3/31/14

A HEALTHY LIBRARY by Jon Walker

We take pride at the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) in working to ensure our positive engagement with the community we serve.  We monitor our effectiveness in achieving this in a number of ways.  These include making note and responding to the many, regular anecdotal comments from users and others plus periodic systematic surveys we conduct with local citizens about how the library is doing in meeting needs.  We also study how our services correlate with state, regional and national library standards. Importantly, we watch for trends in the library industry and compare our key results to other libraries similarly situated in other communities. 

Regarding key results, the Library Research Service (www.lrs.org) recently published annual data from 2013 for Colorado libraries.  It is interesting to review this information to see how PCCLD stacks up. 

There are thirteen public library organizations in Colorado serving populations of 100,000 or more.  These are the Arapahoe Library District south of Denver, the Aurora Public Library east of Denver, the Boulder Public Library, the Denver Public Library, Douglas County Libraries on the far southern edge of the Denver metropolitan area, the High Plains Library District in Weld County, the Jefferson County Public Library west of Denver, the Mesa County Public Library on the Western Slope, the Pikes Peak Library District encompassing the Colorado Springs area, the Poudre River Public Library including Fort Collins and the surrounding region, the Rangeview Library District in Adams County, the Westminster Public Library north of Denver, and, of course, our very own PCCLD.

The Library Research Service tracks three of our key results for each of these thirteen libraries.  These are (1) the number of visits annually per capita, (2) the number of items checked out annually per capita, and (3) the number of individuals per 1,000 served attending library programs and events. 


The table below lists each of these libraries and their respective statistics for each of the three key results for 2013 and the previous four years.  The recorded outcomes are well worth considering.

Library
Library Visits per Capita

Circulation per Capita

Program Attendance per 1,000 Served

2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
Arapahoe Library District
8.27
9.02
9.35
10.84
10.62
17.45
18.89
19.39
23.9
24.2
513.77
520.8
492.3
500.8
491.28
Aurora Public Library
2.77
2.62
2.28
2.44
4.01
3.04
2.84
2.33
2.47
3.67
181.63
113.7
30.3
10.64
105.06
Boulder Public Library
8.83



9.87
14.38



13.5
513.98



610.93
Denver Public Library
6.89
6.16
5.76
6.33
6.57
15.46
15.38
14.72
15.5
15.8
551.98
482.6
472.1
331.6
325.42
Douglas County Libraries
6.5
7.02
7.19
7.46
6.86
25.28
27.23
28.36
29
27.9
0
684.5
751.3
770.8
703.64
High Plains Library District
5.79
5.49
6.66
7.35
6.3
11.71
11.4
11.66
11.8
11.4
354.09
248.1
300.7
334.9
357.5
Jefferson County Public Library
4.65
4.8
4.89
5.54
5.3
13.88
13.59
13.52
14
13.1
301.5
276
270.1
257.1
251.28
Mesa County Public Library
4.93
4.92
5.44
4.91
4.75
9.44
9.2
9.5
8.66
7.85
249.81
226
260.4
264.6
251.72
Pikes Peak Library District
6.03
6.24
6.36
6.57
7.02
14.72
15.11
15.12
14.8
15.1
606.1
599.9
505.4
677.5
446.15
Poudre River Public Library
6.25
6.48
6.31
6.25
5.82
17.12
17.81
18.48
18.7
17.2
331.82
323.1
379.8
386.5
387.92
Pueblo City-County Library
7.86
6.65
6.52
6.89
6.07
10.32
11.28
10.71
10.6
9.44
737.47
701
587.9
613.9
483.25
Rangeview Library District
3.68
3.92
4.06
3.32
2.94
6.34
6.56
6.65
5.08
3.5
160
124.2
103.8
116.4
132.97
Westminster Public Library
4.42
4.41
4.38
5.32
5.27
9.54
10.39
11.12
13.2
14
307.74
298
284.6
283.7
287.68
















