The library increased the number of items checked out to patrons in 2012 compared with 2011 – the sixth consecutive year that has happened since the library moved into its new building, library officials said earlier this month.
In her annual report to the Grand County Council, Library Director Carrie Valdes said statistics show a total of 169,515 checkouts last year, up from 155,935 the previous year.
The number of computer use sessions also increased, although the attendance at library-sponsored programs was down from its high in 2010, according to Valdes’ report. Valdes said that decline was due to a special 14-week children’s summer reading program in 2010 that boosted participation numbers significantly.
She said 73 percent of the county’s 9,300 residents have used a library card in the past two years. Library meeting rooms were used for events 1,032 times last year, Valdes said.
Volunteers are an important part of the library’s success, she noted. Community members donated about 1,500 hours to the library during 2012, according to the annual community report.
“Our volunteers are an amazing group of people,” Valdes said. “Some of them have been there longer than I have.”
She added that a “vibrant” group, Friends of the Library, also plays a key role. The group raises money through book sales to provide needed items for the library, including three new benches that were recently installed outside the facility.
Valdes also offered praise for the library’s seven full-time and 10 part-time employees.
“In the years I’ve been at the library, this is the best staff I’ve ever worked with,” Valdes said.
She told the council that the average Grand County homeowner pays $45 per year in property taxes to support the library. The library provided $4.5 million worth of services to the community in 2012, according to the annual report, which amounts to a return of more than $8 for every $1 in library property tax.
Library services include the free use of 61 computers and a children’s department that offered 276 programs to more than 5,000 participants last year. Private donations to the children’s department totaled $1,600 in 2012, according to Valdes’ report.