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Annual Report

March 31, 2003

“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.” — Henry Ford.

Of course, Henry used history to his advantage: he used knowledge from past experience to refine his manufacturing processes. Then, he established a quite oppressive tradition — the rules of mass production in his factories.

Mankind is always just stepping out of the past. We’re immersed in our near history, wondering what to do next. We often do an accounting at year end — the point at which one tallies and reflects on the recent past.

If you spend too much time at this, you consume the time you’ll have to account for next year. You don’t want your report to read: “Last year, I tallied the year before.” There’s not much point in walking through life backwards.

But it’s nice to know information is available if you want to look back at something. Think: libraries.

This month, Colorado libraries submitted their 2002 annual reports to the State Library. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of our numbers.

Most numbers are more useful in comparison, which will take another column, but others are fun all by themselves.

At the end of 2002, we had a total of 6685 registered users, of which 5066 were from within our library district. Our official district population in 2001 was 8780, and so we have 58% of our district registered.

Let’s say that 60% of the district population uses the library. Is our glass that full, or are we 40% empty? Forty percent is a lot.

We circulated 89,935 items last year, increasing from 85,964. Children’s items totalled 23,876, which is a drop from 28,661. The musings about this will take another column, too.

Despite the lower children’s circulation, we had a record number of children in the Summer Reading Program … 431.

We had about 112,000 visits for the year, which is a little over 300 per day. Computer use averaged 742 per week.

The library was open 3544 out of 8760 hours for the year. And 1560 hours, or 44%, were evening or weekend hours.

We borrowed on your behalf 1168 items on Interlibrary Loan from other libraries. And last year we began lending our own collection via SWIFT, Colorado’s electronic ILL system, and we lent 275 items during the last five months of the year.

Here’s a snapshot of the collection: 34,564 books, 1036 audiobooks, 738 videos, 505 music cds, 176 magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

You paid for this mostly through several different kinds of property taxes that totalled $385,345. Other income, such as fines, gifts, or interest, came to $29,551. The only state income last year, $121, came from a Department of Wildlife assistance fund, divvied up around the county.

We don’t have deer or bear problems, although we have had bird poop on the building, as well as a bold squirrel and a scared woodrat in the alley. That’s the extent of our wildlife problems, not counting homo sapiens.

Expenses totalled $355,913, breaking down as $80,903 for books, etc., and $188,618 for staff salaries and benefits. “All other operating expenses,” everything from insurance to repairs to postage, totalled $86,392. We had capital outlays of an additional $21,322, mostly for new shelving in the archive room and basement.

We’ll make some sense of this in comparison to other libraries in the near future.

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