Inge Heckel Interview:
This is file 26, cycle 2. This is jean McMillen. Today’s date is April 26, 2016. I am interviewing Mrs. Inge Heckel on the Friends of the Scoville Memorial Library and its background. But we will first start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
IH:January 2, 1940
IH:New York City, Flushing, NY
JM:Your parents’ names
IH:Gertrude & Christian
JM:Do you have siblings?
JM:What is you educational background after high school?
IH:Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of North Caroline, at Chapel Hill, NC.
JM:How did you come to this area?
IH:Through some friends who had a place in Sharon and they introduced me to the area in 1965.
JM:How did you get involved with the Friends of the Scoville Library?
IH:Through my friend and former neighbor in New York City Eileen Tetenbaum.
JM:Can you tell me some of the people who began the Friends of the library?
IH:Well, I think most of them had been former members of the Board of Trustees at the library which at the time had term limits. This is 2003. Among the founders were Judy Linscott, Eileen Tetenbaum, Laurie Batchelor, I believe Judi Gott, Libby Waterston and others whom I don’t remember.
JM:That is a good start. Why was it founded?
IH:I think to create more energy and awareness about the library in the community and to offer some programs that the library could not otherwise present.
JM:How do you get on that particular board? Do you apply or are you invited? 2.
IH:I think it is by invitation, but somebody on the group said, “oh so and so would love to help us sort books!”
JM:Yes, I did a lot of book sorting! That was good experience; I had taught alphabetical order and it was a review for me. How many are on the board now?
JM:Are there people on the board, when I was there, I knew Mary Taylor, Eileen and Judi Gott so who is on the board now that was not there when I was?
IH:Well Addison Stone and Joanne Carlyle, Lisa Kimmel White who is going to be the next President. Carolyn Culliton they live across the street in the brick house.
JM:The big one? That used to be the Manager’s office for the Barnum & Richardson Company.
IH:Todd Page an interior designer who has a shop in Millerton called “Christopher Todd Antiques”. He is a very nice young man. I think the others are pretty much the ones that you would know.
JM:It is a wonderful group of people and they are so dedicated to the library.
JM:You did something very special when you became President with the Friends of the Scoville Memorial Library and the Board of Trustees. Tell me what you did.
IH:We have an Annual Meeting every year at which we have elections which is usually at the beginning of May. I realized early on that the board of Trustees of the library and the Directors of the Friends did not know each other. So after our annual meeting I invited in 2010 or 2011 the Board of Trustees to join us. When we had an active membership program we invite all of the members to attend the Annual Meeting, but very few ever came. It was a great way of everybody meeting each other and bringing the two boards together because there is a common purpose.
JM;It was a good party; I remember that!
IH:We have done that ever since.
JM:It is well worth it because if people work together more gets accomplished. How do you raise money for the gifts to the library?
IH:We have the annual book sale.
JM:Who is heading that?
IH:Lisa White has been the chair of that when she becomes President in May. I think she will recruit someone else to chair that because it is a lot of work.
IH:Like herding cates. So we switched two years ago to having our major fund raiser event in June, toward the end of June. This takes advantage of the Summer Solstice and we have the book sale with that. We have done a kind of adjunct book sale in October during the Fall Festival. That will probably continue this year as a day- long thing. With the renovation of the library (See file #20. Cycle 2 John Hoffman) we haven’t been able to collect books for the last year so we first have to get our stacks back and start collecting books again, although there are books lingering in various garages at the moment. The book sale and the attendant cocktail party is the principal way we raise our funds. Last year we did the Kitchen Arts & Letters. We had 40 artists gave us small works of art for which we had a silent auction. That was a huge success.
JM:Oh I’ll bet.
IH:I think you can’t do that every year.
JM:No but it is nice to do something different like that.
IH:This year we have Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough doing a cooking demonstration and tasting and a trivia quiz. So that will be May 21st.
JM:That will be fantastic.
IH:That will be not be a book sale with that. We are doing it at the Town Grove because the library will not be finished by then, but it will be by July 1. Then the last 2 or 3 years we have done book themed gift baskets at the Artisan Sale in December for just one weekend. We will do that again this year. Those are the two principal events. We take advantage of other things as they come along.
JM:One year you did a book sale on the front lawn of the library for children’s books, I think.
IH:We usually put the children’s books under a little tent so that they can be outside.
IH:They have plenty of time to roam around, but we didn’t do a specific children’s book sale. We have given children’s books that remain after the sale to the Food Pantry to distribute.
JM:AH, not the daycare center or any of the other children’s preschools.
JM:That is something I didn’t know and the two ladies that I have done of the food pantry didn’t mention it. Thank you very much.
IH: Usually we give them to Mary Taylor takes them over there. She keeps them and takes them over in groups because there do not have very much storage, but that is what we have done with left over books.
JM:That is a lovely idea. Do any of the adult books go to Noble?4.
IH:No, they do not want them. They have their own collection system.
JM:The books which are left over, are they recycled in some way with another company?
IH:They are always recycled if we don’t keep them; we sort of assess from time to time what has been around too long. There are some companies, but they are getting fewer and fewer that will come and pick them up. They used to give you money, but they don’t do that anymore, but if you have enough they will come and get them.
IH:We try to same whatever we can, especially art books, cook books and gardening book.
JM:Yeah because even though the material may be similar, they are still different ideas and different points of viewwhich is important. What are some of the programs or gifts that you have given to the library from the fund raising benefits?
