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Library sets circulation record

Jackson Bell

The Burbank Public Library system isn’t just keeping records these

days, it’s setting them.

The city’s three branches -- Buena Vista, Central and Northwest --

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checked out 1,007,790 books and other items between July 1, 2002, and

June 30, 2003, shattering the previous fiscal year’s record of

775,703, officials said. In addition to books, the libraries check

out DVDs, and video and audio tapes, among other items.

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The main circulation thrust came from the 7-month-old Buena Vista

Library, which experienced a 135% increase from the old site’s

previous figure, Library Service Director Sharon Cohen said.

“The new facility is so nice that it has attracted people from all

over to see it, and once they get in, they check out books,” Cohen

said. Over the same period, Central Library’s circulation jumped 7%

and that of the Northwest Library grew by 13%.

Nationally, the annual library loan average is 6.6 items per

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cardholder. Cohen said Burbank’s rate is 9.7 items. There are about

173,000 cardholders in the system, she added.

Despite Buena Vista Library’s boost, Cohen said Central Library

still maintained the largest circulation because it offers a larger

selection of items to members. Central checked out 581,137 items,

followed by Buena Vista with 312,572 and Northwest with 113,324, she

said.

The number of reasons library officials give for the increase

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include a lackluster economy, which has made people more cautious

about spending money, and more library parking than neighboring L.A.

communities such as North Hollywood and Studio City. Officials also

credited the new park and “tot lot” playground at the Buena Vista

Library for boosting the numbers.

“Mothers will bring their kids to the tot lot to play and will

then come into the library, or vice versa,” said John Coultas, Buena

Vista’s supervisor. “And people will often check out a book in the

library and sit and read it in the park.”

Another major factor Cohen attributed to the increase was this

year’s passage of Measure L, which requires the state to match

Burbank’s $14 million for upcoming plans to remodel the Northwest

Library and build a new Central Library.


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