Bethany Library Association
538 Amity Rd
Bethany CT 06524-3015
Contact Information
Address 538 Amity Rd
Bethany, CT 06524-3015
Telephone (203) 393-2103 x
Fax 203-393-2103
Web and Social Media
Engage. Connect. Grow.  The Clark Memorial Library engages patrons in the love of learning by connecting all users to available resources to grow a vibrant community of thinkers.
A Great OpportunityHelpThe nonprofit has used this field to provide information about a special campaign, project or event that they are raising funds for now.
Smile on Clark!  We are expanding our resources to include enhanced technology services for Senior Citizens and small businesses, an innovative Kidspace with maker opportunities for families and literacy outreach to all, and a collaborative area for teens to study, build, and game.  More and more people are using the library to increase their understanding of the world and to feed their curiosity. Smile on Clark will help us transform existing areas into teaching and gathering spaces for people of all ages.  The library will be an incubator of ideas and a nest of thoughtful inquiry.  To help us upgrade our technology, furnishings, and learning tools we aim to raise $250,000.  
A Great Opportunity Ending Date 31 2017
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1951
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
CEO/Executive Director Melissa Canham-Clyne
Board Chair Barbara Haag
Board Chair Company Affiliation Amity Region 5 School System
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Mission Engage. Connect. Grow.  The Clark Memorial Library engages patrons in the love of learning by connecting all users to available resources to grow a vibrant community of thinkers.
American public libraries are transforming themselves into relevant information and cultural centers by re-learning their own creation stories.  Clark Memorial Library is an example of this process.  In 1798, leading families gathered together to create a communal lending library called the Bethany Union Library.  Then, in the late 19th Century the youth of the town formed a very special Literary Society.  Many of those young participants became the the founders of the Bethany Library Association in 1930.  Together they created the Clark Memorial Library. The library officially opened its doors in 1931.
The Bethany Library Association is the nonprofit governing body for the library.  These dedicated individuals work to provide the town of Bethany a public library.  The Clark Memorial Library is not a town department. 
Bethany's  library roots are those of concerned and intellectually curious community members.  These were people eager to improve themselves and to benefit their neighbors by creating an institution to promote learning, self -advancement and quality use of leisure time.  Our present day patrons and sponsors recognize that Clark is a community asset seeking to fulfill those aims of the public library. 
Clark expanded, tripling in size, in 1995.  This expansion created a community meeting room and paved the way for public computing areas.  Financing for this much needed endeavor came largely from private donations through a multi-year capital campaign.  
Our strides to meet the current needs and aims of a 21st Century community include joining the Libraries Online Consortium.  Through this membership our patrons benefit directly by having access to the resources of our 29 fellow member libraries.  We have a second branch now.  It is our website, where patrons gain access digital materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Programming and activities have expanded for ages.  Now we lend more than books and magazines, we lend tablets and hot spots.  We provide technology training and serve as a founding member of the Heart of Bethany service collaboration.
Organization's Top Accomplishments :  
1. New position funded and filled - Children's Librarian
2. Expanded Service Hours - went from 34 hours to 40 hours a week
3. Began community driven art exhibition in new art gallery area
Top Goals for FY 17:
1. Establish a Legacy Program
2. Increase digital branch collection by realigning budget
3. Establish business and maker area  
1. HVAC upgrades:  Our HVAC system needs a complete upgrade as all equipment is at least a generation old and is not functioning efficiently- when it does function!  Currently the estimate for upgrades is near $80,000.
2.  Radiant Heat for Children's Room -  Our children's room is cold and damp.  In the winter time families seldom linger for story time very long because the floor, really the whole room, is cold.  In the summer time our books suffer because humidity from the ground flows into the books.  Radiant heat would help to solve both problems, creating a safer and healthier space.
3.  Improve collaboration with the town's business community by serving as networking center for entrepreneurs and regular businesses.
4.  Develop new revenue sources to assist with overall sustainability, and work on designing a development map to guide us through the coming years.
5.  Consistently engage in board and staff development with professional training, and ongoing board recruitment.
CEO Statement
The Clark Memorial Library's mission statement reads: Engage. Connect. Grow.  It is something the staff, volunteers, and board do every day.  Unlike most New England town's Bethany lacks a center.  The library has become that center; we have become that heart.  
Programming, expansion of services, and proper training of staff and board has increased the capacity of the library to be a center of life long learning and also a focal gathering space for cultural and civic engagement.  We believe that knowledge is our currency.  Knowledge is not limited to books.  Knowledge is grown through creativity and human relationships.  So at Clark, we bring people and ideas together to grow a vibrant community. 
Board Chair Statement
Our greatest success in the past few years has been to increase financial support for the library.  We are a nonprofit providing a very public service. Much of our support does come from a Town grant.  In the past four years, the Town has been impressed by how far we have come in professionalizing and upgrading the library.  Their appreciation shows in their 62% increase of financial support.
This support has enabled us to expand service hours, provide more programs, and hire a full-time children's librarian.
