Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stats Show Impressive Library Use Last Year

Who says people don’t use libraries any more? Our usage numbers for 2009-2010 are in, and they are mighty impressive.

Circulation was at an all time high of 429,854. Even with so many alternative formats available for our patrons, a solid 65% of items borrowed last year were good old-fashioned print materials.

The number of reference questions was up by 4%. Despite the ubiquity of Google, people continue to make a wide range of requests for assistance from our trained and experienced librarians.

Attendance at programs was up over 12%, to 24,940 (that averages out to every single person in town attending one event). The huge success of offerings from Enjoying Joyce to the children’s Summer Reading Program demonstrates that people are flocking to the Library for more than just books.

At year-end, the size of our collection stood at 132,268, almost exactly the same number as a year ago. While we added over 13,000 new items to make sure our patrons had plenty of the newest titles, we also discarded the same number to make space for them on our overcrowded shelves.

For more statistics, see the About the Library section on our website at .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Calling all Book Clubs and Community Groups for The Big Read

Calling all book clubs and community groups! The Ridgefield Playhouse in partnership with the Library is hosting The Big Read in Ridgefield this fall. During September and October, we will be organizing dozens of events related to John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” There will be concerts, lectures, exhibits, film screenings and much more. One of the key components of this national literacy initiative is to have as many people as possible in the community read the book and come together to talk about it.

There will be a number of discussions hosted by the Library and others that will be open to the general public. Independent book groups are invited to register with the Library to receive educational materials, training for discussion leaders and copies of the text for their members to borrow. We are also encouraging churches, fraternal and service groups and other community organizations to schedule a discussion for their own members, perhaps focusing on issues of special relevance to their mission. Contact me as below to register or get more information.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 20

It has been 20 years since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the town of Ridgefield is currently commemorating this occasion.  Led by the Commission for the Disabled, numerous organizations are helping to shine a spotlight on the ADA, the ways it has improved the quality of life for so many Americans, and the enormous amount of work still to be done to ensure universal access.

Here at the Ridgefield Library, we invite people to stop by from the 21st through the end of this month and take our Accessibility Challenge.  Pick up a quiz sheet and see how hard it is to complete simple tasks in a facility that is not truly accessible.  We’ll even have a wheelchair available so you can experience firsthand the difficulties faced by people with disabilities every day:  bathrooms that are not ADA compliant; aisles in the stacks that are barely wide enough for a wheelchair and do not provide adequate turnaround space; books stored on high and low shelves that are out of reach for people with many physical limitations.

We will also be showcasing special library services available for people with disabilities, along with many resources to educate and inspire all in the fight for universal access.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beat the Heat @ the Library

How are you beating the heat?  Lots of people have been coming to the Library, where it is air-conditioned and where we have plenty of things for folks of all ages and interests to do. 

With a watery Summer Reading theme of “Make a Splash: Read!”, we have lots  of “cool” programs – plus ice cream coupons, passes for the pool or beach and even foam water shooters as reading incentives.  There are drop-in storytimes Mondays and Saturdays, teen movies on Fridays, Hollister Film Series offerings on selected Wednesdays, evening PJ Storytimes and much more.  Check for a complete schedule.

Avoid overheating your home computers by using one of our workstations, or bring your laptop and settle in to our comfortable environment to check your email or do research.

Too hot to go outside?  Pick up some DVDs (how about something set in the chilly Arctic?) – or even a suspense novel to send chills up your spine!

The governor’s office and other officials are urging people to prevent heat-related health problems and to avoid unnecessary strain on the electricity grid, so stay cool and conserve energy by coming to the Library.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mango Language Learning Programs Now Available

Thanks to support from the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, we are now pleased to offer the Mango Languages online language learning system. Mango is a web-based program that can be used at the Library or accessed at home, school or anywhere Internet access is available. All you need is your Ridgefield Library card.

Mango was selected after several months of trials of different language learning systems, during which it got the highest ratings from Ridgefielders for ease of use and functionality. It offers 23 languages (with more coming soon), ranging from Arabic to Vietnamese and including the most requested languages such as French, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. It also includes numerous ESL courses. Offerings include both Basic and Complete courses in most languages.

The interactive Mango methodology teaches four key language components simultaneously – vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture – and allows users to learn at their own pace, customizing the learning environment to their own preferences. It emphasizes practical skills and everyday conversation to get the user up and talking right away, along with exercises to strengthen retention and comprehension.

To give Mango a try, visit our website at and follow the link.