28 Feb 2011, 3:33pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: O’Toole

Elizabeth M. O’toole is one of the people in our neighborhood. She is the newest Children’s Librarian at the Walworth-Seely Library.
“I’m in seventh heaven,” Liz said during our telephone interview. “”I love doing the bulletin boards, crafts, stories and being with the children.”
If Liz is in the “children’s room” when the clerks leave in the afternoon, they know something special is in store for everyone in the morning!
“Liz creates such an exciting ambiance that it’s infectious,” said one of the clerks.
Liz has been working at the library ever since her friend Mary Perry, then head librarian, mentioned they needed another clerk. Liz applied and got the job. When the opening came for a children’s librarian, she was a natural shoo-in and hasn’t been sorry yet.
She has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She taught in the Cleveland area for a year and is applying that Montessori training to her library program.
Liz would like to continue the current programs of Book Jammers for the 4th through 6th graders and the Story Hours for the Pre-schoolers.
She’s beginning a K-2 Program to encourage more library use. The children will be reading about such things as kites and pin-wheels. Then, they’ll make what they’ve read about to take home.
She’s been practicing on her own children for years! Kimberly is 13, an active Girl Scout and will be attending Our Lady of Mercy. She’d like to become “some kind of doctor”.
Tom, is 10, a Boy Scout in Troop 260 and active in sports. I met Tom several years ago when I did a Guide Dog Puppy program for the Book Jammers. He is friendly, out spoken and a real nice guy.
Colleen is 7 years old, an active Brownie and attending St. Joseph’s School in Penfield. She is fascinated with all kinds of “creatures”.
Caitlyn is 4 and attending Wee People Nursery School in Walworth and looking forward to attending kindergarten at St. Joseph’s in September.
The kids share their home with G-man, a one year old Golden Retriever, and Emmy Lou, a 7 year old Yellow Lab.
Last, but not least, (or should I say: first and foremost) is Liz’s husband John. He is an ex-Navyman who moved his family to the Walworth area 8-1/2 years ago when he came to work on the Gannett Nuclear Power Plant.
Liz met John when she was in college. She and several girl friends decided it would be exciting to go into Milton to a tavern. It just happened to be the same tavern that was popular with the off duty Navyman from the nearby shipyard.
Need I say more?
John is active in the Walworth Volunteer Fire Department and was a Den Leader for Tom’s den.
This summer, Liz is initiating a program for young adults in grades 6 through 8. The theme is On The Wild Side.
I know the cartoonist who is coming to do her thing on July 30 from 11 to Noon and she is definitely on the wild side!
“I like living in Walworth,” Liz said. “Gananda is kid oriented. I feel the children and I are safe. People in general are friendly and there are lots of baby-sitters available during the day.”
“I’d like to see the new Y come to our area,” Liz said. “If a kid isn’t sports oriented , there isn’t much for them to do.”
I suspect Liz is going to do her part to provide more for these children by and through her work at the library.
Thank you, Liz. You are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.
(NOTE; A version of this article first appeared in my collumn Cornucopia in the Wayne County STAR 04/30/1997. Copyright © 1997 by Kate Chamberlin