What is reflected in this increase is how much the Bethany Library Association itself has grown.  We annually participate in a design thinking retreat to help set our goals for the coming year.  We have re-examined and adapted our Bylaws to meet the evolving needs of a volunteer driven organization.  We have added an annual donor and volunteer recognition event to help celebrate those individuals who give so that we may give.  We make board training a regular feature of our board member responsibilities.
This attention to professionalizing our board is directly reflected in the service of the library and how we enable our staff to impact our patrons. Our main stairway is decorated with examples from patrons about how the library has impacted them these include:  help with job applications, finding resources for an autistic child, learning how to use a computer and different computer programs, getting help on publishing a book, and so much more.  Here are three quick stories from our patrons:
  • Friendship and shared interests were discovered by a new family in Bethany when they attended our teen and kids' programs.  
  • Hoping to help his wife enjoy reading again, a husband learned how to download audio books for her listening pleasure.
  • Teaching a parent how to use puppets to ignite the love of reading, our Children's Librarian inspired a family to read together.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Libraries
Secondary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Citizen Participation
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Humanities
Areas Served
Lower Naugatuck Valley
New Haven
We are a public library located in Bethany, CT.  As a public library we provide services to our town but also to any library card holder from any town in the state.  We share our resources directly with public libraries in Woodbridge, Orange, North Haven, and twenty six other libraries through the Libraries Online consortium.  Many of our patrons also come from the lower Naugatuck River Vallery.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments Voices throughout our country lament the increasing polarization and sense of isolation in our society.  Clark Memorial Library, as all public libraries strive to do, works every day to serve as the bridge in that polarization and to build up community through civic engagement.  We believe in self-advancement, but we also know that community advancement is only possible when we find ways to gather together and to learn from one another.  So everyday at Clark, we Engage.  Connect. Grow.
Description This program is supported by a grant from the CFGNH.  Using tablets, laptops, and smartphones two stipended high school students work with Senior Citizens in learning how to use their devices and how to make best use of new applications.  Tech training is weekly but tablets and other tech items can be lent anytime.  
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens / Adults / Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. This program is a result of a user survey of Senior Citizens in our community.  Respondents felt that the library should offer one-on-one training on how to use electronic devices.  They also felt that it was important to have teenagers do the training.  Long term success means that 70% of those seeking training will understand and be able to use their device.  Long term success means that the teen trainers will understand how to work with seniors in an educative manner.  Long term success means that this will grow into a regular library service.
Description Ready for Reading is our baby through pre-schoolers social reading and play group.  Regular attendance at this weekly program averages at 30 participants.  Caregivers and their young ones learn emergent literacy skills such as decoding, listening, and phonic awareness through story times, songs, and play.  It is also a socialization time for both caregiver and child.  
Population Served / /
Program Comments
CEO Comments One of the greatest challenges of program is cost.  We are a small library serving a community with great needs.  Those needs might not be reflected in the town's average income.  Rather, these are related to being a rural town with residents spread out.  The town is increasingly becoming a bedroom community for New Haven and Bridgeport.  Between the spatial isolation and the lack of time spent in town, there is a true "poverty" of community engagement.  Creating programs that foster community take staff and calendar time.  Such programs tend to be ongoing and need to encourage the participant to step out of one's safety zone.  But, this investment is worth it.  Building community builds empathy and strengthens the resiliency of the town.
CEO/Executive Director
Melissa Canham-Clyne
Term Start Sept 2012
Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 18
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Bethany Community School, Heart of Bethany, Empower Her, Bethany Lions, Friends of the Bethany Library
Outstanding TrusteeAssociation of Connecticut Library Boards2016
Outstanding Publicity and ArtsConnecticut Library Association2015
Board Chair
Barbara Haag
Company Affiliation Amity Region 5 School System
Term Nov 2012 to Oct 2017
Board of Directors
Susan Bedron Calcagni Realtors and Country Companions Veterinary Hospital
Melissa Canham-Clyne Library Director, Clark Memorial Library
Elizabeth Frieden youth member, student
Calico Harington
Fin Hirschoff Community Volunteer
Claire Lane youth member, student
Shirley Lasch-Gorblisch
Patricia Martin Retired
Steve Massey Raymond James
John Pellicano
Kathryn Sylvester Lawyer, private practice
Jennifer Turner Community Volunteer
Henry Voegeli Retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 10
Unspecified 1
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Risk Management Provisions
Directors and Officers Policy
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Board Co-Chair
Shirley Lasch-Gorblisch
Term Nov 2016 to Oct 2017
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30 2017
Projected Revenue $261,430.00
Projected Expenses $261,430.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Form 990s
Form 9902016
Form 9902015
Form 9902014
IRS Letter of Exemption
Tax Exempt Certificate
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$955,758$946,124$944,894
Current Assets$22,268$26,500$37,393
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$4,707$21,852$7,312
Total Net Assets$951,051$924,272$937,582
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountTown of Bethany $193,081 -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 538 Amity Rd
Bethany, CT 065243015
Primary Phone 203 393-2103
CEO/Executive Director Melissa Canham-Clyne
Board Chair Barbara Haag
Board Chair Company Affiliation Amity Region 5 School System


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