October 30, 2014

Omer library sees drastic increase in item circulation

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

OMER — The Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library saw the biggest increase in circulation numbers in 2011 of all the libraries in the Arenac-Iosco District.

According to Stephanie Olson, district director, the Omer library circulated 4,415 items during 2011, 1,461 more items than in 2010. Olson said that increase does not include downloadable e-books, which are counted for the entire district.

“I’m really excited about the circulation increase,” Olson said. “It’s quite a substantial increase for them.”

Olson attributes the increase to two major factors: the library’s new building, which opened in February of 2011, and expanded hours, which began in March.

Omer librarian Charmaine Ploof said the Omer library extended its evening hours on Wednesday and Thursday by two hours, until 8 p.m., and is now open on Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The additional eight hours a week has drawn people in,” Ploof said. “It’s beneficial to the community and surrounding area.”

After March, Olson said the district would be able to use numbers from its full year of extended hours as a baseline to measure future growth for the library.

Ploof said the library is in a good position now, with the city and the broader library district looking out for its needs.

Ploof said the new adult books, particularly fiction, were the highest circulating items, with 1,693 checkouts in 2011. This was followed by the older adult fiction and nonfiction collections at 621 and 486 checkouts, respectively. Inter-library loans from other parts of the district accounted for 334 items.

Ploof said children’s book checkouts have picked up since the library moved into its new building, as well.

An additional 336 items were borrowed by the library from other libraries outside of the Iosco-Arenac district through programs such as the Online Computer Library Center and the Michigan E-Library Catalog, or MeLCat.

Ploof said computer use has been good at the library, which saw 1,006 computer sessions on its four public-access stations.

The Omer library’s circulation increase is by far the largest in the county. Olson said the AuGres Community Library circulated 300 more items in 2011, while Standish circulated 700 more.

Olson said the AuGres and Standish libraries have higher baseline circulation levels owing to a variety of factors, such as being located in communities with larger populations of adult and children, and having established, longer hours.

Because of these different circumstances, she said it was not fair to compare the libraries; instead, she stressed that Omer still had the largest circulation increase.

While circulation does not have a direct impact on funding, city officials have already been discussing ways to improve the library with grant applications, with Mayor Alice Sproule bringing up the idea of improving the reading room, or buying additional computers for children.

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