Barry-Lawrence library reports significant annual activity

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

While overall circulation dips, side areas show growth

With the end of fiscal year for the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, Director Gina Milburn reported activity remained strong for the bi-county service, though some shifts occurred in how patrons used the library.

Overall, the library circulated 410,606 items to patrons for the year ending on June 30. That represented a drop from the previous year, though it's unclear how much, Milburn said, because the company tallying statistics at the time duplicated possibly 10,000 records, leaving a grand total for the previous year of 449,496.

Other materials made up a major portion of the potential 7 percent variance, Milburn said.

E-material, which includes electronic books, e-audio, e-magazines and streaming video, increased for the year. A total of 20,750 e-materials were checked out.

"E-magazines were added this past year and that along with the purchase of new e-book and e-audio book titles for our customers has really helped to increase usage," Milburn said.

Four branches in the Barry-Lawrence system made up 72 percent of the total circulation. Those branches, in the order of their activity, include Mt. Vernon at the top, Monett, Cassville and Aurora.

Those four branches, with the addition of Marionville, also played a prominent role in presenting popular programs to the public. The library system had 2,361 programs offered during the year, 654 more than the previous year, which 61,274 people attended, more than double a year earlier.

The five branches offered 76 percent of the system's total programs.

Overall computer and wireless internet use decreased slightly to 58,489, down by 1,888 uses. Nonetheless, Milburn noted the public computers are always full, especially at bigger branches.

The library has 209,874 total items, and the average turnover rate per item is 2.03 times. The highest circulating category is DVDs, which typically see 5.91 customers per item.

"The types of material that customers use and checkout has changed dramatically over the last 20 years," Milburn said. "Non-fiction used to represent a large portion of the overall circulation, but with the advent of Google, searching non-fiction circulation has dropped. Entertainment material is now the most popular."

An overall breakdown shows DVDs represent 26 percent of circulation; fiction at 24 percent; easy books, such as picture books for children, 12 percent; youth fiction at 9 percent; adult non-fiction at 8 percent, e-material at 5 percent; audio books at 4 percent; large print books at 4 percent; youth non-fiction at 4 percent; and uncatalogued items at 4 percent.

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