28 Feb 2011, 3:31pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Komorowski

Candace Komorowski
Candace G. Komorowski is one of the people in our neighborhood who has worked to help make the Walworth-Seely Public Library a true Gateway to Knowledge.
“I started volunteering in the library in December, 1993,” Komorowski said during our telephone interview. “It was only eleven hours a week, but then as circulation increased, a position opened up to work 20-hours a week. That meant I had to take the Civil Service Exam. I became a Certified Library Clerk in 1996.”
“The library staff used to do everything, but around this time,” Komrowski continued, “as the growth of the circulation and community increased, the library became computerized. We started to specialize in various areas. I learned how to use the Follett software system of entering barcodes, cataloging and became very familiar with processing the audio-visual materials.”
All the clerks enjoyed working with the folks who patronized the library. They got to know them on a personal basis through their reading tastes. It was not unusual for a new book to come in and they would know this patron or that would like to read it, so the book would go on hold until that patron came in and knew about the book. Sometimes it worked the other way around, too. A patron would read a great book and recommend it to the ladies in the library. Candy is still trying to catch up on all the books on her “list-to-read” that were recommended by patrons.
Mary Perry was the Director when Komorowski first started her volunteering. She worked with Library Clerks Alice Reynolds and Laural Madden. The Children’s Librarian was Sue Herman followed by Ruth Beck. Debbie Scheffler became the Director for a short stint with Liz O’Toole as the Children’s Librarian. When Mary Perry returned, she hired Marie Sanderson and Allison Lee as Library Clerk and expanded the Page Program to bring more teens into the library. Mary Zingerella came on board as the Director in 1998.
“Fiction was the most popular genre,” Komorowski remembered, “and that led in to the books-on-tape and CD’s. Mary Perry responded to patrons’ requests and really built up that section of the library. It filled the need our community’s commuters had to keep current on their reading.”
Komorowski received much of her computer training by taking advantage of the many, excellent, in-service courses through the Pioneer Library System and Rochester Regional Council Courses. The in-service workshops also presented ways of dealing with the public (The customer is always right!) and how to resolve the conflict if your personal feelings/opinions differ from the American Library Association (ALA) policies (such as: filters on the library computers or telling a youthful patron that THAT particupar book is not age appropriate. Staff members were trained and encouraged to follow ALA guidelines.
In 1999, when Komorowski left the Walworth-Seely Public Library, Elizabeth Bowby and Annie *were hired to take over her duties. Komorowski continued to put her skills to good use in the Wayne Central High School Library (now called the Media Center) and, eventually, in the Freewill Elementary School Media Center (now referred to as the Library Information Center).
During her non-library hours she enjoys being with her husband, George, spending time at their place at Chase’s Lake, gardening, and of course, catching up with there first grandchild, Carsten.
“We are always doing something different in the Library Information Center,” Komorowski laughed. “You come in in the morning and, before you know it, it’s time to go home. There just isn’t any time to get bored.”
Thank you, Candy, for all you have done for our libraries. You are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.
(NOTE: A version of this article first appeared in my Column Cornucopia in 07/10/2008 Wayne County Mail Newspaper. Copytight © 2008 by Kate Chamberlin)

23 Feb 2011, 12:49pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Ormsby

Thomas R. Ormsby
Former Board Member, Walworth-Seely Public Library

Thomas R. Ormsby is one of the people in our neighborhood. One of the many hats he’s worn, is to have helped make our Walworth-Seely Public Library the gateway to knowledge that it is today.
“One of the first things Pat and I did when we moved into Walworth in 1973,” Tom said during our telephone interview, “was to register at the library which was in the little red house.”
Marty Davis was the Library Director at that time, but Mary Perry began soon after the Ormsby’s came on the scene. When the Board wanted to extend the library hours into the early night-time, they felt it wasn’t safe for the female library assistant to be there alone, so Tom sort of hung around reading to keep her company. At some point, he asked her if she felt safer with him there. She said that in her other job, she was a security guard covering 14-floors! Ah, well, so much for good intentions!
