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New director oversees changes at the library

Lead Summary

Carrie Becker couldn’t help but smile as she talked about her first three months on the job as the New Hampton Public Library director.“They’re probably wondering what I’m doing,” she said with a smile. “People are probably thinking, ‘She gets here and she closes the library for 10 days and now she’s changing the hours?’ But seriously, people have been great.”Start with the “closing,” which was done last month so that the library could install new carpeting.The installation was in the works long before Becker was hired in June to replace retiring Library Director Pat Ipsen, and Becker was fully supportive of the move.“It was the original carpet so we’re talking 22 years,” Becker said, “and it was definitely time. We hated to close for that long, but it’s definitely a process.”And she has a video to prove it.The company that helped move all the library’s books and furniture so that Dungey’s Furniture and Flooring could lay the carpet posted a time lapse video that You Tube that shows the process and can be found online at“It’s pretty fascinating to watch,” Becker said of the video, “and we actually considered cutting around the shelving, but we thought it would just be better to get it done in one fell swoop.”So the library closed on Aug. 10 and didn’t reopen until Aug. 24, and business boomed almost from the start.“We had some really good days when we reopened,” she said, “especially as word got out.”The library has also instituted new hours, beginning this week, and Becker said the decision to reduce the number of hours. The library will now be open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.“It wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” Becker said, “but I did have some security concerns in that we just had one person closing during the week.”Becker said Ipsen had data that showed library usage dramatically dropped during the last hour it was open during the week, which made the decision easier.“The tough one was Saturdays,” she said, “but we needed to make this work for the budget as well.”Still, she said the feedback she has received has been positive.For now, Becker is looking forward to a busy fall, and she’s excited about fall programming, including book clubs and a preschool story time that is held each Friday morning at 10.“We had eight families for the first one,” Becker said, “and I was just ecstatic.”And Becker said she hopes to institute more including programs for both school-aged and teens, at the library.As she talked Wednesday, she noted that it was National Library Card Week, and she couldn’t help but laugh once again.“We’re pushing library cards,” she said, “but then again, there are a lot worse things to push, right?” 

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