Why Should You Read the Annual Report?

big logo grayIf you haven’t heard the news yet, Topsham Public Library’s 2016 Annual
Report has been released! You may read it by clicking here, or by looking in the center section of November’s issue of The Cryer, or by picking up a copy at Topsham Public Library.

The Development Committee has been working on the annual report since July. They used our long range plan to think about and discuss what we hit and what we missed. They reviewed numbers – financial numbers, numbers the staff collected about program participation, services used, and numbers of patrons served, and numbers of new patrons, and all kinds of numbers. Then they organized all this information into an 8-page report with graphs and photographs and reports. As you will see when you get your copy, a great deal of time and thoughtfulness went into the annual report.

But why? Why spend so much time on an annual report? Why should people read it? The term “annual report” sounds dull and boring and sleep inducing, but Susan Preece, Director of Topsham Public Library, thinks every member of Topsham, every patron of the library, should be eager to read the annual report “because,” she said, “this is our report to the community about what we’ve done with their tax dollars.” The annual report is a way that keeps Topsham Public Library accountable to the townspeople and to those who use our services and come to our programming. The community can see and evaluate how Topsham Public Library is doing.

Not only is it a way to keep Topsham Public Library accountable, but it is also a great way to recognize all of our volunteers. Topsham Public Library receives 60-70 hours a week in volunteer support. Our volunteers are our unsung heroes and we want to give them credit and a big Thank You, so we dedicate space to them in the annual report.

The annual report is also a place we thank our donors – from Whitten Society Members to our Business Roundtable Members. These individuals and local businesses donate significant amounts of money to keep Topsham Public Library growing and accessible for all community members.

In short, the annual report is a snapshot of what is going on and gives readers a sense of what we are doing and why we are doing it.

As we were finishing our discussion about the annual report, Susan said something that I had not thought about before and I liked it. She said, “This [Topsham Public Library] is the people’s living room. We want to be as transparent as possible so that people feel comfortable to come and get the services they need and want.”

So as you’re reading The Cryer this month, pay special attention to the Topsham Public Library insert. Find out what’s happening, read about what we’ve done and what we plan to do, and know that Topsham Public Library is a community center for all, and we have something for you.