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Library usage shows boost in circulation

Laura Sturza

Buzz generated by the new Buena Vista Library accounts for part of

a spike in circulation at all three branches, but officials also

think economic conditions play a part in the increase.

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“Certainly in down economies, people tend to turn to the library

more,” said Sharon Cohen, interim Library Services Director. “Money

is tighter, so they are not as likely to buy books.”

Business at the new library more than tripled from December 2001

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to December 2002, when 24,000 items were checked out.

The 2002 figures reflect the library’s Dec. 9 opening date, so the

month had fewer days of activity than the year before.

In addition, the month is traditionally slower because of the

holidays, so the increase in patronage is likely to continue, Cohen

said.

But the upturn at the new branch doesn’t mean patrons are making

an exodus from the city’s other two libraries. Circulation at the

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Central Library went up from 39,000 in December 2001 to 40,000 items

in December 2002, even with dropping Sunday service at the branch.

“They have gone over to Buena Vista to see it, but they still

recognize the value of the Central Library,” Cohen said. “We have a

larger collection [and] more reference resources.”

Resident Lenny May was at the Central Library on Friday, and had

not been to the new branch.

“There’s bus lines all over to [the Central] library,” May said.

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“It would be nice if they had a bus to [the Buena Vista branch].”

The Metropolitan Transit Authority delivers bus passengers several

blocks from the new branch, although the city offers bus service for

children and seniors to the new library.

The Northwest Branch also had a rise in circulation from 6,500

items in December 2001 to 7,800 in December 2002.

Even with the added patronage, the department is not planning to

add additional staff. Workers will continue to look at ways “to do

what we do more efficiently,” while relying on their strong base of

volunteer support, Cohen said.


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