The beginning of a new year usually includes a review of the one just completed in the form of a statistical report that the library files each year with the State Library of Kansas. These numbers help paint a picture of some of the ways patrons use the library and to illustrate the story of its ongoing role as an active hub of the community.
At the end of 2019, the circulation database showed that more than sixteen thousand people are holding active library cards. They are a combination of children and adults living and/or working in the Junction City/Fort Riley/Geary County area as well as others from surrounding communities.
At the time a library card application is processed, it is assigned a review date that is two years from the date of issue. Upon reaching its review, a card is considered active if it has been used within the last twelve months or if contact has been made with the owner and he or she has confirmed that they wish their card to continue. At that point a new two-year review date is set and the account remains in the database. Those accounts that have not been used or positive contact with the cardholder not made are deleted from the system.
With their cards, patrons who use the library for borrowing, checked out approximately one hundred seven thousand items including hardcopy books, audiobooks, and DVDs, as well as e-books and digital audio and video downloads. They also borrowed another fourteen hundred items from other libraries through the interlibrary loan service.
The headline of a January article in PR Newswire reflects that borrowing from public library digital collections is an important part of usage nationwide. Digital borrowing increased by twenty percent in 2019 with three hundred twenty-six million checkouts of ebooks, audiobooks, etc. A recent Gallup poll also revealed that more people visited their libraries in 2019 than went to the movies, attended live sporting and music events, went to a museum, etc.
While tradition is important, most people also understand that borrowing items is only one way that patrons use the library. Through the one hundred thousand visits that were paid to the library in 2019, the public computers available to children and adults were used twenty-five thousand times with many, many more utilizing the wireless service on a daily basis. More than fourteen thousand patrons also took advantage of reference services during the course of the year.
The library’s business services also received good use. Eleven hundred patrons took advantage of the notary service that lives within the work day of three staff members. In addition, twenty-seven hundred faxes were also sent and items were scanned to email in over thirteen thousand transactions.
From the education side of the menu, nearly four hundred exams were proctored for long distance education students. The library also sponsored five hundred programs, classes and events that were attended by thirteen thousand people.
The majority of these activities were held in either the meeting room or at the Library Corner. When they were available, these meeting spaces were also used four hundred times by other community members and organizations.
These room use statistics don’t count the number of people who were turned away from using the meeting spaces because they were already reserved. They also don’t include the number of tutors and students, service providers and clients, and agents and customers who got together in the main room of the library.
The numbers do show or at least help to illustrate that the library is an active, busy place where community members utilize a variety of services. Some of them are traditional offerings that have been featured on library menus for many years while others are relatively new and reflect how the body of service evolves over time with the needs of the people it serves.
It’s a story that will continue to be told throughout the current year. Stop by soon to add your chapter.
Top Five Ways Patrons
Use the Library
1) Borrow books, audiobooks
2) Attend meetings
3) Use public computers or
4) Use business services
5) Use community
Education Directory, etc.)
SUSAN MOYER is the Director of the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library.