Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

Library checks out record 1M items in 2006

December 22, 2006


Yelling was allowed Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

Evidently, it is OK to break that cardinal rule of libraries if you're celebrating a Lawrence milestone. Cheers and applause broke out about 4 p.m. as library staff members checked out the 1 millionth item of the year at the library.

The event marked the first time in the library's history that 1 million items were checked out in a single year.

"So many books. How am I going to carry all these books?" said the 4-year-old son of Fabiana Cesa, as he lugged a book bag of used books that he was given for being the lucky library patron.

Cesa, who asked that her son's name not be used, said she had no idea what was going on as they approached the circulation desk and saw people poised to take photographs.

"I know you are always looking for a story," Cesa said. "I figured it must have been a slow news day."

But she said she was happy to be part of generating some publicity for the library. Cesa, a native of Argentina, came to Lawrence about two years ago. She said the library played an important role in her assimilation into the community.

"When I first came to Lawrence, I was very happy to have the library," Cesa said. "It is a place to meet people. It is more than just a place to check out books."

Fabiana Cesa, left, helps her son load up books checked out Thursday from the Lawrence Public Library.  The Cesa family checked out the 1 millionth book of 2006 from the library on Thursday.

Fabiana Cesa, left, helps her son load up books checked out Thursday from the Lawrence Public Library. The Cesa family checked out the 1 millionth book of 2006 from the library on Thursday.

Bruce Flanders, the library's director, said the 1 million mark was a significant one. The previous high was set last year when the library checked out 933,023 items, which includes both print and nonprint materials. Flanders said the number of items checked out has been growing by about 8 percent per year since 1999.

Flanders said he thought the increase was attributable to a knowledgeable staff that attracts patrons, increased marketing efforts and an improved collection of items.

"It is really kind of a 'Field of Dreams' story for the library," Flanders said. "If you build it, they will come. If you build the collection, it will circulate."

Flanders said the staff has used additional city funding to particularly increase the library's adult fiction section. The library has made an effort to have the major award-winning novels of the past 30 years in stock, in addition to adding more international fiction and best-sellers.

The 1 millionth item, though, didn't exactly fall into any one of those categories. It was the children's book "The Insect Class."

If he had it to do over again, the boy's father, Barry Carver, might have encouraged his son to make a different selection. Carver is a published author and has a book, "Sunday Best," in the library's collection.

"I wish I would have known," Carver said.

A closer look at the Lawrence Public Library

Items checked out in 2005: 933,023 (Previous circulation record)

Number of library card holders: 79,376

Number of visitors between January and November 2006: 448,048

Number of items in the library: 317,649


Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 11 months ago

Stop that, Reality_Check. You of all people ought to know that facts only confuse matters.

The silence on this issue is deafening, though--I do have to admit that much.

Confrontation 8 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many of these books were checked out by staff members and immediately put back on the shelf? That's one way to increase your numbers. Also, how many of the visitors were homeless or just there to meet "babes" on the internet?

Bud Stagg 8 years, 11 months ago

Gee, not that they charge, but at $1 per check out, it would only take 30 years to pay for that $30m new library.

Of Course the way the world is changing, we won't need a place for those dusty old tree destroying books in 10 years. We will just need some big hard drives and some work stations. We will all just check out books on our ipods, download them and read them. That way we won't have to worry about late book charges, etc.

I think we can wait and see what happens with actual usage. My business has changed so much in the last 5 years it is incredible. We have stopped certain markets and opened completely new ones due to digital and the internet.

pelliott 8 years, 11 months ago

dear confrontational. I just loved your post. It made me laugh so hard I started coughing. You should go visit the library sometimes. Just stating that you think the over worked, steadfast staff is standing around checking books in and out is actually quite an imaginative delusion. I admire the lack of selfconciousness in your willingness to sound so utterly stupid just to post something hateful. I am emailing your comment to some forums I am on, nominating it for our goofy troll of the year award.

MyName 8 years, 11 months ago

Marion may actually have a point (I know I'm shocked too). At least with regards to the kind of stuff libraries should be picking up and adding to their collection. I heard this Berkeley professor say in a lecture that he believed alot of the more mundane stuff, like almanacs, scientific journals, encyclopedias, etc. were going to be completely electronic in the not too distant future, while the stuff that does more of the "cultural heavy lifting" like novels, history books, biographies, certain types of magazines, etc. are probably going to stay in printed form for a long time. This viewpoint makes sense to me anyways.

It also means that the library will probably stop acquiring alot of the more obscure printed reference materials, but will still need to make more room for more mainstream books, as that is where the 8%+ growth will be coming from.

Sigmund 8 years, 11 months ago

No one said libraries were not used nor important. What I have said is that a new $30 million downtown library isn't needed nor is it the best use of library budget. Maybe this distinction is too subtle for the rabid PLC supporters, rich downtown landlords, or the sleazy developers who plan to feast on this giant piece of PLC Pork.

budwhysir 8 years, 11 months ago

The library is doing this well and we need another one?? I am confused, if we can pump that much business thru this building, why build a bigger one?? Update, outdate, renovate, congregate.

All terms that politicaly speaking will induce research into a taxing issue of building a larger greater bigger better building to increase learning knowledge advancement and fellowship thru out the city town county and state.

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