Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Benefits of a new library realised

In my posts of 16 and 22 September last year I talked about and shared some photos about the new Strathalbyn library.  The library has now been open for just over 6 months & the impact of the new facility is now being quantified. 

There is considerable anecdotal evidence that a new public library will lead to an increase in activity, loans & visits etc. This is usually anticipated to be between 20 - 30%.   While some of this may be a bit of curiosity, there is generally a longer term ongoing increase in library usage for any new library.

Jill has sent in an article that appeared in the Mt Barker Courier paper on 4 April & the usage statistics point to a really positive community response to this great new library - well above that 20 - 30% mark.  This shows that there was obviously a pent up demand in the community that the new facility is meeting, and that because the new building is so pleasant that this demand is so high. 

The Stats that were reported in the paper include:
  • Loans (general) up 43%
  • Loans (Children's) up 300%!!!
  • Membership up 12% - which is really impressive.  These are new users who intend to come back!
  • Computer use up 43%
There is a lesson here for all of us.  A new, modern library that meets the needs of the community is not just a "nice to have" community facility - some may even say a luxury.  Rather, it is a necessity if community members are going to maximise their learning and literacy - which can only be a good thing.  So when we're deep into the slog in persuading funders that a new library is needed we can all be reminded that this is not just about a beautiful building, but it is about the literacy and learning levels of our community; it is about the right to access the best possible learning and community interaction opportunities; it is about the future wellbeing of our communities.

As I said in my earlier posts - congratulations to all at the Alexandrina Council for investing in the long term wellbeing of their communities by opening this new library. The community has shown its approval in their overwhelming increased attendance and use of this new facility.

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