The Washington Public Library saw circulation numbers this past year nearly as high as before its major renovation.

The project was completed in early 2012, and a grand opening was held in April.

Nell Redhage, library director, presented her annual report to the city council Monday night.

Numbers dipped when the library was in its temporary location, at Fourth and Lafayette streets, Redhage noted.

Circulation in 2012 was 159,441, compared to 134,918 in 2011, 171,462 in 2010 and 189,412 in 2009.

Computer usage also was up last year. A total of 27,836 people logged in during 2012, compared to 20,736 in 2011, 25,556 in 2010 and 24,123 in 2009.

Wireless users (those accessing the Internet at the library on their own devices) were up from 713 in 2011 to 2,047 in 2012. Numbers in 2010 and 2009 were just over 1,000 each year.

Redhage noted the financial benefits received from the cooperative service agreement with Scenic Regional Library. A reciprocal lending agreement began in 2003. In August 2009, a cooperative service agreement combined catalogs and databases and allowed patrons to use one card at either location.

In 2011, the agreement was expanded and Scenic Regional began providing services it offered to other branches. Under that agreement, Scenic Regional took over the mailing of overdue book notices, which has saved the Washington library more than $3,000 in postage each year.

Also as part of the agreement, Scenic has to pay Washington up to 35 cents per book checked out by a Scenic patron.

Redhage noted that Washington’s library district is only 4.648 square miles.

“Nearly 70 percent of people we check books out to are Scenic patrons,” she said.

Reciprocal lending payments in 2012 totaled $36,814, compared to $30,618 in 2011, and $27,418 in 2010.

National Recognition

The Washington Public Library renovation received national media coverage in the Nov. 15 issue of Library Journal, Redhage told the council.

The library was mentioned in a section titled “Innovate While Renovating.” Redhage said there were 126 library construction projects last year across the country and not all received a mention.

The library also was recognized in the Missouri Arts Council’s December online newsletter. The library was lauded in several instances for its cooperation with arts in the community.

“That spread the word for how Washington is incorporating the arts in their programs,” she said.

The library incorporated an art gallery in its new space, where art selections are rotated on a monthly basis. The gallery has been popular and is booked several months in advance, Redhage said.