Olean fortunate to have vibrant public library | Editorial

I am a life-long resident of Olean and have been a patron of the Olean Public Library all my life. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Miss Collins, the children’s librarian.

My brothers and I would go weekly upstairs to the Children’s Room (now the Old Library) and she would greet us with suggestions of what we might like to read next. She made reading such a treat and we became life-long readers partly because of her.

Moving into adulthood, I continued to use our wonderful library. My father was on his board for many years and my entire family valued the Olean Public Library. A few years ago, I was asked to run for the library board, and because I believed strongly in the library and because I liked the idea of ​​following in my father’s footsteps, I agreed.

Today, I am the president of the Olean Public Library Board of Trustees.

I thought I knew about our library — but, boy, was I wrong!

Since I have been on the board I have become aware of so many services that our library offers. We offer free one-on-one computer tutoring. There are book clubs for adults and children. Besides books, magazines and newspapers there are a wealth of ebooks, audio books and DVDs.

There are story times and investigation stations (including computers) for children. There are classes to learn Baby Sign Language. Teachers can take advantage of Assignment Alert to have materials ready for their students.

There are many genealogical resources, and a willing staff to help you in your search. The library is a Food Pantry drop-off site. There is the inter-library loan program, which enables you to borrow books from the many libraries in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

There are knitting and crochet groups—for adults and youth. There are ongoing art shows and periodic author readings, evenings of poetry and prose readings, or special programs that cover just about any interest. And I’m sure there is more!

The library board members are proud that we have been able to continue these outstanding services without raising taxes for the past five years. We understand the economy is suffering and have tried to be sensitive to the financial situation of our patrons.

We have asked our wonderful staff to go without raises and to be creative as possible in finding funding and maintaining programs. And they have done it willingly to support all the good that our library offers.

All this is done under the amazing direction of Lance Chaffee. We are incredibly lucky to have Lance as our executive director and he heads one of the finest library staffs imaginable. Everyone who works at the Olean Public Library is truly there to provide the best service possible for the patrons.

This week is National Library Week. I, for one, want to thank each and every employee of the Olean Public Library for all they do. Take a few minutes and go into the library. Walk around and see some of the renovations we have been working on, check out the displays, pick out a good book… and be sure to thank someone on staff for helping to provide this wonderful resource for the people of Olean.

(Ms. Waterman lives in Olean.)

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