Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Library use up at county's libraries

Walk through any branch of the Fauquier County Public Library these days and you’ll likely find a line at the checkout desk and every computer occupied. Library officials report that over the last six months the library is the busiest it’s been in five years.

Since December 2011, nearly 130,000 people visited a public library in the county, a 9 percent increase over the same time period a year ago. New card registrations have skyrocketed; the library issued on average 276 cards a month, 15 percent more than 2011 figures. At the same time there was a 7 percent uptick in books and other materials borrowed.

“It’s exciting to see people of all ages using the library. They are browsing the stacks, reading the magazines and newspapers, or enthralled in story time programs,” says Library Director Maria Del Rosso. “The other day, I saw a young boy practicing shadow puppets with the aid of book he had just checked out. It was delightful.”

The increase in library use supports the results of a customer service survey conducted in March this year. The library received a nearly perfect score when 839 out of 841 library users responded “yes” to the question, “Would you recommend the library to a friend?” More than 65 percent of survey respondents indicated that they visit the library at least “once a month” with many answering “every week.”

‘The library board and staff were thrilled with the responses” said Del Rosso. “It was a confirmation that the community values the library and the services it provides. High marks for customer service also pleased staff who work hard to make the library a welcoming place to all who visit.”

Although the use of e-books and other electronic media seem to dominate any conversation about reading these days, Fauquier patrons still depend on the library for traditional services, according to survey responses. When asked why they use the library, the most popular response was “I borrow books” seconded by “I like to read.” Other popular responses were “I bring my children here” and “Books are too expensive to buy.”

Several people took time to comment further. The following is a sample:

“As far as I am concerned, the library is the best resource Fauquier County has to offer.”

“One of the best libraries I have ever been to. The customer service is splendid. The staff are nice and open. They are always willing to help.”

“Best value I get for my county taxes.”

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