I recently put the finishing touches on Roseburg Public Library’s annual statistical report to the State Library of Oregon, and it led me to reflect on the library’s work during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Typically I compare the annual report with previous years’ statistics, including those of other libraries. Because 2020-21 was anything but typical, those comparisons will not be as useful; still, the numbers help tell our story.
Library staff delivered service without interruption, although about half of the year was through curbside pickup. More than 1225 vehicles used the service.
Not surprisingly, electronic books and audiobooks continued to circulate well. In fact, there was a 22% increase in e-materials checkouts compared with the previous year. There was nearly a 50-50 split between checkouts of e-books and e-audiobooks.
OverDrive (Libby) remained the more popular platform over cloudLibrary, making up almost 70% of electronic checkouts.
Digital items accounted for more than 30% of the 72,000 total checkouts. Physical books, periodicals, books on CD and DVDs constituted the rest of the circulated items.
Books in physical format remained the most popular type of item, reflected in more than 43,000 checkouts. Nearly 50% of those were children’s items, which we witnessed during drive-up pickup, when we often delivered armloads of books to vehicles.
Although the library’s circulation of physical materials dropped by almost 25% from the previous year, I believe that is a reflection of the pandemic. I have heard from several patrons who enjoy browsing the shelves rather than using the library’s online catalog to place holds on materials.
Circulation of books for adults increased when the building was open, and I have continued to purchase physical materials at previous levels because I know our readers will return.
Library programs dramatically shifted last year to primarily online formats. I was especially pleased with how adults transitioned to Zoom and Facebook Live. The library sponsored 33 programs for adults with an attendance of 695 people, which is almost identical to the previous year’s numbers.
Given this and the positive feedback I have received from patrons, I plan to provide a combination of in-person, online-only and hybrid programs in the future.
Conversely, Youth Services Librarian Aurora Ropp looks forward to re-establishing in-person programs. We are fortunate to have an online option available for preschool storytimes, but those sessions were not as well attended as live events at the library.
All in all, it was a challenging year, yet I cannot help but look at the numbers and be happy for what we accomplished. Most of all, I am grateful to my co-workers for their flexibility and positive attitudes and the public for your patience, good humor and support.