A quarter of a million doesn’t sound like much in the national debt (!) but it sounds like a lot when you’re talking stuff that people borrowed from your local library system! The end of December brings us once again to the end of our statistical year, and we were greeted with the circulation total of 230,088 items. This includes a huge variety of what today’s library users expect: books, magazines, paperbacks, newspapers, of course; DVDs, videotapes, music CDs, and talking books; and other items like the use of meeting rooms, equipment loans, and of course, all those folks who use our Internet access, whether on our desktop machines or through our wireless access for their own laptops. It doesn’t count all those people who come in to use our fax machines for sending off their payroll sheets, or FEMA claims, or insurance items; it doesn’t count the copies of all the legal forms we make for people who come in for divorce papers, bill of sale contracts, or other matters; it doesn’t count the numbers of photocopies made. Those are all reflected in our walk-in traffic, though, and that number is just as impressive. Our three library sites had a total of 154,493 folks strolling through the doors for one reason or another, with our West Chambers Branch increasing their walk-in business hugely this past year.
In December, of course, we have a lot of programming events due to the school closings, and the need to insure that everyone gets to see Jolly St. Nick. Special programs were held for the pre-schoolers, for the after-schoolers, and for all ages with extra movie programs. Somehow, we also managed to stage two book sales with the help of the Friends of the Library System, one at Anahuac, and another at Mont Belvieu (Winnie’s will finish off this round in January). And after all this decorating, partying, and keeping up with our regular business, the staff took a well-deserved holiday break. We look forward to the new year with relief!