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Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 17:25

Oscar Grady collection proves popular with patrons from throughout system

A year-end report shows Saukville’s Oscar Grady Library is a hit well beyond the village borders.

Library Director Jen Gerber presented a summary of usage at the last Village Board meeting that confirms that the library remains popular with patrons.

“It shows the community uses the library for much more than books,” Gerber said.

“I like to show these numbers to people who say there is no need for libraries anymore.”

If the analysis went no further than the number of items borrowed by patrons, it might have been slightly discouraging.

The report showed a .7% decline in local circulation, down from 75,673 items in 2014 to 75,128 items last year.

However, virtually every other measurement showed growing activity at the library.

The number of e-books borrowed through the online Overdrive system jumped 6.4% — to 4,689 books.

Gerber said patron interest in e-magazines via access to Zinio software was low, so that costly program has been discontinued.

In contrast, use of the library’s website grew by more than 10% last year.

Where the library’s connection with the community was strongest was through its growing calendar of activities.

The staff reported an 84% increase in the number of residents taking part in teen and adult programs.

Participation in the already strong children’s programs grew by 8%, involving nearly 4,200 youngsters last year.

The introduction of the digital media library last June has also been well received. The lab, which allows patrons to make digital copies of heirloom photos and videos, had 157 users.

Gerber said the lab is reserved for an entire day, so there were few days when it was not used during its first six months of availability.

A running counter at the library entrance logged more than 59,000 visits to the library last year, which Gerber said is an all-time record and impressive considering the population is about 4,000.

“Given the size of the community, a 1.2% increase in the number of people through our doors is impressive,” she said.

The online EasiCat system offered through the Eastern Shores Library System shows the library’s collection is popular with patrons beyond the community, as well.

The system allows patrons to borrow materials from other libraries and have them delivered locally.

The Saukville library loaned 19,461 items to ESLS patrons, compared to the 13,868 items requested by Saukville residents.

That 5,593 net gain in items loaned is the largest in Ozaukee County, second only to the Mead Library in Sheboygan in the entire two-county library system.

“This demonstrates that we have a strong collection and are doing a good job of buying materials that people want,” Gerber said.

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