The Waynesboro Public would exist without the assistance of the Friends due to the financial subsidy in our local government budget. However, there are amenities that separate our facility from others and these “extras” come from the Friends’ financial supporters whose donations help to differentiate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Without a question, the Hupmans are the quintessential “Friends.” Their benevolence has been instrumental in making our facility one of the most outstanding libraries, of this size, in our Commonwealth.
Richard Hupman, a native of our city, served not only on the Friends Board, but the Board of Trustees as well. In addition, he was Chairman of Special Events during the library’s 75th Diamond Jubilee Celebration. As evidenced by his position as US Senate Librarian, he has championed literacy all his life. He was the catalyst behind the establishment of the Hupman Family Memorial Fund, a fund that has helped to differentiate Waynesboro Public Library from other facilities. He and his deceased wife Mary, his present wife Jean, his brother and sister-in-law Sam and Sallie, and his sister Caroline Hupman Jackman, deserve not only recognition but also our sincere gratitude for their sustained philanthropy.
The welcoming environs you witness today at Waynesboro Public Library were not the case back in the 1990s. The Library’s physical plant was in a state of palpable deterioration. Wallpaper was peeling off the walls, paint was chipped, furniture was in a perceptible state of disrepair, and equipment was neither state of the art nor did it address the needs of our special demographics. Despite these visual drawbacks and furnishings/equipment deficiencies, the staff still provided the very best service. Though individuals still came seeking enlightenment, enrichment and enjoyment, the library experience, due to the milieu, was not a particularly uplifting one for our patrons or for that matter, the staff.
With funds already contributed by Richard and Mary Hupman in tandem with a gift from the Waynesboro Exchange Club, the Friends’ Board decided in 1997 to purchase an Aladdin Reader, a mechanism designed to be of assistance to the visually challenged. Subsequently, a joint determination, by Ms. Reinbold and the Friends’ Board, was made to undertake the far more expansive project of renovating the entire Adult Reading Area. Friends’ President Joan Hewlett appointed a committee to assess the area’s needs, implement the objectives, and develop a long-range strategy for the entire facility. It was decided that an appropriate way to express our appreciation would be to dedicate the refurbished area to the memory of Richard’s parents, Samuel and Mary Hupman. Subsequently, Richard informed the Friends of the forthcoming additional support of his brother and sister-in-law, Sam and Sallie Hupman. These sizeable contributions resulted in the establishment of the Hupman Memorial Fund, a fund that enabled the Friends to undertake projects that significantly improve the services and appearance of the library. With judicious investment of these funds, the Friends were afforded the financial capability to exceed their initial expectations and bring to fruition the vision they had–that of a complete facelift for our facility.
The renovation of the Library was a step-by-step process that took several years to bring to completion and culminated in what we witness today. After the formal dedication of the Adult Reading Area in 1998, aesthetic improvements were made to the Front Entrance. From there, attention was directed toward the Circulation Desk. These efforts not only benefited the patrons but the staff as well. Locating the computer monitors under the counter not only maximized the working surface but also minimized eyestrain and neck and muscle tension for the staff. Lowering a section of the desk made it more user-friend since it allowed children to better communicate with the staff and better accommodate wheelchair patrons.
Over the years, needs were addressed in the general stack area, the multi-purpose room, and smaller specialized arenas (in essence, most of the spaces accessed by our habitués). Attention to detail was given in the construction of the reference station, which was designed to meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act. The Friends’ last comprehensive effort was the renewal of the children’s area which was a joint effort utilizing a generous gift from Ann Kerr as well as the Hupmans. It was at this time, Richard Hupman informed us of a monetary gift from his sister, Catherine Hupman Jackman, which was earmarked for improvement to this department. This area too was in dismal condition in the 1990s. A gloomy space, it offered little enticement to children to use the materials on the premises or to participate in programs that were in place for them. Representatives from the Jr. Woman’s Club and Mothers Club IV, who served ad hoc on the Friends’ Evaluation Committee, agreed that our next initiative and priority had to be the transformation of the “Lilliputian” arena. Secure in the knowledge that a children’s librarian was finally on board, a “magical” (one patron’s assessment) metamorphosis took place. A state-of-the-art Internet station, user friendly librarian‘s desk, and a plethora of child-friendly tools and materials resulted in increased attendance and involvement in programs. The dedication ceremony in November of 2002 left all in attendance in high spirits.
Improvement to the Library was not however, limited to cosmetic transformation. The acquisition of high tech, user-friendly equipment for all age levels has augmented research capability and enhanced the capability to access information for patrons. Accoutrements and equipment purchases have afforded greater staff efficiency. New locked bookcases ensure the security of historical documents in the local history room; more legible signage has made accessing information and materials much easier; contemporary design systems have enhanced the capability for public and in-house displays .All these accessories were made possible from the Hupman Family largesse.
For our newer patrons and supporters, the next time you are in the Waynesboro Public Library, take a moment and read the plaque texts above the adult reading area or in the children’s area. They succinctly acknowledge the gifts from this extraordinary family who have added immeasurably to the enrichment of our lives. To Richard, Mary, Jean, Sam, Sallie and Catherine, heartfelt thanks for your vital role in making our Library an asset to our community.