Usage at the public library has increased 22 percent

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 2/24/98.

Twenty-two percent of anything is a big chunk, nearly a quarter, a good sized piece of the pie.

If youíre in shape, adding 22 percent to your body weight would put you out of shape. If your bank balance is slowly sinking, a 22 percent pay raise would probably keep you afloat. And if you are a library and your circulation goes up 22 percent, youíve got a lot more happy readers, listeners and viewers.

That is the story at Paynesville Public Library where from 1996 to 1997, an extra 7,393 items were checked out of the library.

In May of 1997, the Paynesville Public Library was wired for the Internet. ďWe get quite a few book requests over the Internet,Ē Gretchen Vork, librarian, said. ďOur twice a week deliveries from the Great River Regional Library has turned into five days a week since the automation. That is about 300 books per day.Ē

Vork added with the use of the Internet, people ordering books one day can have their books in the next dayís delivery.

ďWe anticipated there would be a jump in usage, but this was a big shock,Ē Vork said. Last year, the library increased its hours. It is now open every day of the week except Sundays.

Vork added that most months, especially summer months, they would average about 1,800 book requests. ďPeople who havenít used the library before are surprised to see how busy the place is,Ē Vork said.

The library has two Internet terminals which are reserved about 70 percent of the time.

In the past few years, the Great River Regional Library has been offering more childrenís programming which also draws people into the library. This month, the library is offering preschool story time and Read with the Stars promotion.The next childrenís program, ďHigh Flying Adventures,Ē is set for Tuesday, March 10 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Children will learn about flight and make a variety of flying objects. The program is designed for children ages 8 to 12.

The Great River Regional Library feels the increase in usage is happening because readers are getting library smart. They are using the automated processes which link together all 31 libraries in the Great River Regional Library system to find books, videotapes, audio cassettes and CDs stored elsewhere.

In 1992 when the Paynesville Library joined the Great River Regional Library system, they had about 28,900 books and magazines checked out of the system. In all, 40,793 items circulated from the local library in 1997, compared to 33,400 in 1996.

Throughout the system, attendance at Storytimes was 11,344, while other kinds of childrenís programming attracted a further 9,746 attendees.

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