trustees Welcome New Member

Sherrie Reilly has assumed the trustee vacancy created by the recent departure of Jennifer Leuzzi. Family and work demands made it impossible for Jenni to attend meetings regularly, and it was with regret that the Trustees accepted her resignation.

Sherrie is a physical therapist currently employed by ARC’s Kidstart in Geneseo. She is a long-time golfer, enjoys gardening, and loves a good mystery story. "I’m very excited to be a new member of the library board and have the opportunity to participate in the library’s growth."

The other members of the Board of Trustees are David Reinholtz, President; Bill Beierschmitt, Vice President; Clay Harris, Treasurer; and Mary Ann Holden, Secretary. The Board meets the first Monday of the month at 4:00 p.m.

Dansville Public Library is Hotspot

Dansville Public Library has begun a new service for wireless Internet access. Popularly known as a "WiFi hotspot", the Library’s service is available to any visitor to the facility who brings in a laptop computer equipped with wireless networking capability.

Demand for wireless Internet access has been growing as the availability of these services spreads to workplaces and coffee shops. The equipment is very affordable, and most laptops sold today have wireless networking built in.

The Library has provided free Internet access to its patrons since 1996. At its busiest times, patrons must wait their turn for Internet access. Expanding the number of stations would be costly and difficult in the limited space available in the Library. Wireless Internet access increases availability of service with minimal cost.

On your next visit to the Library, bring your laptop with you and try out this new service. Simply boot up, and the wireless networking software in your machine will find and allow your connection. Once connected, you will be greeted with the welcome page announcing the Shepard Memorial Wireless Gateway. The Library requires you to agree to the terms of service, which mirrors the Internet use policy now in force on the hard wired stations.

"WiFi" at the Library was made possible by the efforts of Dr. Tony Witte, long time volunteer at Dansville Public and Webmaster for its homepage, www.dansvillelibrary.org.

The Times, and Faces, Are a’ Changin’

Dansville Public Library is pleased to announce two new members of the staff, Library Page, Cory Bennett, and Part Time Clerk, Karen Cowley. Both Cory and Karen are in training, learning the OWWL circulation system, the proper shelving locations, and how to help you with your questions and requests.

Karen Cowley previously worked for McKelvey Ford, and brings to the library many excellent clerical and customer relations skills. Cory is a Senior at Dansville High School. You may have met Cory at Brae Burn, on the golf course.

Be sure to say "hello" when you are in the library. Both are waiting to assist you!

A Special Thank You to Volunteers

The Library expressed its appreciation to its many volunteers with the first Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on Thursday, September 22 at the Dansville Methodist Church Community Hall. The event was organized by Gay Frame, former library board trustee, Mary Ann Holden, currently secretary of the library Board, and library clerk, Marcia Miller.

Addressing the nearly 50 people present, Board president David Reinholtz stated, "A small town library depends on its volunteers. We have an excellent staff, but it’s the work of the volunteers that strengthen our programs and events. This is our special thank you to all of you for your support."

Senator Catharine Young was present for the luncheon, presenting a special recognition award to Carol Welcher for 10 years of volunteer work at the library’s main desk. In turn, the library presented a certificate of appreciation to Senator Young for acquiring a grant of $50,000 earlier in the year for the library’s expansion project.

Trustee Holden spent a few moments updating the volunteers on the progress with the building expansion. Purchase of the neighboring Wilcox property will take place at the end of the year.

The library plans to make the Volunteer Luncheon an annual event.

DPL "Mans" Booth at Balloon Festival

The New York State Festival of Balloons at the Dansville Airport will be the place to be this weekend beginning Friday evening, September 2. Dansville Public Library Staff and Volunteers will be on site with activities for children and a few chairs to give Festival goers a moment of rest during this exciting annual event.
The Library booth will feature a duck pond with prizes for the youngest visitors, pages to color for all ages which will be on display in the Library tent, and some special "freebies" courtesy of the Friends of the Library.
This will be the Library’s second appearance at the Festival, and all are invited to stop in to say hello to Staff and Volunteers.

It’s Official! and Library Benefits From the Rotary Read-a-Thon

Dansville Public Library is the recipient of $10,703.31, monies collected during the February 2005 Reading Gone Wild Read-a-Thon sponsored by Dansville Rotary Club. The Guinness World Record event, certified by Guinness in July as an official record, featured 100 hours of consecutive reading by participants Scott Vegder, Richard deAsis, Francesca Koycyba, Betty Minemier, Kim Swink and Ashley Standish. The check was presented by Rotary President Richard deAsis and Past President Lois Mann at the Rotary Club’s Annual Changeover Dinner.

This year is Rotary International’s 100th Anniversary, thus the goal was 100 hours of reading. The event was proposed by Rotarian Scott Vegder to promote reading and literacy awareness.

The Read-a-Thon provided an opportunity for Library Webmaster Tony Witte and Dansville Central School Technology Coordinator Jim Blum to set-up a "web cam" which transmitted live action during the entire event.

Rotarian Jennifer Leuzzi organized participation and support from Dansville Central School elementary and middle school students who contributed more than $1000.

The six readers autographed T-shirts commemorating the event, and the shirts are now available at the library.

The Board of Trustees are truly appreciative for supporters of the event, many of whom contributed on line from various locations throughout the United States. The funds will be used in the children’s room as part of the library’s expansion project.

Another New Face at the Library

The library’s newest staff member is Sharon O’Neil. Sharon was born and raised in the Southern Tier, but she and her husband moved from Livonia to Dansville just a couple years ago.

Sharon’s clerical experience has been in the health information and technology field, so she is more than qualified to deal with an organization like the library which deals with files and records and data in paper and computer formats. Sharon, who works 18 hours each week, is currently learning the ins and outs of our on-line circulation system, finding her way around the collection, and assisting with electronic reference and genealogy inquiries.

Please stop in to say hello and welcome her to the staff.