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Annual Report

June 13, 2011

We never discussed our annual report to the state library. I completed it early this year before I left for a month and didn’t give it much thought again until looking up a number last week.

It can be tedious when statistics are reported in a body of text like this. The data is often presented inconsistently–sometimes last year is given first and sometimes last. Or a decline turns out to be a decline in the rate of growth.

If I tell you that 71.3% of our 14.7% increase in circulation last year came from DVD circulation, will you drop the paper and grab your fishing pole?

Circulation of print materials increased only 4%, which is a decline of over 50% in the rate of growth from the previous year. Oh, dear.

So let’s start again.

In 2010, we saw a 14.7% in circulation over 2009. We’ve seen similar rates in recent years. In 2004, we first went over 100,000 in circulation, and in 2010 we went over 196,000. Very nice.

It’s like watching world population growth, except that our population has remained the same here in our library district. Use from outside our library district has actually declined in recent years.

I guess we have a literate and informed populace.

The door count of visitors remained the same. The number of library computer users has remained flat for several years. I can’t quite tell if it’s a self-limiting thing because of the fixed number of computers, or if the demand has lessened because so many more people come in with their own computers to use the wireless Internet access.

Interlibrary loans were about the same, as was circulation of children’s books. Watching these numbers is interesting but not always useful. So far in 2011, check-out of children’s books has been a big part of our increase.

One can only shrug at the difference. Is there a spike of children just learning to read? One super-reader with a broken leg could skew the figures for a few months.

A healthy library is the result of both use and support, and we get both. Out of 114 public libraries in Colorado, we rank 27th in total expenditures per capita. That’s a measure of the support of our community.

In using this funding, we try to maximize the amount we spend on library materials (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.). One measure I watch over the years is the percent of our budget spent on library materials.

Out of 114 libraries, we rank 5th in the percent spent on library materials. This is good. Conversely, we rank 98th in the percent spent on staff for running the library.

We’re not taking our cue from Andrew Carnegie regarding staff expenses but rather we’re trying to run the library in a way that maximizes the flow of new books, etc., to our community.

We’re ranked 10th in circulation per capita. Thank you for using your library.

The library board has remained committed to keeping the library open as much as possible, and so we’re second in the state for total number of hours open per week. In case you forgot, we’re open seven days a week, seventy hours per week.

I know this might not be thrilling to read, but it is most excellent news. I know it’s much the same as you read last year and the year before, but that fact is also good news.

We’re looking forward to seeing you this summer. And remember, the summer reading program is underway, with a couple hundred children signed up already.

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