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Library patron Michael Slattery said he has been to libraries all over southern New Hampshire, but the Hooksett Library is by far the best and deserving of the annual library of the year award. (BENJAMIN KLEIN PHOTO)

Top honor

Hooksett Library earns top New Hampshire honor

HOOKSETT — The Hooksett Public Library has been named the library of year for 2013 by the New Hampshire Library Trustee Association.

Patrons and town officials say the honor is well-deserved.

Word of the award first came down about two weeks ago, and will culminate with a ceremony Nov. 9 at the library when library trustees and employees will receive a plaque.

"We will also get the recognition that comes with winning the award. We are very innovative, we strive to be on the forefront of technology. You could say we have a small staff for a medium-sized library but we do a tremendous amount with what we have," Library Director Heather Rainer said.

She added that all the credit for the award should go to the library's 11 employees, five regular volunteers and the community of Hooksett.

"To me this is a recognition of the incredible work that the library staff does. Our staff strives to go above and beyond with everybody that we serve and our community, the support they give us and the value they find with us," Rainer said.

She said that while Hooksett is a large town geographically, the library strives to act as sort of a community center that helps bring everyone in town together.

For many patrons, the effort is obvious.

"It is excellent here, over the years I have been to many of the surrounding libraries like Derry, Manchester and Concord, but this one is the best. The first reason why is the staff, and the second is the building itself. It is a very deserved honor," Michael Slattery said.

James Rodriguez and Pamela Clark both agreed that the library is a great place to hang out with friends.

"I like talking to people here, I mingle, and the staff is great," Rodriguez said.

"I like being with my friends and being on the computer and taking things out of the library. This is an important place for me," Clark said.

While the library has more than 50,000 items and classes for adults and children, Mary Farwell, chair of the Library Board of Trustees, said that the library is underfunded and understaffed.

"If you look at libraries of similar size in other communities, we are both thinly staffed and thinly funded. Don't get me wrong, we are grateful for the funding we do get, but Heather has to be frugal to the point of penny pinching."

The library has a budget of a little more than $500,000 a year.

The success of the library has not gone unnoticed by town officials.

"It's pretty cool huh? It's good, obviously they have a great staff down there, I have met them a few times, the number and type of programs they have, helping people learn how to use computers, borrow devices not just books, they do a great job and it's nice to see them recognized for it," Town Administrator Dean Shankle said.

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