By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
The past five years have been a time of growth for the Corbin Public Library.
And with several new and expanded services and programs now available, the library’s next five years — and beyond — could be just as fulfilling.
Figures released by the library earlier this week show that despite the use of more non-book products such as DVD’s, video and computer use, total book circulation almost doubled from January 2010 to January of this year.
And Diane Mitchell chose to let people know about the growth during this month of February — “Love My Library” Month.
“In researching that data, it looks to me like our circulation has gone up since we opened the new building in November 2010. We kind of reached a peak two years ago, but we went up last year, 2013,” said Mitchell, the President of the library’s Board of Trustees, during a phone interview Tuesday.
Library records showed a total of 2,141 books were circulated in January 2010. A year later, and in their current location at 215 Roy Kidd Avenue, total book circulation was up to 2,645 in January 2011.
They reached the 3,000 mark in January 2012, when the total book circulation was at 3,228. By the time January 2013 rolled around, there was a slight increase at 3,240.
But that all changed with a big upward tick last month.
For January 2014, the Corbin library’s total book circulation was at 4,087 — almost double the figure from five years earlier.
The library’s Director, Brenda Huff, noted there were several increases from a year ago.
* Overall circulation is up 15 percent for the current fiscal year, from July through January.
* Circulation was up 27 percent during the past three months from November 2013 to January 2014.
*Two areas of circulation increase were adult fiction books, up 27 percent, and juvenile fiction books, up 23 percent.
* The door count at the library from last July to last month was up 10 percent.
* And, while the Internet usage was smaller, it was still a small increase.
Huff mentioned in her report that last month’s circulation was healthy for print items, which was good considering the weather.
As for the total non-book circulation during that five-year period — which involves magazines and newspapers, audio books, DVD’s, videos, computer use, as well as Overdrive videos, e-books, audio and music — those figures went up for three years, before sliding the fourth year.
In January 2010, total non-book circulation at the Corbin library was at 2,843. It increased in January 2011 to 3,049, and peaked at 4,678 in January 2012. By the time January 2013 came around, the total non-book circulation had fallen to 3,081.
Although figures were listed on the record, the total non-book circulation figure for January 2014 had not been released as of press time.
She added that digital usage at the library dropped in January, which was contrary to expectations and considering the December holiday.
One thing that has been noticed recently are people coming to the Corbin library who were formerly users of the Corbin branch of the Laurel County Public Library.
That branch, along with the East Bernstadt branch, closed in December.
Laurel library officials said the closing was expected to save about $250,000 a year, with the savings being used to improve the main library’s facilities in London. That would also include an expansion of the main building, when plans are finalized.
Casandra Estep noticed the increase.
She works as a Circulation Desk Clerk at the Corbin library.
“It did help us a lot. We’ve had a bunch of new patrons come over here when it was announced that Laurel County’s Corbin branch was closing. People started coming over here. Several people who came here from Laurel County didn’t know we existed at this new location. And others who have accounts with us and Laurel County are here full time. They’re very happy with us. One big hit here has been our children’s programs. It gives them something for the kids to do, and it’s free,” Estep said while helping to check out a mother and daughter’s books at the front desk Thursday.
Mitchell stated the library has other programs available, such as movie nights, as well as programs for all age groups from children to seniors.
Some of the new programs can be done with a click of a mouse.
“We’ve added a new downloadable programs to help people do things, like the Chilton Car Repair Manual, as well as job search programs, and several programs where they can learn foreign languages. They can go to the website and download those programs at home and use them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Friends of Corbin Library has helped us a lot, and this month is their membership drive for the year. They raise funds to enhance what the library can do whatever we can’t pay for, such as the Mark Twain dinner, when we had Daniel Boone, the violinist, and other programs and services that’s not in our budget.”
On major step recently began when the Corbin Public Library started the digitization of volumes of microfilm they have from years past.
In her report, Huff noted that Megan Hensley of the library staff has agreed to take on the scanning of the microfilm. She added the requirements for acquiring successful machine-readable content are still a work in progress.
There’s also upgrades being made in print and online. Several new chapter book series for children have been added to the collection, and numerous items were added to the Overdrive and Our Advantage collections. Huff pointed out that the assessment of the library’s computers has been completed, with an evaluation of the computers that can be upgraded now in progress.
In addition, the library’s website is being updated.
Along with the upgrades and programs, the main element of the library’s increase in patrons — the human element — is noticed by those who use the facility on a regular basis.
“I like the convenience at the reception I get from the employees. They’re a great group to work with. I’ve been able to find everything I need here, and the staff pretty well stays on top of things,” said Phyllis Floyd of Corbin while researching a story on the computer.
Across the main room, Agnes Wells of Corbin was reading a book, and had several books and DVDs on the table that she’d check out later.
“I’m a big reader of books. I like the books and DVDs that they sell. And when you have too many books on your shelves at home, you can bring them here. I like the movie night here as well, which is free. And the staff? They’re very helpful in every way. I had a flash drive and I didn’’t know what to do with it. The staff showed me how to use it, and they didn’t treat me like a dummy. If I need help with something, the staff will be glad to help,” mentioned Wells, a native of Fort Worth, Texas.
Said Mitchell, “I think we’ve done very well. I’m proud of our library. We welcome suggestions and ideas that anyone in the community have for improvements in our library.”
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