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By Tammy Kokot, Librarian

If you are local, then you probably know that I'm the still relatively new librarian (since Nov.) of the 20th Century Club Library here in Almond.  If you've moved out of the area but subscribe to the Alfred Sun, you might have read some of my writings.  In any case, this is a job that I'm thoroughly enjoying and have a true passion for.  No library experience, but a love of books and the sincere interest to revive the Almond Library and make it the hub of the community.  As we've lived here almost four years, I've made a point to jump into the community and do what I can along with help from my husband and two children.  The Library has become my focus and with the help of Val Ewald, our new Aide (as of early this year), it WILL become a gem in the community and frequented by many! 

The 20th Century Club Library has been in existence since the early 1900's.  The Carnegie style building is a true treasure of Almond and was built to withstand time.  Unfortunately, it wasn't built to accommodate those with physical disabilities or the elderly.  I'd like to make the building accessible to it the veterans, the aged, the physically challenged or the mom with a baby in a stroller, holding two by the hand and carrying a bag of books to return to the library. 

A few months ago I made a trip to Albany to meet with State Assemblyman Dan Burling and Senator Catharine Young to impress upon them the importance of our little library to the community of Almond.  State support as well as school tax dollars is what keep our head above water.  Last year, state grant money enabled us to repair the crumbling foundation, add a partial sidewalk and replace the roof (after it had been leaking for some time).  This year, it is my hope that we'll receive even more grant money to help cover the cost of installing an elevator.  I've garnered a proposal from Duggan & Duggan out of Olean and the price tag is excess of $64,000.  The amount is staggering but I feel that we can make it happen.  My trip to Albany paid off and Senator Catharine Young has promised us $20,000.  This is not grant money, it is money FROM the state. So, I'll be applying for grant money to cover the balance.  But that isn't guaranteed.  They can say "we'll approve $44,000", but we might not actually receive that amount.  It is IMPERATIVE that we come up with the money to cover the job if the grant money falls short of what is initially "promised".  We'll need to put in a sidewalk to lead to the elevator entrance (which will be to the left of the stairs at the front) as well as other necessities as we encounter them.  A paved driveway would be wonderful to have so that those who are wheelchair bound will be able to park in the drive to get to the sidewalk that will lead to the elevator. Please stop in and either Val or myself will be glad to show you where the elevator will be going.  The integrity and beauty of the building will be preserved, we promise!!

How can YOU help?  Obviously, donations are needed..."In Memory", "In Honor", "Because I loved the library while growing up and wish to see it accessible by all", "My grandchildren use the library", "I'd like for my elderly mother/father to be able easily access the books", whatever your reason!  Just be sure to indicate your donation is to be used for the Handicap Access Fund. An account has already been established to deposit funds for this project.  One of our local Girl Scout Troops led by Tiersa Watson donated $75.  Thank you, Girls!!!  I've had an ongoing PartyLite Cash & Carry Sale and wrote a check for $105 to go into the account.  MaryEllen Westlake has asked that a portion of the proceeds from the Quilt Raffle to go to the fund.  Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the gorgeous Log Cabin "Arrow", extra long, queen size quilt in shades of maroon, browns and beige ~ $1.00/ticket or 6 - $5.00 (we'll send you your receipt). 

Val Ewald (our aide) and her family will be running a small vegetable stand this summer in front of the Library on Tuesdays and she and her family will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the Handicap Access Fund.  We are asking community members to volunteer to make bake goods to sell along w/the produce.  We'll be doing this on Tuesday afternoons from 2 'til about 7 or so.  Though the Ewalds will be in charge of the stand, we'd like to see some teens donate a few hours to help man the stand. 

Mark your calendars...the Rummage Sale WILL take place on Election Day ~ November 6th.  Initially it had been canceled until I volunteered to run it this year. I will still be counting on the "regulars" as well as new volunteers to make it a success.  This is our biggest fundraiser so we just couldn't let it go.

By the way, we'd like to introduce you to the 20th Century Club Library Board:

President ~ (currently open — seeking a president for the board of trustees)

Vice President ~ Craig Braack

Secretary ~ Jean Pilgrim

Board Members — Pastor Steve Dygert and Dawn Gillish. 

Treasurer ~ MaryAnne Reitnauer

Board Members Ellen Hardy and Pat Rogers

A HUGE “Thank you!” to Kitty Baker and Hazel Bracken who have made the library THEIR passion for so many years. Ladies, you aren’t off the hook yet!

And if you haven’t already heard, the Children’s Room has new lighting. Thanks to the generosity of a Hornell resident who is a friend of Lillian Hanks, we now can see into the corners of the room! Prior to the installation of the lighting, Val and I were unable to shelve or find books after 4:30 or so during the fall/winter as it was so dark with only one central light. It’s so much brighter with the period lighting that was decided upon.

A few are doing their part already.  We are asking "the many" to join in and help us make it happen.  EVERYONE with ties to Almond needs to be a part of this. If you are paying a visit home to Almond, please stop in and refresh your childhood memories of the times you spent in the Almond Library. Val and I look forward to meeting you!  

Please send your donations to: 20th Century Club Library, PO Box D, Almond, NY  14804, Tammy Kokot, Librarian.