You would have a tough time explaining to Scenic Regional Library officials that print is on the way out — pushed by the electronic wave. That may be true in some parts of the country, but in Scenic Regional Library territory, print dominates.
And it should continue with the many improvements underway by Scenic Regional, which in 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). Eighty percent of Scenic Regional’s total circulation is books and only 20 percent is electronic.
The Union (120,314) and Warrenton (91,953) branches had the most items checked out and others were in the mid-40,000. Of note is that the Bookmobile loaned out nearly 29,000 items while visiting 15 communities, 14 preschools in the summer months and 45 schools during the school year. The branches were visited by 352,452 patrons. The website received 596,176 visits.
New libraries in the system are being built in New Haven, Owensville, Pacific, Sullivan and Wright City. A new district headquarters will be built in Union, near Pasta House on Highway 47. There will be expansion of facilities in St. Clair and Warrenton. Scenic Regional had expenditures of $4.4 million in the past fiscal year. Total revenue was $5.2 million.
The growth of the Scenic Regional Library system has been remarkable. It has brought reading enjoyment during its lifetime to millions of people. The educational value it has brought to people in the area has been priceless. The taxpayers are getting their money’s worth many times over!