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 --
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.
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
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
The number of reasons library officials give for the increase
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.