Archive for Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Library circulation figures on the rise

December 31, 2003

Whether it was best sellers like "The Da Vinci Code" or "Mystic River" or perhaps classics such as "The Great Gatsby," books from the Basehor Community Library flew off the shelves at a record-setting pace in 2003.

Library director Carla Kaiser said circulation numbers took quantum leaps in 2003 compared to 2002.

"It's been our busiest year by far," Kaiser said.

Readers checked out 58,686 items from the library in 2003, an increase of 7,408 items over 2002's total of 51,278. Items such as print and audio books, magazines and videos comprise the circulation.

The 2003 circulation total is the largest the library has seen in its 18-year history.

Librarians also monitored reader visits made to the library in 2003, as well as its circulation numbers. The reader visits figures also increased in 2003, Kaiser said.

In 2003, area readers made 30,596 visits to the library compared against 30,056 last year.

Kaiser said the 2003 reader visit figures should be even higher. Attendance of library sponsored programs, most of which are hosted in other facilities because of a lack of space at the library, are not counted among the 2003 numbers.

However, it wasn't just paper and bound leather attracting readers to the library in 2003.

Kaiser said library patrons used six computers 6,200 times during the year. Before 2003, the library did not record computer usage. However, Kaiser said the total is also an increase over previous years.

The 2003 figures shed light on a problem library officials hope to correct in coming months. With an increase in material and readership, the current library, a 3,500-square-foot facility located in downtown Basehor since its inception in 1986, is overcrowded.

An overflow of books and other materials are stored in a back room, there is no space available for more computers, seating is limited and bookshelves containing adult fiction and non-fiction titles are packed to the limits.

"The shelves are pretty much full from one section to the other," said Kaiser, "and there is nowhere to put another computer where an outlet is close by. We're maxed out on that."

For the last year, library officials have worked toward a plan that would secure funding for a new facility. Voters would have to approve funding for the new facility, a price tag not yet designated, during a bond issue vote.

The most likely election date for the bond issue is April, library officials said.

The Basehor Library Board of Trustees has hired the Lawrence-based architecture firm of Glen, Livingood, Penzler and Miller Architects Inc. to design its proposed new facility.

Library officials and the architecture firm hope to have a design for the new facility in place by February.

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