Tom was a library trustee from September, 1991 to February, 1997 and President of the Board from 1993 to 1996.
“I was on the Board when the decision to build a new facility was made and helped the library move,” Tom commented. “The Highway Department came with their trucks to help us actually move all the books and paraphanilia into the new building on Lorraine Drive.”
For many years, Tom has been the all-around-handyman for things the library needed.
“Since we have long winters and people wear coats, we needed a coat rack that both children and adults could use,” Tom said. “I built a rack out of strong, beautiful oak that could go down low for the children to use during their Story Hours, but could be raised for adults to use during their programs at the library.”
As a matter of fact, Tom also made the coat rack that is in the Town Hall section of the building. His love of working with wood has left a lasting legacy in Walworth.
Tom is no stranger to doing things for children. He was the official “grandfather” for the nursery children in Ardith Rose’s Teddy Bear Trail Nursery School in the mid-1980’s. He loved coming in to plant seeds with the children each spring, as well as hosting a field trip in the late spring to his and Pat’s vintage home and well-maintained acres on the Walworth-Ontario Road. He taught the children to walk very quietly so they could hear the birds, instead of running around to startle the birds into flight; notice the diferent shapes of the leaves you could touch, and the ones to avoid; and to breathe in the fresh, spring air. At the farthest end of the loop, his tractor and wagon was stationed with a snack, juice, and a rest before our trek back to the beginning.
Have you noticed the handsome display case in the library? It was crafted by Jerry Sampson and donated by George and Candace Komorowski in memory of their son, Zachery Andrew Komorowski. One of the early displays in it was the hand-crafted walking sticks Tom loves to make.
Tom also fashioned the fold-out extension at the library’s check-out counter that enables folks in a wheel-chair to have a writing surface at the right height for them to use. In the library basement, Tom built a storage system that uses wire screen to economize on space and let air circulate to lessen the chance for mildew to form.
“I’m impressed with the excelent personnel in the library,” Tom said. “When you go up to the check-out counter with a question or to check-out something, they are quick to smile and say: How may I help you? Not all people in service to the public are so friendly and helpful. One day, I requested a specific book on Scotland and within a few days, they had located a copy in a Chicago Library and it was waiting for me in Walworth. The Friends of the Library does a really good job, too. They are all volunteers and their used book sale twice a year takes a lot of time for them, but it is a great fund raiser.”
Tom feels that the library definitly needs more space as the number of patrons increase and the books and other media items increase. He is impressed with the constant use of computers in the library. Tom and his companion, Lynn enjoy going to Vero Beach, FL and they know how much they enjoy the old-time Mary Tyler Moore movies and classic books, but he realizes the library is not a museum, and some things must be culled from time to time.
After Pat died in 2003, Tom moved to Macedon where he still keeps active and is often found in the library. He advocated for the Macedon and Walworth Libraries to combine and pool resources, but it was a no go situation. Then, he advocated to expand the present facility to the south, but came up against strong opposition from the folks who had donated money to the trees that had been planted there. Tom takes these disappointments with the grace, good-humor, and optimism that characterizes this gentle man-about-town.
With a chuckle,” he reminisced that he liked the old card system where the card was in the book’s pocket and your name went on the card with the date due stamped on the card and on the book. When the book was returned, the librarian put the card back in the pocket and the book back on the shelf. Tom would review the names to see if he’d already read the book.
Thank you, Tom Ormsby, for being a Walworthian with the accent on worth. Although Pat rests in peace and you have transplanted to Macedon, your legacies lives on with us and you are always in our hearts.
(SOURCE: telephone interview with Tom Ormsby by Kate Chamberlin; Sep08-08; 11:00 AM.)

