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Reduced Hours Prompts Likely Outcome for Woodbury Library

The R.H. Stafford Branch has seen fewer customers and fewer titles checked out since the elimination of Sunday and Monday service.

Reduced Hours Prompts Likely Outcome for Woodbury Library

“This has been a very unpopular cut.”

Those were the words of Chad Lubbers, manager of the , talking about the Woodbury branch .

“It’s definitely been an inconvenience,” Councilwoman Amy Scoggins said.

Lubbers gave the Woodbury City Council an update of the latest happenings at the library during Wednesday night’s meeting.

The 24 percent reduction in hours was reflected in a 13 percent decrease in circulation and 15 percent fewer people coming in through the first quarter of 2012, Lubbers said.

The hope, however, is that Washington County can restore Sunday and Monday hours next year, Lubbers said, and now is the time to give the library system ideas.

“The clay is still wet here,” he said.

Lubbers also he also feels bad about about the reduced hours' impact on other organizations in the shared facility.

But it wasn’t all bad news Wednesday night.

The library in 2011 had success through its partnership with SCORE, a program that links people with business consultants, and the library’s remote jobs database, Lubbers said.

The Woodbury library also saw a big increase in books checked out on electronic platforms, and hundreds of new library cards have been issued, which Lubbers attributed to people looking specifically for e-titles.

Library usage tends to rise as the economy falls, Lubbers said, and the Woodbury library saw its numbers peak in 2009.

In 2009, there were more than 453,000 visitors at the library; in 2010 it was about 427,000, with 416,000 customers coming through the doors in 2011.

In terms of circulation, 920,000 items were checked out in 2009; that fell to about 909,000 in 2010 and 906,000 in 2011.

Room reservations, however, did jump from 2010 to last year: 838 to 1,178. In 2009 that number was 1,034.

Lubbers also highlighted the value of volunteers at the R.H. Stafford Library. At $21.79 an hour, those volunteers gave the library more than $79,000 of value in 2011, he said. “A pretty amazing amount,” Lubbers said.

And for those who utilize Nooks or Kindles, Lubbers gave the council one piece of “big news.” Harry Potter titles are now available on e-readers.

“Mr. Potter is now available online,” he said.

For more information about the R.H. Stafford Branch Library, visit its website.


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