Average
5.91
5.64
5.77
6.1
6.26
12.98
13.31
13.46
14
13.6
369.99
383.1
369.9
379
371.91

PCCLD ranked third of thirteen libraries in Colorado in visits per capita in 2013.  This represents a noticeable improvement over the five-year period as PCCLD moved up to third from seventh in 2009.  We are pleased that people in our community increasingly love to visit their library.  PCCLD’s position in circulation per capita is not as impressive.  We were tenth of thirteen libraries in 2009, rising to ninth in 2013.  There is clear room for improvement here, and I am confident we have plans in place now to continue do better in this area beginning this year in 2014 and moving forward.  PCCLD’s record on program attendance is magnificent.  We ranked first among the thirteen libraries for this key measure in each of the last two years.   The modern public library certainly plays a vital role in the community in offering cultural and educational programming to the local citizenry.  Without doubt, PCCLD is top-notch in this area of service.

PCCLD seeks to ensure free and open access to information, promote the joy of reading, and encourage literacy.  There is little doubt we are on track to guarantee these are well served in our community.  The key results help show it.  

3/12/14

IMAGINING THE MODERN LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Libraries have the reputation for being changeless institutions. But this is not really the case, at least not now. Our libraries in Pueblo are among many hundreds across the country that are reimagining themselves.
Technology is a driving force behind this. E-books, streaming video, and more have caused libraries to consider how best to further engage with members of the community. The mission of our public libraries is to ensure free and open access to information, lifelong learning, and the joy of reading and the value of literacy. How to best deliver on these principles in an ever-more-digital world is the question libraries are striving to answer.
This notion is pushing today’s public libraries to reconsider how to best meet the needs of their clientele. Many libraries around the nation—including our libraries in Pueblo—are now offering not only books, magazines and newspapers, audiobooks, and films but also are places to use wireless tablets and laptops, 3D printers, and more.
Along with this, libraries are rethinking how they present themselves. This includes more open, comfy seating, technology and space designed to encourage collaboration as well as solitary work, and the opportunity for food and drink. The goal is to create environments to boost people’s ability to learn, work together, and create information.
It is this spirit, for instance, that teen centers have become prevalent in our libraries. These are places encouraging teens to “hang out,” “mess around,” and “geek out” (“homago”), including a newer focus on gaming, digital labs, and software and equipment to record and create.
The evolution toward this modern library actually is not new. It began at least as early as the late twentieth century as the Internet became ubiquitous. In the ‘70s, patrons went to the reference desk, asked a question, which the librarian would help them research and answer using standard tools of the day, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, gazetteers, and so on. Today people turn instead to librarians to help them sift through the overwhelming amount of information they discover on the Internet. Librarians now are more like navigators.
Despite these changes, our libraries will continue to spotlight books and other printed information. Although there are examples of all-digital libraries—such as the one in San Antonio, Texas, that opened to some fanfare last year—print remains vital in most cases. While the digital movement is dramatically (and forever) impacting public libraries, customers still want print, too. In 2012, for example, 28 percent of adults nationally read an e-book, while 69 percent read a print book. According to the Pew Research Center, still only four percent of readers are “e-book only.” Nevertheless, about ninety percent of public libraries in the United States by 2013 were offering e-books for their customers, and a recent survey by the Library Journal shows that circulation of e-books in public libraries nationally continues to increase quickly.
What are we to conclude? The clear answer is that while print remains essential, so now, too, is digital. This means a balance between the two is important. The successful modern public library must represent both. So, we have libraries featuring open areas still with plenty of books and casual seating, but also with high-tech digital services and devices, too.
If we get it right, I am confident the result is a community center of information discovery and exchange. A popular and thriving destination for reading, viewing, listening, creating, and learning.

LOCAL HISTORY AT THE LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Our community enjoys a rich and diverse history.  This is the story of the people and events helping to shape the saga of this region over ...