23 Feb 2011, 12:43pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Rose

Ardith Rose
Former Walworth-Seely Library Children’s Librarian

Ardith Rose is one of the people in our neighborhood. She and her husband, Chuck, were very involved in our community, schools, Scouts, and especially the 2nd Baptist Church of Walworth as they raised their four children: Todd, Brett, Paul, and Tammy.
Ardith began volunteering at the Walworth-Seely Library while Mary Simpson was the Director (September, 1969 to June, 1970; and May, 1971 to June, 1972), Marty Davis was the Clerk, and MaryAnn Hartley was the Children’s Librarian. Occasionally, Ardith would substitute for Marty after she became the Director, but from January, 1977, to May, 1985Ardith was the Children’s Librarian.
“Space constraints have always been an issue in the library,” Ardith stated during our telephone interview. “We used the upstairs portion of the Seely building for storage and our staff meetings, so it left more space for books and patrons, but there was a space crunch when we had the pre-school Story Hours. We used the front room where the original front door and old book-drop were located. At first we had only one story hour, but then expanded to four story hours.”
The library had many small child-sized, colorful, molded plastic chairs that stacked up on themselves to save space when they weren’t in use. These chairs needed to be arranged for each session and then re-stacked. In front of the audience, Ardith would put a puppet stage or flannel board, or rocking “story” chair, depending on her theme for the session.
“I especially liked to build around the Holiday themes,” Ardith said. “For Thanksgiving, I’d read the story “Stone Soup” and have the children help me make a pretend stone soup with the ingredients I’d brought in. Then, we’d share a finger-food Thanksgiving snack. Volunteer helpers like Pat Ormsby and Louise Weller were very gracious in giving of their time to assist us, no matter what the theme.”
Christmas was another of Ardith’s favorite themes. Special crafts to be turned into gifts, special foods to be taste tested, and, of course, a special visitor dressed in red (a.k.a Tom Ormsby or Tom Fleming).
Ardith’s warmth, wonderful sense of humor, innate knowledge of children, and love was always evident in all she did, but especially so when she put on a puppet show. Bill Wemple built a stage and, as Ardith spun her magic through puppets, our pre-schoolers learned how to handle a myriad of childhood issues in a way they could understand and internalize.
During one of the story hours I attended with my pre-schoolers is an example of Ardith’s unflappability and quick thinking. She was in the middle of a puppet program and the library phone rang. She was the only librarian on duty at the time, so she needed to answer the phone. I saw her get a bit pale and dial a number. She came over to me and asked if I wouldn’t mind taking over the pre-schoolers for a few moments. I didn’t know until our interview (30-years after the incident) that the first phone call was from Mark Simpson. He’d been burning brush and some how caught himself on fire. He’d called Ardith for help…in a hurry. She dialed the ambulance, which took time as it was before the Emergency 911 number had been established; then, found a cover for her story hour. All in a day’s work at the library for Ardith Rose.
“We did have one mystery that kept us wondering what was going on for quite a while,” Ardith mused. “We used to have a jar on our check-out counter for patrons to donate “over-due” money. When I’d open the library, the money would be gone, even if it were only one penny in the jar when I left. Eventually, the mystery was solved, though. Several of the local teens were boosting one of the little ones in through the book-drop. He’d take the money and run.”
Another special event Ardith holds dear is making a float for one of the early Walworth Festivals. The theme of the float was “Storybook Characters”. She remembered there was square dancing on Main Street and other activities in those days.
“Having a strong summer reading program is important,” Ardith said. “Bringing in local authors like MJ Auch, Jay Stetzen, and Rafe Martin, illustrator Eric Carle, as well as local talents like the magician Jim Bush and other entertainors are needed to show the children positive role models.”
Many of these ideas she incorporated into her Teddy Bear Trail Nursery School, held in the mid-80’s. Ardith’s enthusiasm, organizational skills, and investment in our community can be witnessed by the Bradford Pear Tree she and her nursery school students planted in Ginegaw Park near the original pavillion those many years ago. Yes, the tree is still thriving today.
In her vision for the future of Walworth, Ardith sees the Baptist Community Center as a step in the right direction to provide our youth with a safe, fun place to go, but she would like to see it expand to include such activities as basketball, ping pong, and a large meeting room, similar to a YMCA.
Ardith grew up on a farm that is now part of Gananda and attended Macedon Elementary School until 5th grade when her family moved away. Years later, on a visit back to see her “old home”, she found that Chuck’s family was living in the old farm house. Well, They were married on July 28, 1962. Now, four children and 13 grandchildren later, Chuck and Ardith are still enjoying life to the fullest.
Ardith under-scores the mission statement found in the 1962 brochure that commemorated the official ribbon cutting opening the library to the public, it stated:
“To accomplish the one and only purpose of any public library – education and enjoyment derived from books -the Walworth -Seely Public Library offers its patrons the service of a large, invisible force of workers.”
Thank you, Ardith Rose, for being a Walworthian with the accent on worth and being a part of what makes the Walworth-Seely Public Library our gateway to knowledge.
(SOURCE: telephone interview with Ardith Rose by Kate Chamberlin, August 11, 2008)
NOTE: Here are some of the books written by the authors Ardith mentioned. MJ Auch: Beauty and the Beaks, Wing Nut, Chickerella. Rafe Martin: Birdwing, The Shark God, The Monkey Bridge,. Eric Carle: The Grouchy Ladybug, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?, The Tiny Seed. Story-teller Jay Stetzer: 3 Granger Place Rochester, N.Y. 14607 (585) 727-0700. Magician Jim Bush: (315)986-5624, Email: info@jimbushmagic.com, P.O.Box 975, Macedon, NY 14502

