By Katherine Weadly
Director of Lyons Regional Library
Libraries are economic drivers. Great libraries, just like great schools, make an area attractive. In a December 12, Money Magazine article “The 10 Best Places to Raise a Family Now” they state, “We kept our focus on safety, economic health, and diversity, but we amped up the emphasis on education and child-friendly amenities like libraries and parks.” (Money Magazine, December 12, 2017).
Let’s talk data. Over 18,000 people walked into our 1,100 square foot library this year. That’s an increase of 18% over 2016. Patrons came in to check out books, magazines, dvds,
audiobooks, ebooks, American Girl Dolls, board games, toys, e-reader, and other materials. They came in to check email, write papers for school (elementary through graduate school), use our printer, shop online, fill out legal papers, look for rooms to rent, download coupons, start non-profits, do taxes. They have received technological help writing resumes and cover letters, learned to use Facebook, Craigslist, eBay, applied for jobs, downloaded photographs, etc. We have three public notaries on staff (since April) and we notarized just under twenty documents (without charge) for our patrons. Some people just came in to use the bathroom, but that’s important too!
We checked out 32,828 items this year, which is an increase of 21% from 2016. This means our patrons from birth-to-earth are reading, thinking, imagining, and learning from items in our library as well as from our AspenCat consortium of over one hundred libraries. We protect the right to read and make sure that our library’s collection is curated by our professionals so that it has just enough thought diversity to offend just about everyone in some way.
About 1,000 people attended library events this year. None of our programs came with an additional charge. This included programs on geography, financial literacy, generational art, interactive STEM, science, and local author talks, etc. We offer a volunteer Fun Chess program after school. This year we gave a Valentine’s Day card to everyone who came to our library and we also passed them out at the Walt Self Senior Center. We passed out free trees in December, which were donated by a volunteer of the library and cut down by a local librarian. We give people a friendly place to come together regardless of age.
Over 2,362 people attended storytimes in 2017. There are five components to early literacy in libraries, and our storytimes contain each component (play, sing, read, talk, and write). We have storytime every Tuesday and Wednesday unless we are closed. We have four trained storytime professionals on staff. We recognize that learning to read begins at birth, it’s a lifelong skill, and that parents are a child’s first and most valuable teacher. Our storytimes also contain music, movement, interaction, a word in Spanish, and usually a word in sign language.
But what about our new building? It is coming, and the plans are that it will be approximately 6,500 square feet. We’ve had surveys, open houses, and invited comments. Our board meetings and building committees are posted on our building and our web site, and we welcome involvement. There are many ways to get involved. We have a fun group that is Friends of the Lyons Regional Library. We have volunteer opportunities. We have an amazing Foundation that is raising capital funds for the new building. We could not have gotten through 2017 without our hard working and dedicated Library Board of Trustees, as well as our Town Board Liaison Dan Greenberg. Then there is our dedicated staff who are always so friendly and professional. Finally, our patrons are so wonderful and fascinating, and we are so grateful to everyone to have the chance to serve.
Information on the new building and meeting minutes are posted on our website at www.lyonsregionallibrary.org or come in to our library and we’ll share what we know!