Happy New Year! I would like to take this opportunity to report on the state of the library and my beliefs and concerns for the year.

Happy New Year! I would like to take this opportunity to report on the state of the library and my beliefs and concerns for the year.

I believe in the freedom to read, that reading is fundamental, that libraries are essential and that books open the doors of the world.

We have accomplished an enormous amount in this past year, despite a reduction in our budget. We circulated 188,569 items, sponsored 572 free programs and served 147,197 customers who visited the library.

I thank our Friends of the Crestview Library and our loyal customers; we could not be so successful without your support.

Now that we've addressed the past, let's look toward the future.

We are all anticipating an even busier and more successful year.

We will continue to be the place for residents to find educational, business and recreational information. Our library has become the go-to information source for North Okaloosa residents. The library is open to all citizens and offers free access to all of our materials, including the internet.

We will offer a wider variety of programs that will draw in patrons of all ages and interests. We have some exciting programs scheduled for both adults and children.

"The History of the Florida Chautauqua,” presented by Dean DeBolt, of the University of West Florida, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 7 at the library.

Debolt has published and spoken widely on the history of the Florida Chautauqua, the American Chautauqua movement and how DeFuniak Springs became Florida's cultural center, propelling the state from the 19th century into the 20th century. He is a frequent speaker on topics of West Florida history and genealogical research.

Our art gallery and three-dimensional display cabinets are already booked by local artists eager to show their masterpieces.

In January and February, we will have a display from the Crestview Photo Club, and Mickey Frabott will display abstract wood sculptures.

In addition to our regular children’s Lap Sit and Story Time programs, Guinness Record holder Ken Blackburn will present a paper airplanes program at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Crestview Community Center.

Our customers' internet connection needs will be better served now that we have purchased several Windows 7 computers. Computer one-on-one help will be available by appointment.

Our goal is to increase our e-book collection but still offer bestseller books in print.

We are here to fulfill your business, educational and leisure reading requirements. Look for our new library logo, and check us out!

Jean Lewis is the Crestview Public Library's director.