18 Feb 2011, 6:30am

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Martin

Walworth-Seely Public Library : Our Gateway to Knowledge
Rev. Mary S. Martin

Do you remember Mary Martin? No, no, I don’t mean the Peter Pan one. I mean Mary (Simpson) Martin, who was the Director of the Walworth-Seely Public Library.
Mary’s first term as our Library Director was from September, 1969 to June, 1970. Her second term was from May, 1971 to June, 1972. The clerk at that time was Marty Davis, who later also became our Library Director.
“I’ll never forget it,” Mary chuckled. “I started to work on my 30th birthday, September 12th.”
At the time, she had two girls in school and a little boy at home, so the paid, part-time employment was perfect for her. Although she did not have a degree in Library Science, she’d attended SUNY for a year in that field.
“Lorraine Finley took me to my first Book Meeting,” Mary reminisced. “It was in Canandaigua
and I was terribly embarrassed. Not by Lorraine or the book meeting, but by the many signs someone (I think Barb Mann) put up announcing to the world that it was my birthday.”
Mary found the book meetings were very informative and helpful in aiding her to know which books to order for our library. The meetings were held in various locations and experienced librarians would give book reviews and suggestions about which books to purchase for a library our size. She was also guided in her purchase selections by knowing the folks who came into the library and what they liked to read.
“The circulation of mystery stories was high,”
Mary remembered. “Other popular genres were what today is called Romance Novels, but what I’d call beach novels. Historical novels were also popular at the time.
“I learned so much while I was working at the library,” Mary commented. “I of course learned a lot about how a library functions, but I learned about myself, too. It broadened my horizons. I also enjoyed doing the Children’s Story Hour.”
Mary’s young son often attended the story hour and benefited from the way she enhanced the children’s books with puppets, finger-plays, lively songs, and catchy rhiming phrases. She also utilized the only multi-media aids on hand (besides the telephone): an old film-strip projector and movie projector.
Many folks might remember Mary for the pink, polyester pants suit she favored to wear to work in the library. (Polyester was “IN” back then, you know.) In an effort to keep the pink pink when she worked in the stacks, she’d put on an apron, but would forget to take it off as patrons came in to greet her and exchange books. During the coldest winter months, she favored warm knees socks to ward off the freezing temperatures in the old building.
One of Mary’s vivid memories of being the Library Director and living in Walworth was the Walworth Street Dance, when it was actually held on Main Street. The dunking booth was in front of Youngman’s and, when she got on the hot seat, word spread like wild fire and folks lined up to dunk the librarian.
“In all, I lived in Walworth for 17-years,” Mary said. “It was a good place to raise children. My goal while I worked in the library was to keep it growing, evolving, and to keep people interested in reading.”
Eventually, Mary earned a degree in English Literature and later a Master’s Degree in Divinity to become a United Methodist Minister. Many of the puppet plays she used during her Children’s Story Hours, became the basis for numerous children’s sermons in her Ellicottville church.
She retained her maiden name of Martin for professional purposes; however, she has been happily married to George Aberle for the past 21-years. She is currently retired and living in Henrietta.
Thank you, Rev. Mary (Simpson) Martin, for having been a Walworthian with the accent on worth and being a part of what makes the Walworth-Seely Public Library our gateway to knowledge.
(SOURCE: telephone interview with Rev. Mary Martin by Kate Chamberlin, Wed.,Aug29-07)
“I was there at the right time, But, no, I did not have a vision of the great and wonderful place (Walworth-Seely Public Library) that you now have…It’s fine to start something, but you’ve got to have someone there that can take off with it. You people have done a great, great job. You deserve just as much credit as anybody else. So, thank you to YOU.” Quoted from Lorraine Finley’s Thank you speech for being chosen as the Walworth Historical Society’s Community Citizen of the year; presented May21-07.

