Here’s the Nelson Town Library when Kristine Finnegan ’91 became library director 20 years ago. The photo (right) doesn’t show that the library had moldy books, no water, no bathroom, and the windows were nailed shut. Each of the granite steps leading up to the library was a different height and they were treacherous, especially in winter. A number of patrons would phone ahead and tell Kris what books they wanted, or they would ask her to select something for them. Then they would drive to the base of the hill below the library and Kris would go down and meet them with their books. The library definitely had a problem with accessibility.
Here’s the Nelson Town Library today (photo below), after Kris marshaled her limited resources to advocate for a new building:
As a result, the New Hampshire Library Trustees Association chose a very deserving Kristine Finnegan to be 2012′s Library Director of the Year. The award is given for professionalism, leadership, and outstanding performance to a library director who offers programs which enhance the quality of life in their community.
“Why does Kris deserve this honor?” wrote the Town of Nelson on its website. “There are many reasons: chief among them is the significant contribution that the Library, under Kris’ leadership, makes to our community. Kris accomplishes this with such limited resources that it never ceases to amaze the Trustees and delight the thrifty town folks of Nelson. With limited hours, a small budget, and a small library, Kris makes a very big difference in the town of Nelson, New Hampshire.”
During this period, Kris also did the research, documentation, and paperwork to qualify the Town Hall and the Old Library for listing on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places. Her award is indeed well deserved—if you know Kris, drop her a note of congratulations.