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.
“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
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
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
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.
“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.