2021 – 2022 Report to the Community

Reflecting upon the past fiscal year.

July 2021 - June 2022

The Summer of 2021 was full of exciting events, many of which supported the Tails and Tales reading theme.  For three months, every visit to the Children’s Area became an animal Safari during which patrons could listen to stories, complete crafts, and see how their height measured up to various animals.

Other summer adventures included numerous S.T.E.M. days, outdoor activities, and trips to the nearby park.  Science experiments ranged from colorful to explosive!

Our ongoing partnership with the CREATE Project allowed the library to become host to the first in a series of public art installations.

The Child Nature sculpture was created via a collaboration between local artists and students at the P-Tech Academy.  The art draws upon themes in folklore to emphasize the importance of caring for both our children and natural resources. 

The unveiling of the sculpture was also the perfect time to try out our new canopies, which were generously donated by Lynne Di Stasi and her family.  Lynne also arranged for the new cushion that makes our lobby bench much more welcoming.

With the help of our CCLS Discord server, the Dunkirk Public Library Gamer’s Guild got off to a strong start.  The group began with three dedicated players and would grow to nine over the course of the year.

Teens gathered multiple times per month to play board games or take part in Dungeons & Dragons adventures.

We also learned to make healthy game night snacks with the help of the Cornell Cooperative Extension during our Dungeons & Dining events.

The staff from Fredonia’s Critical Gaming shop shared their expertise with us by teaching the Guild participants tips and techniques for painting game figures.

Despite all of the great events and activities that we had underway, the summer months proved to be rough (and expensive!) on our aging building.  In addition to requiring exterior repairs to some of our masonry, stormy weather brought a leaky roof and electrical outages.

The causes of these structural failings were difficult for our hired contractors to locate and correct, and as a result both staff and patrons were left dealing with the impact of such issues for an extended period of time.

As a result, the Board of Trustees commissioned a facility-wide engineering study in order to proactively identify and address potential areas of concern before they become a problem.

On a more positive note, however, the first bank of new windows funded by our New York State Construction Grant were successfully installed.  We are looking forward to the remaining replacements in the coming year.

The season came to a close with our outdoor Book Sale, which marked the end of “Summer Hours” and a return to regular library operation on Saturdays.

Once again, we were well-served by our new canopies.  This occasion was also the first sale that the library had been able to conduct in a number of years, and both staff and patrons appreciated its return.

As an added bonus, Serving Up Smiles provided tasty treats throughout the afternoon.

Spooks haunted the library halls throughout October.  Patrons who successfully tracked down all thirteen creepy creatures had a chance to win a Halloween-themed prize.

Children and their families also enjoyed a very successful Trick or Treat for Books event. 

Each November brings the American Library Association’s International Games Week.  Our friends from Critical Gaming returned to challenge patrons with various board and card games, and all who played the various offerings during the week earned tickets toward a variety of prize drawings.

The December meeting of our Adult Book Club was a treat-filled holiday celebration of good friends, books, and conversation.  The membership grew throughout the previous year, and this was their last gathering until February. 

Throughout the colder months, the library continued to provide a plethora of crafts, snacks, and fun activities for both youth and adults to do while cozied up at home.

Beginning in March, the CCLS teens enjoyed the opportunity to engage with students from other library systems on a Percy Jackson themed discord server.

This multi-month long event offered games, trivia, art challenges, role playing, and assorted other activities based upon the popular book series.

Spring and summer were full of guest speakers, special presentations, and author visits.

John Ruska taught participants about local bird species and where to view them, while Stephen Rees helped gardeners learn more about composting and various types of native plants.

We further encouraged those patrons with a green thumb by providing free, ready to plant clippings of the library’s famous Christmas cactus.

These sprouts were carefully tended all winter until they were well-rooted and ready to share.

One of the highlights of the year was Wendy Corsi Staub’s visit to the library.  Arranged to coincide with our Adult Book Club’s reading selection, this event was so well attended that guests were overflowing into the adjoining rooms.

Local author Isaiah Rashad II shared his newest work with us.  His visit was made possible thanks to funds from the Poets and Writers organization.

June also marked a change for the Teen D&D group.  They paused their adventures in Ancient Greece in order to brave the dangers of the Caribbean in keeping with the new Oceans of Possibilities summer reading program.

Critical Gaming helped kick off the new campaign with a pirate figure painting session.

The annual election for the library’s Board of Trustees was also in June.  Nobody ran for the open seat this year, so it all came down to write-in votes.  Next year, get involved with DPL.  We are your library! 

For the first time in two years, we were able to host the Summer Reading kick-off carnival.  The event was well attended and definitely set the stage for the Oceans of Possibilities theme that would encompass the library well into the next fiscal year.