More people are using the Library than ever before

I’d like to debunk three common myths about libraries in this blog post.

Myth number one: No one uses the library any more.

Last Fiscal Year (2013-2014), more than one million people (1,107,074*) walked through Boone County Public LibraryOne million visitors’s doors. In Fiscal Year 2009-2010, 888,672** people walked through those very same doors. The Library’s door count has increased by 24% in the last five years. Visits to the library have been on an upward trend ever since it first opened its doors forty years ago.

More people are using the Library than ever before, they are just using it differently. Forty years ago on October 14, 1974, one hundred eighty people visited the new library to check out books. That’s it – they checked out books. There wasn’t anything else to do in the Library. Today, Boone County Public Library’s six locations are chock full of technology, from printers and copiers, to computers and Discover TechnologyWi-Fi access. Laptops can be checked out for use while in the building and iPads, e-readers, software and video games can be borrowed for use at home. These technology items were checked out 27,397 times the last fiscal year and the Library’s computers and Wi-Fi were used 220,243* times. More people are turning to the Library to learn how to use technology. Last year, Library staff members spent 467 hours helping people figure out how to use their e-readers and tablets. 2,507* people attended computer classes on everything from using a mouse and setting up an email account to creating a resume in Word and a budget in Excel.

Myth number one debunked – MORE people ARE using the library than ever before.

 Myth number two: Libraries aren’t relevant today.

More than a million people (1,053,475*) visited the Library’Explore collections website last year to download books and music, stream videos, access the library’s research tools, reserve materials and more. Back in 1974, the Library didn’t even have a website…no one did!

The use of digital music and streaming videos is growing at a rapid rate. In order to accommodate this trend, the Library now uses some of its music and video budget to purchase subscriptions for these services. Last year, cardholders downloaded 52,541* songs through Freegal and streamed 4,658 Indie films, documentaries and nonfiction films through IndieFlix and Access Video.

The library subscribes to 61 different research tools (or databases) such as Chilton Auto Repair, Consumer Reports and Ancestry Plus. These research tools were searched 411,786 times last year by people writing papers and business plans, researching family trees, taking practice tests, repairing cars and engines, seeking financial information, learning new languages and so much more.

Why use the Library’s research tools when you can google? Most of the data retrieved from Google hasn’t been evaluated. It could be inaccurate, biased, or it might not be current. Articles found in the Library’s research tools have already been evaluated for accuracy and credibility by discipline-specific experts and publishers. The Library’s research tools contain copyrighted, licensed, and proprietary information.

Myth number two debunked – Boone County Public Library is just as relevant today as it was forty years ago. The Library continues to provide up-to-date accurate sources of information to the community and offers materials such as books, movies and music in the popular formats of today. Most importantly – these items are in high demand! More than one million items (1,658,516) were checked out from the Library during the last fiscal year.

Myth number three: Libraries are dying.

More people are using the Library as a community center. For many, the Library is a place to study and do homework, find a comfy chair and read a book or browse a magazine. ExperienceFor others it’s a place to meet friends, play cards, take a class, or attend a concert. Last year 96,607* people attended DIY workshops, classes, concerts, special events and fairs at the Library. Five years ago, in FY 2009-2010, 65,505 people attended events at the Library – that’s a 47% increase! Local businesses, government agencies, clubs, and organizations use the Library for meeting space. Last year 824* groups and organizations used the Library’s 18 meeting/study rooms to hold 2,128* trainings and meetings – that’s an average of 40 meetings a week!  (Tip: Reserve your room early if you plan to hold a meeting at the Library.)

Myth number three debunked: Boone County Public Library isn’t dying – it’s growing and thriving!

What does this growing, thriving Library cost you? You pay 5.2 cents for every one hundred dollars of your property’s value, in taxes to the library. For example, the taxes you would pay for an $182,300 home (the average value of a home in Boone County***) would be $94.80 per year.  That’s just $7.90 a month and covers everyone who lives in your home. Use our Value Calculator to figure out how much you pay and the value of the Library services you use.

Boone County Public Library is alive and well! Look at the numbers – your friends and neighbors are making good use of the Library, shouldn’t you? Not interested in books? No problem! The Library has so much more to offer you!

–Becky

Becky Kempf has been the Public Relations Coordinator at Boone County Public Library for the past eleven years. A graduate of Wright State University, she previously worked for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and the Association for the Advancement of Arts Education.

*Source: 2014 Report to Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives

**Source: 2010 Report to Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives

***Source: 2010 Boone County Comprehensive Plan: Planning for the Year 2035

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Play is the highest form of research.” — Albert Einstein

PLAY is children’s work in which they are preparing themselvePlay ones for adult roles and for society at large. For a child, play is the vehicle for exploring and learning, developing new skills, and connecting with others. Through PLAY children practice talking, singing, writing, reading and developing key skills that serve as a foundation for school readiness.

“While often dismissed as ‘just fun’, play is the vital activity that children use to learn about and interact with their world, and gain the mental, physical and social skills necessary to succeed in their adult lives.” (NAEYC)

When children play they engage in conversation, practicing the skills of listening and trying out new words. Play helps a child develop social skills which are important for school success like taking turns and using eye contact, body language and gestures.

Play threeBoone County Public Library strives to provide a developmentally appropriate environment that stimulates children’s natural curiosity and creativity. Some of the ways we do this are:

  • Discovery Stations: hands-on activities that are available  at every location.
  • Library Materials: books, music and much more are available for check-out.  
  • Theme Kits: Ten related theme books, a CD, manipulatives, craft ideas, fingerplays, and songs, all in one kit, available for check-out.
  • Family Activity Centers:  outfitted with toys and manipulatives especially selected to aid in the development of early literacy skills at the Main Library and Scheben Branch.
  • Storytimes: designed to support school readiness through play-based learning activities. BCPL has adopted the initiative, Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition @ Your Library which promotes five practices for families to engage in everyday: talking, reading, writing, singing and most importantly PLAY.

Playtime at home is the perfect opportunity to allow children to explore their natural curiosity and creativity. When children play, they increase their physical and creative development.  Play contributes to children’s fine and gross motor development and body awareness as they actively use their bodies. Young children develop their creativity by using their imaginations in play. They experiment with problem-solving skills as they learn about different roles in their homes and communities by pretending they are moms, dads, teachers, puppies, etc.

Play twoChildren often enjoy playing with items found around the home. Pots and pans become a drum set; boxes become a racecar or a spaceship; hair brushes become  microphones. The possibilities are endless. Help your child find objects around your home that can transform into something else. Start a collection of lids, boxes, containers and more. Encourage your child to play.

Check out this link found in Teaching Young Children magazine for helpful tips on how play at home. http://www.letsplay.com/

–Jennifer and Tyra

Jennifer Timmerman, a graduate of the Univ. of North Carolina, has worked in both school and public libraries in Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky and shares her love of learning and literature daily as the YS Manager at the Scheben Branch in Union.

Tyra LaVerne, Early Literacy Specialist, has been with BCPL for two years. Tyra taught preschool in California for 10 years prior to moving to Kentucky with her family.