With the Washington Public Library now settled into its new location, 2013 proved to be a little quieter — a year of transition.
“The biggest thing probably was the transition from Nell (Redhage) retiring and me coming on board,” said Jackie Hawes, who took over as librarian Oct. 1.
The library also has been busily preparing for the migration to a new integrated library system (ILS), the Missouri Evergreen Consortium. The consortium is a group of public libraries combining catalogs on the same software.
“It’s been behind the scenes preparation up until this point,” Hawes said.
The migration is set to take place this Friday, Jan. 10. The library will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11-12.
The door count for 2013 was up approximately 30,000 from 2012; however, the library was in a temporary location during construction in 2012.
There was no door counter for the first three months at that location, Hawes noted.
The library sponsored approximately 300 programs in 2013, with about 7,000 attendees.
The meeting rooms were used for about 550 meetings/programs, which include community usage and library programs.
Like in 2012, the gallery has gone over well at the library, with a new artist displaying works every month except December. That artist has been rescheduled.
Hawes said the gallery is booked through May.
“We’ve had quite a bit of interest (from artists), and when patrons come in they’re pretty excited to see the new art,” Hawes said. “They really look forward to that.”
Hawes said computer classes continued through 2013 and will be held again in 2014. Classes will resume in March and the amount of interest will determine when the next session is held.
Hawes hopes to offer the classes at least twice in 2014, but may offer them more often.
In 2014, there will be beginner and intermediate classes. The beginner course will include creating an email account, how to search the Internet and other computer basics.
Social media, job searching and searching the online catalog system also will be incorporated.
Hawes said the classes will be beneficial to anyone nervous about the library’s new ILS system. Nelson Appell is the instructor for both courses.
“We’ve had a lot of community members come in and ask if that was a service we were going to continue to offer,” she said.
Adult programming at the library went well, Hawes said, with several author visits.
The library will continue to offer three book clubs — two in the evening and one during the day.
The daytime book club is held the second Monday of the month, from 10 to 11 a.m. Literary Classics is held the third Monday, from 7 to 8 p.m., and the evening book club is held the third Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Like the adult programing, children’s programs also were successful in 2013, Hawes said.
The Library Strikes Back bash, held in January, had the biggest turnout for any family event held at the library, Hawes said, with more than 300 people in attendance.
The summer reading program activities also went well, Hawes said. This year, more than 1,200 people took part in the program.
“We’re hoping for larger numbers this year,” she said.
Ruth McInnis, children’s librarian, said the 2014 program “Fizz, Boom, Read” will feature “tween” incentives.
The science-themed program will include Nitro Joe’s Science Show, a visit with the reptiles, a “slime time” event and many other science-related activities.
Preschool and tot storytimes also have been well-attended, Hawes said.
Hawes said computer usage and wireless Internet access usage continues to break records each month.
The library is in the process of increasing its bandwidth for patrons.
Hawes also said she would like to see laptops added to the library system that can be checked out for use at the library.
One goal in 2014 is to complete a technology survey to help plan for the next three years, she said.
A second survey on services will be completed to help meet the needs of the community.
“That information will be very valuable to us,” Hawes said. “We’re trying to meet the needs of the community, and the surveys will help us do that.”
Another top priority will be to inventory the library’s collections, which Hawes said will be a huge project.
Friends of the Library
In 2013, the Friends of the Library purchased canopies for the outdoor space at the library. The canopies were one of several items purchased by the group.
Additionally, the Friends of the Library donated $1,000 to add to the DVD collection.
The group also purchased a PA system and additional chairs for the meeting room. A total of 100 people can now be seated in the meeting room.
The Friends host an ongoing magazine sale at the library which helps bring in an average of $300 per month for library programs.
“All of that money comes back to the library in some way,” said Hawes, adding that she’s very appreciative of the support.