Thank you for joining us in honoring
Sig Hack & Victoria Schulte
at our Sunday Tea!
Scroll down to see photos from the event!
It was a beautiful day to recognize the efforts and achievements of two of the Library’s most dedicated supporters! We had a full house of guests here to celebrate Sig & Vicky and their impact on our community. It was also a successful fundraiser for the Library, as guests generously showed their support on behalf of our honorees. Sig & Vicky spoke from the heart about their passion for books, the importance of libraries, and their love of our own very special Stone Ridge Library. Read on to see photos from the event and to learn more about our honorees.
Recognition Honorees May 19, 2019
Victoria Schulte and Sig Hack – two former treasurers and continuing trustees of the Stone Ridge Public Library – steered the Library’s finances to meet the existential threat posed by the near collapse of the 1798 building.
That danger loomed not long after voters in August 2000 overwhelmingly approved a referendum that created a tax-supported library district, but nearly a century after the Library opened as a membership association funded by dues and donations.
Voters elected Vicky and Sig to the first Library Board in the 2000 referendum. As a trustee of the previous association, Sig remembers yearly fundraising to finance basic operations. “Having a guaranteed revenue source gave us predictability that we hadn’t had before,” he said. “It made things much easier.”
As the first treasurer, Vicky had to figure out how to work with a new budget and manage cash flow, because town tax allocations usually don’t arrive until March; she shifted money between accounts until revenues arrived.
Soon the Board faced a far bigger challenge: The 1798 building’s stone walls bowed apart – up to 17 inches out of perpendicular – and the 1811 building leaked. In 2006 the board ordered massive wooden trusses to hold up the stone walls, as the trustees sought funds literally to keep the Library from collapse.
The Library Board thought big, seizing the moment not only to preserve and renovate, but also to modernize and modestly enlarge the Library. In 2011 they put up another referendum for a bond issue. But in the midst of the Great Recession, “Disappointingly, it went down,” Vicky said.
The Board approached building repairs piecemeal, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Library director Jody Ford secured grants, while the Stone Ridge Library Foundation, which the board created as its nonprofit fundraising arm, worked for years to raise more than $300,000.
“As soon as serious building started, when we were getting estimates for brick and mortar, I was uncomfortable, because I’d never built a house or run a business,” Vicky said. “But Sig had that experience and was willing to do the work.”
He had grown up in the textile industry, running and fixing machines in his father’s knitting mill when he was 14. After a stint in teaching, he returned to the textile industry and became vice president of a silk weaving firm. He later earned a master’s degree in computer science and developed software for textile manufacturing.
“I might have been the only one with business background on the board,” Sig said. He readily agreed when Board president Jim Hoover (whom Sig called “the real hero of this entire period”) asked him to take over as treasurer. Later, he stepped up again, when Steve MacDonald asked him to replace him as building committee chair.
“My strategy was to become the general contractor,” Sig said. He became deeply involved in the renovations, working with craftspeople from stonemasons to carpenters.
Vicky now serves on the Board’s budget and personnel committees. The latter is a natural, for she had negotiated labor contracts as president of the local teachers union while teaching social studies at Rondout Valley High School.
Fellow teachers had introduced her to the Library years before she relocated to Stone Ridge. “People would talk about the Library and the library fair, and, when I moved in, I joined the Library immediately,” she said. Volunteering at the Library and book sales followed.
Sig began as a borrower after coming to the area in 1995. “Regular visits to the Library were the beginnings of a very different set of life experiences,” he said. “I had been that not-atypical apartment dweller who barely knew his neighbors. Now I was becoming a member of a community. For someone who never joined anything that required my regular attendance — not even the Boy Scouts —
I somehow found myself on the Library Board and now, more than 20 years later, I still am.”
Vicky spoke of the supportive role that libraries have played in her life, such as when she and her husband lived in the rural Poestenkill, near Troy, NY, where the library was a tiny Cape Cod house.
“In each town we lived in, I joined the local library, but none were as cozy, as historic or as welcoming as the Stone Ridge Library,” Vicky said. “I’m grateful that we’ve been successful in preserving and improving the Library,” such as by upgrading the children’s and young adult rooms, relocating the kitchen, improving the back porch, installing a handicapped-accessible bathroom, and creating a multipurpose community room. “The Board favors a few more improvements that we think will make the Library even more user-friendly.”