Saturday, April 16, 2011

Waupaca Area Public Library @ the Heart of Its Community

Waupaca library offers more than books. (Waupaca County Post, 4/13/2011)

Excerpt: On a typical day, a visitor to the Waupaca Area Public Library will see people of all ages there – and for many different reasons.

Some adults visit daily to read newspapers. Others go to the library to use the public-access Internet computers.

Teens drop in after school and walk downstairs to go to the Best Cellar, a space designed specifically for them. Families with young children also go to the library’s lower level to visit the children’s department or to participate in story time.

This week is National Library Week, and libraries throughout the nation are celebrating in special ways.

Waupaca’s library is once again holding Food for Fines Week and is also offering free replacement library cards to those who bring donations for the Waupaca Area Food Pantry.

"We have a very supportive community," said library director Peg Burington.

Library board President Mary Trice recently presented the library’s 2010 annual report to the Waupaca Common Council.

She told the council that while circulation declined slightly in 2010 – from an all-time high of 305,499 in 2009 to 302,461 in 2010 – reference questions reached an all-time high last year.

The number of reference questions in 2010 was 21,567, which compares to 20,798 in 2009.

Burington suspects the number of reference questions was up because more people need information, whether it is a question about how to do a job search or about Social Security.

"We are tracking questions in all departments," she said.

Library users made 178,097 visits to the library in 2010.

And with the library open a total of 2,900 hours per year, that translates into 61 visits per hour.

The library’s circulation totaled 302,461 items in 2010. Of that number, 53 percent were books, 38 percent were movies, and 10 percent were music and audio books, Trice said.

Burington said the library’s circulation number has been stable, holding around 300,000 annually.

"We would have to have another ‘something’ happen to get another jump," she said.

In 2006, the library’s teen space was remodeled to create a larger space, and that same year, the Outagamie Waupaca Library System introduced its new online catalog, Infosoup.

And, while library circulation has increased 14 percent during the last five years, the number of paid library staff has stayed the same.

These days, Burington and other library directors are concerned about Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal that includes the removal of the maintenance of effort requirement for municipalities

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