Stats show your library continues to flourish even in COVID times

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By Carole Howard  | PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

Annually at this time of year, Meg Wempe, library director, prepares an annual report for the library’s board of trustees summarizing the highlights of the past year. The information also is used when your library applies for grants, and it is required to be shared with state, county and town governments to keep them informed. 

Of course, 2021 was not a normal year. For a second year, COVID-19 required organizations to be nimble, flexible and adaptive as various mandates, recommendations and restrictions were enacted to keep everyone as safe as possible under pandemic conditions.

Here are details about your library’s 2021 operations. You can pick up the infographic version at the library. 

• The COVID effect: Not surprisingly under lingering COVID conditions, in 2021 our patrons downloaded 8,667 e-books and e-audio books. That breaks down to 4,951 e-books and 3,716 e-audio books. This is a 16.5 percent increase after a 60 percent jump the year before, our first COVID operations year. We continued curbside as well as walk-in services. While many numbers increased from 2020, some of them still are not what they were before the pandemic.

• Resource sharing: AspenCat allows our patrons access not only to the 27,458 items in our collection, but also to more than a million items in the other AspenCat libraries. The Colorado Library Consortium courier service provides daily delivery to subscribing libraries throughout the state. In 2021, we borrowed 9,414 items, up 39.6 percent from 2020, and loaned 2,542, up 28.3 percent from the year before. By taking advantage of the purchasing power of the State Library and Colorado Library Consortium, we subscribed to multiple educational databases including EBSCOHost, Learning Express and the Encyclopedia Britannica at substantial savings. (You can access these electronic resources and more by clicking on “Online Resources” on our website.)

• Collection development: Providing our patrons with materials that are current and relevant to the diverse interests of the community is one of our principal goals. We have 27,458 total items in our collection. In 2020, we added 3,005, including 259 from donations worth $4,611, and deleted 3,619 worn or outdated items. 

• Usage stats: We checked out 84,533 items, an increase of 32.2 percent over 2020. We welcomed 17,249 website visits and handled 8,048 computer uses. 

• Programming: Providing programs for all ages is a very high priority. When COVID began, our programming dramatically changed. We increased the number of virtual programs, began take-and-make programs, and limited in-person programs to being by appointment. Then, as 2021 progressed, our programing was able to go back mostly to in person. In total, we had 584 programs in 2021 with 4,308 attendees.

• Volunteers: We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of the community. Our volunteers contributed 1,551 hours valued at $44,265, up 62.7 percent over the year before.

Writing challenge 

A new all-ages writing challenge will be posted Jan. 24 on the library’s Facebook page. We hope you will challenge your creativity by participating in this free all-ages activity.

Large print

“The Midnight Lock” by Jeffry Deaver is the latest in the Lincoln Rhyme mystery series. 

Other novels

“The Last Dance of the Debutante” by Julia Kelly follows the lives of the last three debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Books on CD 

“E-Day II: Burning Earth” by Nicholas Sansbury Smith is book two of this dystopian fiction series. “Leviathan Falls” by James S.A. Corey is the final volume in this interplanetary adventure. 

Nonfiction

“How the Brain Works” is a DK guide to how the brain works with easy-to-understand graphics. “Find Your Unicorn Space” by Eve Rodsky provides interviews with thought-leaders, academics and others to show how you can unleash your creativity. “The Dying Citizen” by Victor Davis Hason describes the author’s view that progressive elites, tribalism and globalization are hurting America.

Donations 

Many thanks to Jan and Jeff Hester as well as Susan and Terry Arrington for their generous donations, and to our anonymous donors for their materials donations. 

Website

For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at pagosalibrary.org.