The Wilton Library’s 116th Annual Meeting for Friends drew an enthusiastic crowd of supporters on Sunday evening.
The non-profit library said goodbye to retiring members, welcome to new ones, honored exceptional employees and volunteers and made a major announcement.
“I am very proud to serve as library director,” said Executive Director Kathy Leeds, who shortly thereafter had her plan to retire in June 2012 by Judy Higby, the President of the Wilton Library Associations (WLA) Board of Trustees.
Before acknowledging recognitions and future changes to the library, WLA Board of Trustees 2010-2011 Treasurer Holly Sexton gave a year in review financial report.
“Overall the library is in sound financial standing, which is wonderful in these difficult economic times,” said Sexton.
“The library has been very diligent with its management of funds,” she said.
“And as a result of the many cost saving measures, I am happy to report that we will end the year within our budget. This is quite an accomplishment in these challenging times," said Sexton.
Within the past year, late fees were raised and the library locked into a rate for its oil, all in an effort to keep the library financially stable.
The meeting continued with a short film on the library’s history and local accomplishments, and featured comments from Jesse and Betsy Fink, Chris Brubeck and many other local residents.
Following the film, Higby recognized WLA members Shirley Bergin, Patricia Clifford and David Waters as their terms of serving have concluded. Clifford, who is a global strategist and travels often, will be leaving her position on the board one year early due to her busy schedule. Thomas Leffel will fulfill the remainder of Clifford’s term.
Nominated Officers for the 2011-2012 year are Judy Higby, president; Michael Kaelin, vice; Whitney Janeway, secretary; and Robert Kelso will become treasurer. Sexton will not be able to serve another term as officer due to a conflict of interest caused by her new position.
Four volunteers were honored at the meeting for their dedication to the library. Lelei Coyle, Susan Cramer, and Kimberly Johnson were presented with bouquets of flowers and a plaque that will be displayed at the library. Volunteer Priscilla Thors was honored as well, but was not able to attend the meeting.
The "Staff Member of the Year Award" went to Program Manager Sally Gemmill.
“Every year I get the privilege of acknowledging just one member of our staff,” said Leeds about the award.
More than fifty people work at the library and Leeds admitted that although it is always a difficult task to single out only one recipient of the award, if you ask anyone in and around town what the library is most known for right now, the answer would be its programs.
“The sheer numbers of programs and the number of program attendees are impressive, but the quality of programs is equally amazing,” added Leeds.
And although Leeds was quick to acknowledge a group effort by all who help the programs run, from the Technology Team to the Maintenance Team, Gemmill was the sole recipient of the formal recognition.
“Sally’s contribution to the overall effort is outstanding," said Leeds.
Wiltonians and residents of surrounding towns flock to the Wilton Library for a variety of quality programs from music and art to business seminars and book discussions, many with the author leading the talk, including the especially popular evening with actor and author Christopher Plummer.
After the formalities of the business meeting and prior to the reception afterwards, best-selling author and world renowned futurist addressed the audience.
Editors note: This article has been slightly modified due to some inaccuracies. 6/ 20