IH:We pay for the New York Times subscription at the library every year which is over $1,000. In the last 2 or three years Claudia Cayne the Director of the library makes requests for grants to us. We vote on those. We rarely turn down a request that she has made.
JM:You were very generous with me with the Oral History Program when I was there.
IH:We try to be responsive to what the needs are. All of the things that we give are things that would not be possible within the confines of the operating budget.
JM:It is a wish list of things we would like and I know that you have given a lot of money for the children’s programs.
IH:Yes, we most recently have given $15,500 for the new children’s library as part of the Capital Campaign. We sponsor an annual subscription to something called “Hoopla” which is an on-line music and video program which Claudia says is used a great deal by the patrons. You can download it onto your own computer. We give money to various adult programs like the recent Mark Scarborough lecture series on the ghost stories of Henry James.
JM:He is excellent. I have taken a TLC with him.
IH:And other special events like that as have occurred over the years and also children’s programs, and sometimes equipment from a special rug; Erin Simmons, the very successful former director of the children’s library, wanted a computer play station. We also give money for acquisitions beyond the NY Times.
JM;There are a lot of books that will have the book plate from the Friends.
IH:We created the Judy Linscott Fund in honor of our founding president which is particularly for books in her area of interest which was gardening, mysteries and art. We make an annual grant for that and other things as they pop up. We gave a travel grant to let Claudia go to a conference last year. She got a grant from Berkshire Taconic so we helped out with that.
JM:It is so wonderful to have this group of dedicated people working for the common good and I don’t know that anybody really appreciates all that you have do unless they know about it. That is one of the reasons of doing the oral histories so that people are aware of the people behind the scene that are working so hard to make our library such a vibrant place. Claudia is so thrilled with anything and everything that you have done for her. She mentioned it in her interview.
IH:That’s nice. We try to be responsive otherwise there is no point.
JM:You have some different collaborations; one of them with the White Hart?
IH:That is the library; that is not us. I credit Claudia for that because it is a way of getting more people to know about the library, but with the renovation the Wardell Room would not be available for any programs so this was a way of continuing an author series at a place. It is a nice way of teaming up with an independent bookstore because we believe in supporting local businesses.
JM:Did she organize or coordinate with Oblong as well?
IH:It started with Oblong. Then I don’t know if it was Oblong’s initiative about doing things at the White Hart or the library’s.
JM:But it is collaboration. How about the Free Library?
IH: The little free library is a national initiative, a non -profit initiative, to encourage the availability of books to towns perhaps that do not have a library or as a supplement because they are located in the town. They are stocked in this case, by the Friends. We bought the little free library; Al Ginouves volunteered his time and energy to install it for us. We put books in it that come in from our donations, principally paperbacks, and fiction because the idea is especially in a town like Salisbury which has a huge Appalachian Trail traffic that the hikers of the AT can come take a book, and leave a book. We have been putting into each book one of our book marks which tells about the Friends on one side and the library on the other. Thus people have a book mark and know more about us and about the library.
JM:Oh good nice marketing!
IH:I think it has been a big success. Members of the Friends check it. Susan De Melle has been principally in charge of this.
JM:Where is it located?
IH:It is right on the pathway between the pharmacy and LaBonne’s sort of outside Johnnycake Books. The Salisbury Market Place people gave us permission to place it there.
JM:Oh good, it is a cooperative town. When I was working on the book sale, some of the books went off to men and women in prison and other books went to the military. Do you still do that?
IH:Less so now Joanne Elliot organized that effort as she does the on-line book selling although she is not on the board, but she has continued doing that. Most recently they have gone to VA hospitals. We got some very nice letters from the hospital thanking us for the books.
JM:Oh that is nice.
IH:They have to be of a certain kind of book. It is mainly fiction.
JM:It is nice that the books are passed along and recycled instead of just throwing them out.
IH:Now we have stopped selling mass market paperbacks at the book sale and have just concentrated on trade paperbacks. When we got good mass market ones as donations, we gave them to Joanne to ship off.
JM:What is the difference between mass market paperbacks and trade paperback?
IH:Mass market paperbacks are the small ones which used to be the format for all paperbacks which started out in the 1950’s. Trade paperbacks are the bigger size. We just stopped; you don’t see them as much anymore.
JM:What haven’t I asked you that I should?
IH:I think the only comment make is that I think that the renovation of the library which is going to be beautiful. Rob Bristow and Pillar Proffitt from Poesis Design have been in charge of that. John Hoffman has been the trustee in charge. He has done an amazing job. I think everybody is very happy with the job that the Burlington Construction has done.
JM:I have done an interview with John in this. (See file # 20, cycle 2 John Hoffman)
IH:We have all felt the library is a great community resource. I think this renovation is going to be a show stopper In terms of people wanting to be in the building and doing things there.
JM:It is a beautiful building.
IH:It offered other opportunities for activities with the new children’s library being downstairs and the beautiful reading room upstairs in the adult space for poetry readings or author talks People can sit around in an informal way.
JM:That is going to be gorgeous.
IH:I think they have come up with a rather residential approach to a commercial project. It is going to be beautiful. That to me is a game changer here at the library because it is always been a welcoming place. The staff there is terrific.
JM:Oh the staff is marvelous.
IH:I think it is going to make it even more valuable to the town.
JM:We are very blessed to have it in our town as a community center.
IH:That about it.
JM:Thank you so much for your time and your information.