Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It is in the figures!

Hard times influence the library, and the results are in the statistics. 2009-2010 reflects further substantial growth, better even than that experienced in 2007-2008, which was a very good year. Total circulation, numbers of new patrons requesting library cards, and Internet use all show increases when compared to March of 2008. For example, adult computer use grew by 85%, while inter library loans to other libraries grew by 54%. The most recent report from the Connecticut State Library enumerated inters library loans from Otis Library to 73 libraries statewide between March 1 2008 and February 28 2009. To these 73 institutions we loaned 19,208 items versus 15,536 for the comparable period in 2007-2008. These are impressive figures, and validate the centrality of the library to our community.

The paradox here is that while we are needed even more when fiscal distress leads to straitened personal circumstances, we, like other departments in Norwich, will have fewer resources to work with. The forthcoming fiscal year, 2009-2010, and likely the one following that will feature diminished funding for many types of municipal functions. The figures are there in the City Manager's proposed budget, which can be viewed on the Norwich city home page. These are the results of an agonizing process, reflective of the severity of the problem. Taking a longer view, conditions will improve, and we will approach the future determined to provide exemplary service to the citizens of Norwich. That is what our constituents deserve regardless of circumstances.

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