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Library sees increase in demands PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 05 March 2012 13:17
The results are in – and the Wood County District Public Library is seeing an increase in popularity, especially amongst its electronic offerings.
In his report before the Library Trustees at their regular meeting Tuesday morning, Library Director Michael Penrod stated that overall library use was up over 6.5 percent in 2011, and that 17,000 more items were added to the institution’s holdings – an increase of nearly 30 percent.
Also – and perhaps surprisingly – the library has seen an uptick in the number of questions asked at the reference desk by patrons, to the tune of 13 percent.
“That’s further proof that the internet is not replacing the public library,” said Penrod.
“People are coming in to ask for assistance.”
Program attendance is also up 18 percent and the computer lab is seeing more modest growth, with use up just 3 percent last year. Penrod noted that the lab’s computers are still used a great deal on Sundays, but said that the facility is not as jampacked as it used to be when the junior high was located just down Church Street, and students would crowd the lab after school.
Significantly, however, the library has seen a massive uptick in its ebook circulation – it was up 155 percent over 2011.
“So these are all great growth indicators as we move forward.”
Library Assistant Director and head of Adult Services Michelle Raine said that, with the increase in circulation, they are examining the inventory to make ebook purchases for adults and children to keep up with demand.
However, these efforts are complicated by the current unstable state of the ebook publishing market. Penrod explained that an increasing number of publishers are not selling ebooks to libraries, instead focusing on the private market, which appears to be more lucrative.
“The whole ebook market is in flux. Publishers are changing what they’re doing with licensing every day,” he said.
He cited an example of the library’s dealings with the publisher Harper Collins, who at first sold the ebooks to the library with no strings attached.
They later announced that after an ebook has been checked out on a Kindle Fire or other e-reader 26 times, that the library had to re-buy the book. Harper Collins said that was the average number of times a physical book is checked out before it needs to be replaced. Penrod told the board that the library has volumes that have been checked out over a hundred times each and are still in excellent condition.
The board additionally approved two changes to circulation policy, easing restrictions on the number of certain items that can be checked out by patrons.
In one action, the board voted to allow patrons to check out an unlimited number of audio books or music CDs, as long as any one patron does not have more than 100 items checked out at one time.
While the 100-item limit is not new, patrons had previously only been able to check out 10 audio books or CDs at one time.
“I think they’re just both leftovers from when we had smaller collections,” Penrod said.
In a second action, the board voted to increase the number of movies that a patron can check out from six to 10.
“I think this just removes a small barrier to service,” Penrod said of the changes.
In other business, the board:
• Heard that a new feature, “Book Bundles for Busy Browsers,” has begun at the library. These include small stacks of several
books tied up in little packages for the convenience of library patrons on the go.
“We’re doing this by topic,” said Raine, “So if you happen to rush in and you don’t have a lot of time to browse, we’re prepacking sets of books.”
Topics include gardening, sports and certain fiction genres.
• Heard that a suggestion box, as well as suggestions for items to purchase, are being instituted at the library.
• Heard that, via the office of Fifth District Representative Bob Latta, the library will be receiving American and Ohio history books from a Library of Congress program that distributes extra copies of volumes in their collection. Penrod explained that the library’s history collection is still recovering from damage it suffered in a flood when the library was temporarily relocated to the current Banner Mattress store on South Main Street.

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