Friday, March 2, 2012

York Public Library Keeps Up With The Times

By Larry Favinger

Staff Columnist


In the almost 10 years that the York Public Library has been at its home on Long Sands Road, there have been a lot of changes, many of them driven by the increases in technology.

Librarian Robert Waldman said during an interview in his office earlier this week that when the library moved from its much smaller home on York Street, there were two or three “public computers.” Today there are 19 and the ability to add more should the need arise.

The library’s number of actual books has risen from 40,000 when the move was made to what is now in the neighborhood of 60,000 volumes.

“We also have wireless,” he continued, “and that’s been one of the very big changes,” because “more and more people are bringing in their own computers. They’re more comfortable using them [here at the library].”

“The wireless technology is one of the more recent technologies that really has made a tremendous difference in library use.”

And the impact of electronics hasn’t stopped there. Now there are the handheld devices.

“Those devices are not only for access to information,” Waldman said. “It’s also for access to the actual reading materials.”

Waldman said the number of electronic books beings circulated is growing but, the “book circulation continues to go up. So rather than one instead of the other, they seem to be complimenting each other.”

With the increasing number of electronic devices being given as gifts or purchased and used, the library has responded with classes to help people use them to borrow electronic books from the library.

The increase in the popularity of the electronic readers is also causing concern with the publishing industry, he said.

“Some of the publishers are trying to decide how many circulations to give” to a library.

Their concern, he continued, is how to continue to make a profit while providing public access to the books that they have.

This is not dissimilar to when books first came out, he said. At that time publishers worried about how allowing libraries to lend books for free would impact the number of copies sold.

It actually worked well as the sales of books increased once the public could read it from a library and talk about it with others, many then went out and purchased the title for themselves.

Some years ago the library became part of the Minerva network, giving people the opportunity to access books York doesn’t have on their shelves. In joining this work, people can access material from any library within the state in a matter of days.

Included on the library’s web site is a newsstand that allows people to get magazines on their computers as well. By clicking on the magazine the reader wants, he or she has access to the entire issue. “We’re very excited about that,” Waldman said.

There’s also “learning express” available on the website, where people have access to tutorials on how to apply for a job, help in writing a resume and other helpful information.

“In some ways its like reading a science fiction novel and you’re in it,” he said. “Instead of reading what’s going to happen, it’s here.”

So at this point York and other libraries have the ability to offer more services that are more easily accessible than in previous years, and with computers and websites many of the services—e-books and audio books included—are accessible without ever leaving home.

And there is Minerva, a statewide library catalog. “We tell people now to think that you have a library of six million items,” he said.

A user goes on the site, finds the book he or she wants, and the library notifies them when it arrives, usually within a couple of days.

Additionally, there is Marvel, a service that offers juried information on a variety of subjects for those seeking noted, accurate data.

Other changes have also been made, albeit at a much slower rate. Where once audio books and movies on VCRs were the rage, these are being replaced by what Waldman terms a great collection of DVDs and CDs.

The library’s website is done locally and is purposely easy to read and use. Along with access of those services aforementioned, there is a listing of local community events.

“We’re very fortunate that this library is the center of all kinds of activity,” Waldman concluded.

York’s 10-year-old library has grown and continues to do so not through technology alone, but by acting as a social destination for the town as well.

York and Wells High School Students Selected as National Youth Delegates


Victoria Knoepfel, a student at York High School, has been selected to represent Maine as a National Youth Delegate at the 2012 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment at George Mason University. Emilee Wooldridge, of Wells High School, was also selected as a Maine representative.

Knoepfel and Wooldridge have been awarded the opportunity to join a select group of 250 students from across the country to participate in an intensive study week-long of leadership in environmental science and conservation. They were both chosen based upon academic accomplishments and a demonstrated interest and excellence in leadership in the sciences and conservation studies.

George Mason University, along with partners National Geographic and the National Zoo, are excited to welcome the nation's youth scholars to Washington, D.C. With distinguished faculty, guest speakers and direct access to elite D.C. practitioners, the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment offers aspiring environmentalists and student leaders an unparalleled experience.

The week-long program is held at George Mason University's state-of-the-art campus. The Summit will encourage and inspire young leaders who desire a unique experience focused on successful careers in this dynamic industry.

The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment will be held June 24-29.

Berwick Academy Senior Reaches Hockey Milestone


Berwick Academy senior hockey player Shannon Farrell, of Kennebunk, recently reached a milestone that only a few others before her have accomplished. On Saturday, February 11, she scored her 100th point during the Girls Varsity Hockey game against Portsmouth Abbey. Farrell is only the second person to reach the 100-point mark in Berwick Academy girls hockey history, and the first to do it in just three years. Shannon had 98 points going into the game against Portsmouth Abbey. She earned her 99th point in the third period by netting a goal with an assist by Tilly Burzynski at 8:31. Shannon got a break away with 2:57 left in the third, faked the goalie and backhanded it over her into the net to reach 100 points.

Although a significant achievement, Shannon would prefer to be out of the limelight. She gives credit to her teammates wherever possible, and especially in this moment. “I never imagined I would get 100 points. Our main goal was to win EIL's, so personal points aren't really important. We worked really hard to get to where we are and without these girls 100 points definitely wouldn't have been possible. This team has unreal potential and I can't wait to come back and watch them leave their marks on this program.”

Farrell has been playing hockey since the age of six. She first played on a boys’ team for two years and joined the Biddeford Lady Breakers when she was eight. She played with the Lady Breakers until she was 16. In her freshman year, Farrell played on the boy’s team at Kennebunk High School. She transferred to Berwick the following year and began playing for Coach McNulty on the Girls Varsity team. In addition to this 100-point milestone, Farrell has several achievements under her belt. She was named to the Eastern Independent League First Team All-League from 2009-2011, received MVP for her BA team in 2011, is a five-time New England Select Festival participant (2006-2011), and has competed in the U-14 and U-19 National Tier Tournaments.

The Bulldogs clinched the semi-final found of the EIL tournament yesterday, beating Portsmouth Abbey 6-1.

Farrell will go on to play for the Women’s Hockey team at Trinity College next year.

Founded in 1791, Berwick Academy is an independent, coeducational country day school located in South Berwick. For over 200 years, the Academy has pursued its mission through a purposeful blend of strong academics, arts and athletics. Berwick serves nearly 600 students in grades PK-12 from the seacoast area of southern Maine, New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.