17 Feb 2011, 2:26pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Taber

Jay C. Taber
Jay Taber is one of the people who lived in our neighborhood for many years. Among his numerous community activities, he was important in the establishment of the Walworth Reading Room, now known as the Walworth-Seely Public Library.
Jay was involved in the many organizational meetings in 1960 and was one of the officially appointed Library Board Trustees in 1961. He was active in working out by-laws, library hours, hiring librarians (Mary Jean Bowdey, then Mrs. Doyle), as well as ordering books.
At that time, after each library selected its Own books for purchase, the order was sent to a central point where a volume order was made out to the book distributor. Because of this mass ordering, the greatest possible discount was received. Thus the book budget was stretched as far as possible.
The Library officially opened its doors on August 19, 1962, and Jay continued on the Board until he felt new blood was needed. He stepped off the board in 1964, but never really stopped working for the betterment of the library and the citizens of Walworth.
“Loraine Finley was the true motivational force behind the Reading Room,” Jay modestly said. “She was the one who got the circulating, inter-library books and Rotating Collections to come into the library, as well as convincing the powers that be to share a percentage of the tax money with the Walworth and Ontario Libraries. She was a very quiet and lovely lady, but she knew how to get things done.”
According to Jay, when Loraine saw something that needed to be done, she contacted people and the project was completed. Jay’s uncle, Herland Ray, was one of those people, but it is unclear if he was volunteered or paid!
“I knew Jay Seely and his daughter, Miss Bessie Seely,” Jay said. “Miss Seely came to Walworth to take care of her father, then quite an elderly fellow. He was quite a character; an inventor, piano tuner, and proficient at many other trades.
“Miss Seely worked as a clerk in Joe Finley’s store,” Jay continued. “That’s how she and the Finley’s became friends. Miss Seely always had the good of the town and the people on her mind. I think that is why she sold the building to the Chamber of Commerce for $1 and later, quietly donated $500 as endowment/seed money for any renovations the Reading Room wanted to make.”
“The Chamber of Commerce used the front room and the Reading Room used the back,” Jay chuckled. “There was about a ¾-inch space under the door and during the winters, we froze. During the summer, we baked.”
Jay commented that he did not, at the time, envision how the library would grow, but in the 1962 brochure that commemorated the official ribbon cutting opening the library to the public, it stated: .
“To accomplish the one and only purpose of any public library – education and enjoyment derived from books -the Walworth -Seely Public Library offers its patrons the service of a large, invisible force of workers.”
Currently, Jay and his wife, Arlene, live in the Penfield/Webster area in a lovely 3-bedroom apartment. He keeps busy by volunteering through the Lutheran Church to mentor and tutor Hispanic children. Jay is also active in DOVE, which is an offshoot of Life Span, driving folks to doctors appointments. While he misses living in the hamlet in the beautiful, 160-year cobblestone home they occupied for so many years, he said that at his age, it was time to move, so they did.
Thank you, Jay Taber, for dedicating so much of your time, energy, and talents to our Town and the Walworth-Seely Public Library. You are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.
“Vision is something that can be touched or maybe seen in three-dimension. Visions are dreams; pictures that are conjured in the mind that are flexible, maluable; moving to where the need is. So I would agree that you (Loraine Finley and others) did have a vision of the library, of where we are today.” quoted from Walworth-Seely Public Library Director Mary Zingerella’s presentation to Loraine Finley, Walworth Historical Society’s Citizen of the Year banquet, May 21, 2007.
SOURCE: telephone interview with Jay Taber by Kate Chamberlin on Aug13-07 and Library archival materials.
Copyright August2007 by Kate Chamberlin

13 Feb 2011, 3:02pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Fleming

Mary Louise Fleming
A Ceremony – and an Absent Benefactor

The August 19, 1962, ribbon cutting ceremony at the Walworth-Seely Public Library was a bittersweet occasion, according to Mrs. Thomas (Mary Louise) Fleming.

Although it was a gala affair, the absence of one of its benefactors was sadly noticed when the doors of Walworth’s first library opened at 2256 Walworth-Marion Road (formerly known as No. 11 Marion Road.) The reason is the August 12 death of Dr. William Horace Foster Newman, one of the library’s chief early supporters.

Through the efforts of Dr. Newman and Mary Louise, his secretary/bookkeeper, more than 200 letters were mailed in the early 60’s. The letters were sent to Rochester area doctors, whose names were obtained from a medical journal, and to several large corporations, including Kodak and Xerox. The letters told of the community’s and Dr. Newman’s desire to have a public library, but funds were needed to accomplish this. Unfortunately, Mary Louise doesn’t know if this letter writing campaign was financially successful, but agrees that it certainly sparked interest in the project.

The Reverend Thomas and Mary Louise Fleming and their two sons moved to 47 South Main Street in June 1960, at which time Mary Louise became a patient of Dr. Newman. His office was located in the southern portion of the big house at 3647 Main Street. Dr. Newman, his wife Gladys, and their three children lived in the remainder of the home. When Dr. Newman asked her if she knew shorthand, she began working part-time as his secretary/bookkeeper. Nurse Beatrice Cole completed his staff.

When the Flemings moved to 3760 Ontario Center Road in September 1961, Mary Louise continued her office duties, taking dictation in shorthand, typing letters, and doing the billing at their home. Mary Louise stated that she still can take dictation, although admits to “being a little rickety”. The letters were typed on a manual typewriter, lacking the speed and efficiency of today’s computers. As an aside, she remembers that Dr. Newman had a heavy hand when signing the letters, and for many years his “signature” remained embedded in the soft mahogany wood of the Fleming’s dining room table.

