Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Numbers Tell a Story

Visits to the Ridgefield Library during the last fiscal year (7/1/06-6/30/07) were up 3.4% to a record high of 392,223 people, bearing out locally the findings of a nationwide study released by the American Library Association in April. According to the ALA survey, public library use continues to grow, increasing overall by 61% from 1994 to 2004 - the same period during which the World Wide Web and Google were becoming household words.

In Ridgefield, this translated to 1,150 visitors per open day last year, or an average of 16.26 annual visits by each man, woman and child in Ridgefield. And just what did those people do here?

· Borrowed an average 16.5 items per capita, nearly double the state average. At the same time, due to lack of space, our collection size stayed nearly unchanged, at 135,673 items of all types. During the year, we discarded 17,577 items to make room for 17,051 new releases and patron requests – the perfect example of a “capped collection!”

· Logged onto our wireless connection 3,245 times. This is an impressive total for our first full year of this service, even taking into account May 17th (the day after the Big Storm), when we tallied 153 log-ins, including at one point 27 people at the same time.

· Attended book discussions, concerts, lectures and other programs. Driven by the popularity of our Seriously Shakespeare program, the new Sense of Place series created with the Ridgefield Design Council and myriad other activities, adult program attendance rose 10.8% to an impressive 5,664 people enjoying 230 events.

· Asked 17,411 reference and readers advisory questions. Despite easy access to the Internet, Ridgefielders remain eager to consult our expert librarians, whether they are looking for a source of reliable health information, a read-alike for P.D. James or help finding details of life in Ancient Egypt.

Stop by soon and become one of this year’s statistics!

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