I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Mindy Kittay for all she did for the Ukiah Library. We changed in the last 15 months from cramped to open, from cluttered to neater (though not yet perfect). We have new furniture, new display book cases, new display boards, specialized carts for children's picture books, cheerfully colored book carts, many, many, many new books, audiobooks, large print books, ebooks and eAudiobooks, all kinds of books.

Staff were sent to several library conferences last year: for Bookmobile Librarians, Small and Rural Libraries, California Library Association and many online trainings through InfoPeople and other groups.  We had a staff day learning how to deal with difficult people.

Staff had the opportunity to try what they liked doing, creating book clubs, working with Ukiah Reads, blogging and creating illustrated reading lists for specific age groups, working with Therapy Dogs to encourage children to read. We now have a full-time Children's Librarian and story times on Tuesday, bilingual and Saturday afternoon.  We created a Teen Room and had a happiness corner.

We started participating in First Friday Artwalks and had a variety of art, music and food while the Friends of the Library started their booksales on first Friday nights. We had lectures on the stars and goat cheese, both highly popular. We or I should say Anne Shirako started a book club. We had a couple of movies and plan to have more. This Friday at the Corner Gallery we will be hosting the First Friday Artwalk to display entries for our new to be seed library logo, Yokayo Seed Project, our new logo will be found on all official seed library documents. This is through a grant called Book2Action. We will be having a workshop with Thurston Williams about the importance of farming and eating locally, and Gina Covina on saving seeds and more.

Our Facebook page use grew with Mindy's additions of quotes from authors and related items of library interest.

We initiated self-checkout of library materials. It is an alternative. We are still there waiting to help if you prefer the traditional method. Unseen and in the staff area, we have added the Bookmobile staff and shelves for all the books and audiobooks and movies on hold, waiting to be taken to various places in Mendocino County. We have made room for more staff.

The children's library also received a grant which has given them interactive toys for toddlers, something we were lacking and 11 of the most incredible puppets which our children's librarian will be using in story time. I know I have forgotten something, probably several somethings. I just wanted to take this last opportunity to say "goodbye and thank you."

Eliza Wingate is the Branch Librarian at the Ukiah Library, Mendocino County Library, 105 N. Main St. , Ukiah. She can be reached at (707) 463-4580.