By Carol Van Why, Library Committee Chair
Originally published in the December 2016 issue of 1666 Coffman Newsletter
With a message in the January 1994 1666 Coffman Newsletter, Thor Kommedahl invited residents who were interested in starting a Coffman book club to gather in the social room on January 19, 1994. A February article called Thor’s “trial balloon an unqualified success.” Thus, Book Night was launched with Thor serving as convener for fifteen and a half years.
In August 2009, Thor decided it was time to pass the Book Night gavel on to someone else. For the next seven years, Gretchen Kreuter graciously filled the role of convener, lining up reviewers with seeming ease. October 2016, was Gretchen’s last Book Night event as convener.
So, what’s next for Book Night? One thing is certain: there will be no Book Night this December. No reviewer had been scheduled, and a new convener(s) is not in place. And seriously, aren’t you happy to free up one night on your calendar during that very busy holiday week?
Book Night returns on January 18, 2017. The theme of the evening will be “Start the New Year Reading!,” hosted by bibliophiles Joanne Kendall, Victoria Tirrel, and Katie Weiblen. A feature of the event will be several residents presenting snappy four-minute reviews to help you jumpstart your own 2017 reading.
You can be a part of the evening’s planning. Soon you’ll receive a brief survey from Victoria Tirrel. Whether you’re a regular Book Night attendee or not, I hope you’ll complete the survey and return it by the deadline.
Plan to join your neighbors as we celebrate the importance of books and reading in our lives along with Book Night’s twenty-three year run. Mark Book Night on your calendar for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Then watch for “Start the New Year Reading!” updates and posters once the new year begins.
LIBRARY COMMITTEE, Carol Van Why-Chair
Members as of November 2016: Mary Abbe Hintz, Joanne Kendall, Mary Lynn Kittelson, Gretchen Kreuter, Jenny Rajput, Victoria Tirrel, Helga Visscher, Huber Warner, Katie Weiblen, Catherine Wengler, and Barbara Woshinsky.
Committee members regret 2016 resignations of Agnes Tan, Robert Tapp and Co-Chair BJ Zander and thank them all for their service.
The Library Committee also recognizes Gretchen Kreuter’s seven years of service as Book Night’s convener upon her resignation from that position in October.
The purpose of the committee is:
The Library Committee meets monthly. Members contribute 1666 Coffman News articles on a rotating basis. Bulletin board displays are refreshed to remind residents to stop in and browse the collection.
Books are added each year, either as gifts from residents or as purchases paid for from one of the library’s budgets. To keep the collection fresh, less popular books are regularly weeded from the collection. These are offered for sale via our Book Cart sales. This year just over $130 in proceeds were returned to the treasury to be used to purchase books and supplies. Unsold books are offered to the AAUW and the St. Paul Public Library for their book sales. Others are used to support the Little Free Library in neighboring Grove Park.
Once again financial gifts from a number of residents boosted the total Library budget by $500, helping the Committee purchase more new books than in any previous year. For the third year Catherine Wengler coordinated an exhibit of new books in conjunction with August’s Book Night. Residents were able to borrow books at the event and take home a copy of the 2016 companion booklist. The Library is on track to circulate nearly 700 books by year’s end – easily 65% more than were borrowed in 2013.
Read Aloud made its second annual appearance in 2016. Coordinated by BJ Zander, Read Aloud is an adult story hour for residents held in the library. Over the course of three January Mondays, eight readers read portions of Barbara Kingsolver’s High Tide in Tucson to assembled residents.
Gretchen Kreuter and Carol Van Why welcomed over 100 guests to the Library during 1666’s May 8, 2016 Open House. Visitors were surprised and impressed with the space, proving once again that the Library is 1666’s Jewel in the Crown.
After being on the back burner for some time, the problem of glare from the windows was solved. Under BJ Zander’s leadership, with advice from the committee and special assistance from Jenny Rajput and Katie Weiblen, attractive shades were purchased and installed in early fall. Members noticed an immediate improvement in the comfort of the room. The Committee wishes to thank members of other Coffman committees for approving funds for this improvement.
With assistance from Mike O’Connor new committee member, Victoria Tirrel has begun updating the Library’s section of the 1666 Coffman website. The website will re-emerge in early 2017, and residents will be able to subscribe to a blog to keep up with Library news.
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