A building which once housed Jay Seely’s tinsmith shop had been vacant for some time, and it was decided this would be the home of the new library. On January 27, 1960, the library had its beginnings as a reading room in this building. Inside were a pot bellied stove and a long row of piping for the heat. The front door (since closed in) had a book drop next to it. It is the current home of “Potpourri of Gifts”, owned by Edie Pasquini.

When the family moved to Walworth in 1960, Tom had just accepted the position as Protestant Chaplain at the Rochester Psychiatric Center. He retired from the RPC in 1981, becoming pastor of the Walworth Baptist Church from 1983 – 1985. In addition, he served as interim pastor at Lincoln Baptist Church for eight months in 1982. His artistic abilities are evident when a visitor enters the town hall/library complex. Hung on the upper level walls are wooden models he has carved and painted of area buildings, a reminder of our history.

The Flemings continue to have an interest in the library. An avid reader, Tom served as Board trustee from 1982 – 1984. Although Mary Louise admits she doesn’t have a library card, her love of books and reading is shared by their sons, Chip and Mark, who frequented the library during their years at Walworth and Wayne Central Schools.

Mary Louise believes that Dr. Newman would be very proud of the growth of the library over the past 40 years. The library has been a part of the town hall complex at 3600 Lorraine Drive since 1992, having outgrown its original location because of the town’s population growth.

According to Mary Louise, Dr. Newman was a pillar in the community, especially active in the Methodist Church where he taught a Sunday School class of young adults. “It was a sad day for all of us in the community to lose Dr. Newman as our family physician and friend”, she stated.
NOTE: Mary Louise Fleming was Interviewed on January 12, 2002 by Dorothy French.

13 Feb 2011, 2:37pm

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Walworth-Seely Public Library: Finley

History of Walworth-Seely Public Library
by Lorraine Finley Date Unknown

Jay Tabor asked me to write the history of the Walworth-Seely Public Library.

I rummaged through my file and found the enclosed booklet* that gives a fairly complete history. However, I will add a few points.

Probably the person that made the biggest contribution to the formation of the library was Jean Connor from the New York State Department of Education, Library Services Division. At that time, some people in the county were interested in forming a County Library System. Jean suggested that a library in Walworth be established first.

It was felt that by establishing a Reading Center open only four hours a week (two hours Friday evening and two hours Saturday morning) could give a basis to see if the Reading Center would be used. The results were very good, so we asked the Town Board to establish a library.

One amusing thought here, as I remember, the heat in the Reading Center left something to be desired, so in the cold months volunteers often used a stone to keep their feet warm!

Miss Bessie Seely donated her father’s building for “use by the general public”. She was very pleased that we hoped to establish a library. She also donated $500 to help with remodeling or any improvements to be made.

Jean Conner suggested the guideline for the name. She felt any library should include its location in the name – thus Walworth and, of course, Seely for the generous gift. In my mind it is for both Bessie and her father Jay, but she requested for her father only.

To broaden our tax base, we asked the Wayne Central School Board to include a sum in their budget for the library. There was a sum for the Ontario library. Also certainly a library is a resource for education for all ages.

The first paid librarian was Mary Jane Bowdey.

The cover on the booklet was drawn by Frank Finley, my brother-in-law.

The first sign for the library was made by Arnold Taber, Jay Taber’s brother.

Miss Bessie Seely was present at the opening ceremony. There was a ribbon cutting – the ends of the ribbon were held by Kathy Duell Emerson and Kathy Triou.

6 Feb 2011, 8:28am

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Walworth seely Public Library, (Part II)

