Library sees more paper and ebook borrowing PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:27
Feet through the door and eyes on the website: The Wood County District Public Library had plenty of both last year.
Ebook usage increased a dramatic 82 percent in 2013, members of the library's Board of Trustees learned at their monthly meeting Wednesday.
"But ebooks still account for only 4 percent (24,385) of total borrowing," library Director Michael Penrod reported.
According to official statistics from the state library board, foot traffic into the building increased 2.4 percent and the library averaged 18,459 visits to the BG building per month.
Circulation continues at a high level after breaking all-time records in 2012. A total of 601,404 items were borrowed in 2013, compared to 605,799 in 2012.
Penrod attributed the decrease in usage to the board's September 2013 decision to lengthen the loan period for new fiction from 7 days to the current four weeks, and said the drop was actually not as large as expected.
"Since 2002, borrowing of items has increased 36 percent, from 441,573 to 601,404," he added.
In 2013 the library had a total of 26,209 cardholders, 22,888 of them adults and 3,321 children. The library deletes cards which have been inactive for more than two years.
All sorts of other measures of library usage were up, as well:
• 147,656 visits to the webpage. with new visits up 10 percent;
• 1,525 Facebook fans, up 20 percent;
• 96,356 questions answered by the staff - up 13 percent;
• 866 total programs and classes with a combined attendance of 22,950 - up 5 percent.
Of that total, adult programs were up 40 percent as 116 programs brought a combined attendance of 4,667.
Youth programs were up 0.7 percent with 750 programs and attendance of 18,291.
• Catalog system activity was up 38 percent over 2012. There are 188,845 total items in the collection and 18,546 items were added in 2013 alone.
"We can't add that amount every year," Penrod pointed out.  "There would soon be no room in the library. So we purge, too."
Books damaged by pets and books that have become obsolete are in that group. As an example, the library adds a 2014 tax book and removes the 2012 tax book at the same time.
The library building itself is currently "under construction," with a large Dumpster taking up a couple spaces in the parking lot.
"We are knocking down a wall to expand our inter-library loan area," Penrod told the board. "It's an old exterior wall of the original building."
The kids' puppet area has been moved to make way for the project.
Board members asked how the severe weather of January and February has impacted library usage and operations.
The library has "spent more on parking lot snow removal this winter than the last two, three years combined," Penrod reported.
Circulation has moved up and down, based on the movement of each snowstorm that comes along.
"We've seen a rush before and the first day after," which countered low numbers during storms and the mandated Level 3 closures.
Michele Raine, assistant director, noted that 258 ebooks were downloaded in January, "the highest number ever. I think the weather did impact that" as housebound library patrons stocked up.
In other business:
• Several of the trustees will be meeting with the Wood County Commissioners during March to discuss the need to place a renewal or replacement library levy on the November ballot.
At its April 22 meeting the library board will need to pass a resolution asking the county auditor to certify the amount and length of the levy, a decision not yet finalized.
• The library is about to start accepting credit cards for fine payments. Beginning Monday, cards may be used to pay fines that are at least $1.
• Free tax preparation help continues at the library now and through April. Individuals and families with low to moderate income, up to $50,000 per year, may sign up for consultations on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday afternoons. Appointments are required. Dial 211 or 1-800-650-HELP (4357).
• Maria Simon highlighted two upcoming programs in the Children's Place. The first is a Community Baby Fair planned for March 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. "We've got lots of local organizations and agencies participating" that offer services to families with new babies as well as babies on the way.
"Global Read Aloud Day" on March 5 will feature a Skype visit from Monica Carnesi, author and illustrator of "Little Dog Lost." Carnesi knows the county library well, having used it when living in Bowling Green while her husband studied at Bowling Green State University years ago.

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