The opening of new library buildings in communities all over Franklin County is expected to increase library patronage by large percentages.
This news was presented to the Franklin County Commission Tuesday by Scenic Regional Library District Director Steve Campbell.
“We hope to open the New Haven branch by the end of April 2018,” he told commissioners. “New Sullivan, Pacific and St. Clair branches should be done by August next year. Sullivan will grow rapidly and will soon compete with Union and Warrenton.”
Campbell added that a new Union library and district headquarters slated to be built on ground near Pasta House on Highway 47, will be done by the end of 2018 as well.
Earlier this year, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for new libraries in New Haven, Owensville, Pacific, Sullivan and Wright City.
“The Wright City location is 7,800 square feet,” Campbell said. “As soon as it opens it will be too small.”
Existing locations in St. Clair and Warrenton will get significant expansions.
During the 2016-17 fiscal year, libraries in the system saw a 6 percent rise in print circulation (478,509) and a 32 percent increase in electronic circulation (121,340).
“Most of what we do is still books,” Campbell said. “Eighty percent of our total circulation is books and only 20 percent in electronic.”
The branches were visited by 352,452 patrons and the Scenic Regional Library website received 596,176 visits as well.
Overall, the Union branch (120,314) and Warrenton (91,953) branches had the most items checked out and many of the others were in the mid-40,000s.
Campbell did note the district’s bookmobile loaned out 28,918 items, which was more than the New Haven branch (18,093) and just slightly behind Hermann (29,074).
The bookmobile visited 15 communities and 14 preschools in the summer months and 45 schools and preschools during the school year.
The library system saw active users rise more than 11,600 from 58,855 to 64,702 last year.
Attendance at adult programs nearly doubled from 5,689 to 10,367 and the summer reading program had 2,811 attendees across the region.
Expenditures for the 2016-17 fiscal year were $4,434,742 and revenues were $5,221,005.
Campbell explained every $1 of revenue equals $44.23 in library services, meaning if a patron had to pay for the item or service, it would cost 44 percent more. He estimates the total value of library services provided last year at $22,105,241.
The highest categories contributing to that value were books borrowed at $7,074,890 and database searches.
Campbell credited the continuity of success in the library district over the past few years with steady board leadership and he thanked the commission for reappointing board members each year.