Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ongoing matters

It has been an extraordinarily busy time for the library. The year ending June 30 was, statistically, one of the best since we started compiling information on circulation, Internet and numbers of patrons.

At the end of June fiscal year circulation figures attain record levels, with approximately 159,000 items circulated, versus 148,342 for 2007-2008. For the month of June, both incoming and outgoing inter library loan totals continued to show steady growth. Outgoing loans rose by 55% vs. June of 2008, while incoming loans increased by 26%. While complete Internet use figures for 2007-2008 are not available due to early software configuration problems, a comparison of those months available reflect an approximately 35% increase during 2008-2009 even with the absence of the foreign students employed seasonally at the casinos. Despite the hard times and fiscal uncertainties, the library's annual appeal and signature "Evening with an Author" fund raising event were enormously successful and combined for a total of over $80,000 in support. Also, despite a shaky economy the library finished the year with a balanced operating budget.

The month of July witnessed a new fiscal year and unfortunately, a reduction in the funding designated for the library's operation. The city of Norwich, like the state in general is suffering through a difficult financial time, so every organization affiliated with municipal government is affected. One of the unfortunate ramifications is a staff furlough and library closing between August 17 and September 1. I hope that this is the first and only time the library finds itself in such a position. The statistics reflect the need for the services provided by the library, and not being available to the public is deeply frustrating.