Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rockford Public Library Circulates 0.05 Ebooks per Capita in 1st Half of 2011

It's curious that the RPL Facts & Figures page offers no circulation numbers. And 14,802 cardholders out of a population of 150,115?  Yikes!

Rockford Public Library expanding e-book role as demand rises. (Rockford Register-Star, 7/8/2011)

Excerpt: A stark image of a gravestone flashed on the screen as Frank Novak gave trustees and staff a presentation on the Rockford Public Library’s future last month.

The popularity of Kindle, Nook and other e-readers is growing, the library director said, and the city’s municipal library system will die if it doesn’t move quickly to accommodate patrons’ increasing desire for electronic books.

Electronic material circulation has surged since the library began offering e-books four years ago, going from 759 in 2007 to 7,544 through June this year. Industry giant announced in May that since April 1, it had sold 105 e-books for every 100 hardcover and paperback books.

Novak believes the library must adapt to meet patrons’ growing demand for e-books.

“We have two options,” he said during his presentation. “One is do nothing and perish. ... (The other is) to modify the way we do business. Honestly, if we are not relevant to the community, then the community is not obligated to fund us.”

Other area library leaders are facing the same challenge. The Cherry Valley Public Library District has already surpassed its 2010 e-book circulation this year with 166 checkouts last year compared with 252 this year.

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