Guest Column: Hudson Library looking ahead in 2021

Dr. Lynn Remly
President, Friends of the Hudson Library

The departure of the Old Year has never been the occasion of such relief, in all quarters. Not for a very long time have we hoped so fervently for a New Year that might bring a happy return to something like our normal activity.

In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis hit all volunteer groups, including the Friends, with a sudden and debilitating stroke: we closed our popular bookstore, bade a temporary good-bye to our 50 volunteers, and settled back for what we were afraid would be a long haul.

It hasn’t been a season to be jolly. Ghosts of Christmas Past haunted us: no decking the halls with shelves of books, no Christmas sale extravaganza, no Season’s Treatings reception for the volunteers and library staff.

Like others, we patiently and sadly marked off the days. Still, like other groups, we rolled up our sleeves to do what we could, given the circumstances.

As of November, the Friends managed to contribute $13,000 to the library for its programs and materials — less than half of our 2019 donation, but a sign of our refusal to give up entirely. The real tidings of comfort and joy came from our online sales effort, which produced about $8,500 of our total sales for the year.

Our workers carefully quarantined the books we had received before the March lockdown and then posted many of them on Amazon, with gratifying results. With the population forced indoors, many people turned to books to get through the crisis, including hundreds posted by the Friends. We expect to end this year with online sales of $10,000, based on our current Amazon sale list of 1,300 books.

In addition, we’ve set aside a good selection of quality gift books (and the paper to wrap them), hoping for a good holiday sale to tide us over into next year.

Meanwhile, our Membership/Publicity Committee drew 74 members through October, adding $3,565 to our annual intake. The group is planning its annual membership drive early in 2021, hoping to augment the number of faithful who joined and stayed with us throughout the library closing and the subsequent limited services.

We ask particularly those who receive our mailing to become members of the Friends, thus supporting the Library as well. One benefit of the crisis may in fact be that people realize just how important the Library and the Friends are to them and to their families, representing a resource the weary world can rely on, and one well worth supporting.

So, as we wave good-bye to the back of the Old Year, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.