Wilton Library Association (WLA) was proud to host its 127th Annual Meeting for Friends on the evening of Wednesday, June 15. This brief business meeting included the election of new trustees and officers, a celebration of those retiring from the WLA Board of Trustees, a presentation of awards for the library’s outstanding Volunteer of the Year and Staff Member of the Year, and a special preview of the library’s new website.
In his remarks regarding the fiscal year 2021-2022, Rob Sanders, President of the WLA Board of Trustees, affirmed that the state of Wilton Library is strong, despite significant changes in the organization. “Most notable was the retirement of Elaine Tai-Lauria and the arrival of Caroline Mandler as our new executive director,” he said.
Sanders also highlighted the exponential growth in the use of online resources, the expansion and enhancement of virtual services, the opening of The Brubeck Collection, and a robust slate of planned programs and events as important examples of how the library continues to serve as “the intellectual center of our town.”
“In this new normal, the library now serves as a portal where the Wilton community can explore worlds both macro and micro, and can come to know more about our community,” he said.
Mike Boswood, Treasurer of Wilton Library Association, concurred with Sanders’ remarks, stating that the library has emerged from FY 2021-22 in a strong financial position. He praised the library’s Financial Manager, Susan Taylor, for her excellent management and tracking of the library’s budget. Boswood acknowledged that the forced cancellation of the library’s spring gala fundraiser resulted in a big loss of revenue, but that the combination of the town’s grant, PPP funding, strong book sale revenue, a large bequest, and a positive ongoing response to the Annual Appeal campaign has resulted in a smaller revenue shortfall than expected. Regarding the outlook for the coming fiscal year, Boswood said he anticipates that “the next year will be a challenging one from a financial point of view, but we’re in a position of strength,” concluded Boswood.
In her first remarks at an Annual Meeting, WLA’s new executive director Mandler began with thanks. “On behalf of the staff and Board, I express our appreciation to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and the Board of Selectmen for our essential public-private partnership and their support of the library.”
She also acknowledged the “flexibility, creativity, and tireless work of our staff, the leadership of our Board, the dedication of our donors and volunteers, and our many town and community partners. Together, we not only endured Covid, but emerged stronger than ever.”
Mandler stated that for the FY ’21-’22, the library welcomed 1,200 new cardholders, in addition to holding several book sales, celebrating the return of art exhibits, hosting the second annual Ice Cream Social, and marking the 16th annual Wilton Reads, a collaboration with the Wilton Public Schools.
“There was no shortage of programs and activities that supported the library’s mission to inform, enrich, connect, and inspire our community,” Mandler added, including countless children’s story times; a successful season for Singularity Technology, the library’s high school robotics team; plus fantastic adult programming including the Economic Forecast Meeting co-sponsored with the Chamber of Commerce, the annual lecture series with the Wilton Historical Society, and the return of Connecticut’s Own chamber music series.
Each year, the library acknowledges a Staff Member of the Year. In her remarks,
Mandler announced that Cathy Steele, who works in the Circulation, Adult Reference, and Technical Services departments, was selected as “she has stepped up and taken over so many important responsibilities. We are so grateful for Cathy’s dedication, attention to detail, and enthusiasm for our library.”
Sanders announced that Emily Moore was selected as Volunteer of the Year for her contributions in designing the library’s new website, making it more contemporary, easy to navigate, and reflective of Wilton Library’s brand.
“This was a huge undertaking, to say the least, which has consumed hundreds of hours of her time. But besides her enormous talent and generosity, Emily brings a grace and positive attitude to everything and everyone she touches. She always has a smile on her face and wants to do more to help. We can’t thank her enough and Wilton Library is better because of her generosity,” Sanders said.
During the business meeting, attendees voted on the proposed slate of officers and elected Sanders as president, Marty Avallone as vice president; Betsy Huffman as secretary and Mike Boswood as treasurer for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
Retiring trustees Teresa DiLorenzo-Waldron, Tom Fagan, John Fischetti, Margret Greene, Natasha Hafez and Carol Johnson were honored with books that were purchased for the library’s collection. The books will carry bookplates acknowledging their service as trustees.
New trustees nominated and approved to serve on the board are Matthew Greene, Stephanie Johns-Clark, and Penny Maxwell. The meeting ended with a special presentation by board member Sandy Stein, head of the WLA Marketing Committee, who shared a preview of the library’s new redesigned website.
“Every aspect of the site has been thoughtfully designed to provide people of all ages with an inviting and innovative experience that elevates the imagination. All of us are confident that as you explore the site, you will find that it is friendly and intuitive, making it easier than ever to navigate and take advantage of the wide variety of resources, programming, and events that the library offers,” Stein said.
He also gave special thanks to WLA Technology Manager Thomas Kozak for creating the site’s infrastructure; volunteer Moore, for designing the site; Marketing and Communications Manager Nuchada Julavits, for managing the project; and photographer Jarret Liotta, whose photos and videos will be featured on the site.