Kudos and congrats to everyone at the HPL.
From a Hartford Courant Editorial:
People with overdue books tend to stay away from libraries, said library CEO Matthew Poland. The point of the amnesty — the first in two decades — was to bring them back. It was a great idea. Bringing people in the door is more important than a few dollars in fines.
And bringing people to the library is something Mr. Poland and his staff have gotten very good at.
When library officials embarked on a $42 million renovation and expansion of the main library building in the 1990s, it was with the promise that it would become an intellectual and cultural center of the community. The building then was gloomy, compartmentalized and uninviting. When the work was completed in 2009, the renovated building was bright, open and inviting. Chief Librarian Louise Blalock said it went from a “ho-hummer to a landmark.”
She, and Mr. Poland after she retired, met the challenge of filling the building by offering a remarkable array of classes, concerts, readings and lectures. In election season, the main library is the site of well-attended candidate debates and forums. It’s the place people go to learn English, become citizens, gain computer literacy. In partnership with CTWorks, the library helps people get jobs. Many city youngsters take advantage of homework programs downtown and at the nine branches.