Kevin Doherty’s 11-year tenure as Hoag Library president ends

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 July 2020 at 12:41 pm

Albion resident helped push through construction of a new site which opened in 2012

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kevin Doherty speaks on Wednesday during the 120th annual meeting of the Swan Library Association. Doherty is speaking in front of a new mural in the Hoag Library painted by Stacey Kirby Steward. The annual meeting is usually the first Monday in May. It was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

ALBION – Kevin Doherty has ended a 12-year tenure as a trustee for Hoag Library, including the past 11 years as the board’s president.

Doherty has reached the time limit for a trustee on the board. He is the last trustee who was on the board when Albion opened the new Hoag Library in July 2012.

Doherty was the president during the construction and the financial planning for the 14,600-square-foot site. The building allowed the library to move out of a former 6,000-square-foot mansion that lacked adequate parking and wasn’t fully handicapped accessible.

Kevin Doherty, president of the Hoag Library board of trustees, speaks during a ribbon-cutting celebration for the new library on July 7, 2012.

Terry Wilbert, a retired school guidance counselor, is the new board president. Wilbert also is an Albion town councilman.

“This is a centerpiece of the community,” Wilbert said about the library. “The meeting rooms are constantly in use. We have the book delivery program and the internet access. This is just a fantastic community asset.”

Voters on Wednesday also elected three trustees on the board. Anitrice Bennett, 77 votes, and Dan Conrad, 62 votes, were each elected to four-year terms. Joyce Riley, 55 votes, was elected to a three-year term. Those three were incumbents on the board.

There were two other candidates: Carol Miller, 43 votes, and Allyson DeBoard, 38 votes.

Doherty thanked all the candidates for their interest in serving on the library’s board of trustees. He said many other libraries struggle to find people willing to serve in the volunteer roles.

Doherty, in a message at the annual meeting, said Hoag Library has strong community support. The library is in demand for its meeting rooms, and special events, as well as access to its collection.

Doherty said generous donors continue to support projects at the library and help Hoag to pay down the debt from the mortgage for the building. The original $1.69 million mortgage from 2012 is now down to $300,000.

The library was completely done in 2012. A new electronic sign was installed last year. Solar panels were added to the roof in 2015.

Hoag also boosted its WiFi signal this year so people can have access to high-speed internet in the parking lot when the library wasn’t open.

“We added the WiFi booster because there are so many dead areas in the community where they’re trying to do distance learning,” said Betty Sue Miller, the library director.

Hoag also expects to have two charging stations installed later this summer for electric vehicles.

Donors continue to step forward for library

Doherty and Betty Sue Miller, the library director, said the community continues to give sizable donations to the library.

The library in 2019-20 received $143,246 in donations, including another $100,000 from Maurice “Mo” Hoag and his wife Courtenay. They have now given $800,000 to the library.

Betty Sue Miller, library director, speaks during the annual meeting on Wednesday.

Bob and Ann Moore also gave $10,000 for a mural of three swans in flight over the Albion countryside. That mural is in the main meeting room of the library. Stacey Kirby Steward finished that project last month. The mural was done in honor of Marion Moore, who served as director of the Swan Library from 1961 to 1973.

An anonymous donor has also given $10,000 towards the restoration of a Civil War flag that is owned by the library.

Xerox gave Hoag a $7,768 grant to purchase a book vending machine.

Another anonymous donor gave $4,000 towards a shut-in program, where library staff takes books and materials to senior citizens once a month.

A $1,000 anonymous donation also is paying for a “Book from Birth” program where children who live in the Albion school district can receive a free book on their birthday, up to age 5.

Miller, the library director, said Hoag isn’t fully open yet. It closed on March 23 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It reopened on June 1 with patrons able to order materials and have them set at the front of the building.

The building has since reopened to the community, initially from 1 to 6 p.m. The hours are now 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

The special events remain cancelled and the meeting rooms aren’t available to the public yet. The Summer Reading Program doesn’t have any in-person events but there is an online program.

Miller said the library looks to add back more services. Next week the interloan library program through Nioga is expected to return. That allows patrons to borrow books and materials from all member libraries in the Nioga system, which includes sites in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties.

“That’s what a lot of our patrons are waiting for,” Miller said about interloan. “We get a lot and we give a lot.”

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