Friday, August 22, 2008

check it out! busy libraries!

As many of you may have noticed, the libraries have been busy recently. Our FY 08 checkout statistics went up 7.66% systemwide over the previous year. That's a big jump. We checked out nearly half a million items last year. In FY 08 our customers took home 478,429 books, CDs, and DVDs. Wow!!

And this year (which started on July 1st) is even busier. Our checkouts in July were up 22% over last year. TWENTY-TWO PERCENT! That is an incredible increase. We owe this to our dedicated customers, our friendly staff, and our weeded collections. Our libraries are looking better than they ever did, and our staff are working harder and smarter to accomodate this surge in business. Kudos to the staff of the Flathead County Library System!


Anonymous said...

Very cool, I love your libraries and always find great stuff there!

Anonymous said...

I know the staff in the branches are very friendly - haven't had that great of experience in the Kalispell branch though. What are the statistics of books checked out at the branches? Do all the branches get their fair share of new books? What is the ratio of staff vs volunteers in the different branches?

Anonymous said...

What great questions! I'm from the South and love to learn the workings of all the libraries. It's amazing to see the different volume of books check out in the different branches. I know where I live some of the branches only have a few staff on at a time, but have lots of volunteers that help out. Never thought of the new book ratio though - but it makes you wonder what the ratio is between the "rich" neighborhoods vs the "poor" neighborhoods or if there is something else behind the distribution of the books.

kc said...

Thank you for the questions.
There is an unwritten rule at Flathead County Libraries that new materials are divided out in this way: 50% of new materials go to the Main Library, 20% each to the Whitefish and Columbia Falls Branches, and 10% to the Bigfork Branch. We also spend about $2,000per year on materials for the Marion Branch. That said, because of our Partner Resource Sharing System, all of our libraries and customers have access to about 700,000 items (new and old) from across the state.

Currently, of the 151,142 items that can be checked out at Flathead County Libraries, 55.7% of the total is housed at the Main Library and 66% of the checkouts happen there. 22% is housed at the Whitefish Branch and 17% of the checkouts take place there. 12% is housed in Columbia Falls and 12% of checkouts happen there; and 6% of the collections are housed in Bigfork with 4.4% of checkouts happening there.

These numbers would change dramatically if more space were available in our buildings to house more materials. When we open the new Columbia Falls Branch, we will purchase an "opening day collection" in addition to our regularly budgeted materials and we expect check-outs to skyrocket as they did when the Whitefish Branch opened 10 years ago.

"Rich and poor" doesn't enter into any of this. The staff of the libraries do an incredible job of providing materials and services to our citizens while keeping within a budget that is very limited in comparison to libraries of our size in other areas.

Mary Drew said...

As someone who regularly reserves books through the "holds" system, I feel like all the books in all the libraries are available. Which branch they're at does enter into it for me. I know that some people want the book "right away" though.

PS why are people afraid to comment with their name?