Walworth-Seely Public Library (part II) The Walworth-Seely Public Library: Our Gateway To Knowledge A Time-line of Growth – Part II Here are a few more bits and bites of history in our series about our Walworth-Seely Public Library. 1970: An addition was made to the Seely building, increasing square footage to 1940, of which 1266 sq. ft. was designated as public space. January 26, 1972: Absolute Charter #10,698 was granted by the University of the State of New York Education Department. December 6, 1989: the library endorse the service plan of the Pioneer Library System . The Geneva Free Library is the central point of the system. Talk of a new building was prompted by increased circulation and population growth which caused a space crunch and was compounded by extensive necessary building repairs. A parking lot separated the Seely building from the small town hall, so it was decided to include both facilities in a new complex. November 16, 1992: The town hall/library complex opened at 3600 Lorraine Drive on fifty-eight acres near Ginegaw Park between Sherburne and Walworth-Penfield Roads. Residents were invited to submit names for the road that would connect Scherburne and Walworth-Penfield roads. The name Lorraine is in honor of Loraine Finley, who also became the Walworth Historical Society’s Community Service Award recipient in 2007. The library was allocated approxamately 3,600 sq. ft. of space, of which appx. 3,200 sq. feet was designated for public use. A 1962 report by the American Library Association (“Interim Standards for Small Public Libraries”) recommended a guideline of 3,500 sq ft. for a library serving a population between 5,000 and 9,999; Walworth’s population in 1990 was 6,945. The Circulation was 35,162 (1993 figures, first full year at new site)serving a population of 6,945 (1990 figures). By 1994 42,600 items were checked out. This represents a 55% increase during the previous 5 years. If you’re into trivia, here’s an interesting item: The Slowest day was January 4, 1994, when only 23 items were checked out and then they closed because of a bad snow storm! At that time, the library holdings were 16,541 items of which 1,770 weree books, 105 magazine titles, as well as a multi-media computer featuring the Encarta Encyclopedia and color printer. There was also an Ellison letter maker for patron’s use. The card catalogue was replaced in 1994 with a computer keyboard system that uses a light wand to scan information into its files. As of December 31, 1994, there were 3,139 registered borrowers. April 1, 2002: WSPL was one of the first libraries to begin circulating on the OWWL Access from Pioneer Library System, providing on-line access to a potential of 42 libraries in the PLS System. April 14, 2002: WSPL celebrated its 40th anniversary with an open house. Guests were former library directors and trustees, representatives from local organizations and Pioneer Library System, and area residents. November 14, 2003: The charter was amended (#23,656) to allow WSPL to apply for 501c3 status, which would establish the library as a non-profit organization. January 16, 2004: 501c3 was received for non-profit status, which means that the library may accept donations and the donor may claim the donation on his/her IRS forms. . Currently: Space constraints and population growth are again forcing the library to look at alternatives for expansion. Circulation for 2006 was a record 100,688! The Board of Trustees has begun to investigate expansion options. Although Walworth’s population has grown to approxametly 10,000, the library still has the original 3,200 square feet. The generally accepted size standard for public libraries is 1 – 2 sq. ft. per capita. A feasibility study was conducted in December 2002. Due to economic conditions and the recent September 11, 2001, tragedies, the response to a completely new facility was negative. However, it was noted space for materials and programs is cramped. In 2006the Circulation was 107,688serving a population of 10,000. These patrons had access to 1,106,698 items available through the OWWL System, which encompasses Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming, and Livingston Counties. The population projection for 2020 is 15,000. The Walworth-Seely Public Library has 3,200 square feet. New York State Standards for Public Libraries recommends 1 sq. ft. per capita. In the fall of 2006, the board adopted a long range plan that was developed by a group of community folks. Based on the community’s responses to a survey, the task force found that what the library should do and concentrate on are 1. A Commons, a library where people can gather for a variety of reasons, 2. Current Titles and Topics, best sellers, information on new “stuff”, and 3. Life-long Learning, such as materials for people to continue to grow in their knowledge and understanding of whatever they would like to pursue. As our population grows, our knowledge grows; as our storage and retrieval of knowledge grows, our facility must also grow. June 15, 2007 The Library Board and support members are Kristina Burnmeister, Trustee; Richard Crooks, Vice-President;, Ellen Dietterick, President; Dorothy French, Trustee; Maretta Kingsley, Trustee and Corresponding Secretary; Sheryl Ledelfa, Treasurer; Allison Lee, Trustee; Donna Stalker, Recording Secretary; Jane Cala, Friends of the Library Co-Representative; Suzie Mance, Town Board Liason; Mary Zingarella, Library Director. As with most institutions, it is the people that make it go and grow. If you have worked in the library, give me a call. Let’s chat In September, the library hours are: Monday-Thursday, 10-8; Friday, 10-6; Saturday, 10-2; Sunday, 1-3. Location: WALWORTH-SEELY PUBLIC LIBRARY, 3600 Lorraine Drive, Walworth, New York 14568; Telephone: (315) 986-1511; FAX: (315) 986-5917; Director, Mrs. Mary Zingerella.

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