Library News: What the stats say about your library

By Carole Howard
SUN Columnist, and the library staff
Annually, at this time of year, Meg Wempe, library director, prepares an annual report for the library’s board of trustees summarizing the highlights of the past year. The information also is used when your library applies for grants and it is required to be shared with state, county and town governments to keep them informed.
Here is a summary of that long report on 2019 operations. You can pick up a shorter infographic version of this report at your library for your own use.
• Major objectives achieved: This year we hired a full-time early literacy librarian, started item inventory for our complete collection, conducted inventory of library assets for an asset schedule and updated the trustee policy manual with the library board.
• Resource sharing: AspenCat allows our patrons access not only to the 29,053 items in our collection, but also more than 1.4 million items in the other 115 AspenCat libraries. The Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) courier service provides daily delivery to subscribing libraries throughout the state.
In 2019, we borrowed 9,843 items and loaned 3,271 items. By taking advantage of the purchasing power of the State Library and CLiC, we subscribed to multiple educational databases including EBSCOHost, Learning Express and the Encyclopedia Britannica at substantial savings and subscribed to ShoutBomb for text messaging to our patrons about holds and overdues. Downloadable audio books, e-books and magazines were also purchased through CLiC. In 2019 our patrons downloaded 4,631 items and logged 1,026 sessions on our electronic databases. (Though the total usage remains approximately the same, it is interesting to note the difference in usage of the various databases from year to year.)
• Collection development: Providing our patrons with materials that are current and relevant to the diverse interests of the community is one of our principal goals. We have 29,053 total items in our collection. In 2019, we added 2,963, including 335 from donations, and deleted 4,121 worn or outdated items. Our materials budget for 2020 is $66,300 or 11.6 percent of our total expenses.
• Usage stats: 76,550 patrons walked through our doors last year. We checked out 100,278 items, an increase of 6.7 percent from 2018. We have 13,408 library cards issued, 1,336 of them new in 2019.
• Programming: Providing programs for all ages is a very high priority. From early literacy to adult education and lifelong learning, 3,744 people attended one or more of our 476 programs. Our programming budget for 2020 is just under 1 percent of our total expenses.
• Donations, grants and volunteers: We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of the community. In 2019, we received $15,256 in donations and $11,000 in grants, 5 percent of our total revenue. Our volunteers contributed 1,430 hours, about three quarters of a full-time position.
• Technology: This year, we had 24,312 website visitors, 4,631 e-book and audio book downloads, 422 Facebook likes and 279 Tech Time consults over 82 Tech Time programs. We hosted 15,463 computer sessions. Public usage of our computers in the library continues to decrease because so many people are accessing our wireless service using their own devices in the library, on the benches outside our front door and in the parking lot not only during library hours, but 24/7.
• Continuing education: To continue to provide our community with the best possible service, several of our staff attended a variety of educational and networking opportunities last year. We are very fortunate that many of these training sessions and webinars have no registration fees, costing us only travel. In 2020, staff education is 1 percent of our total budget.
Tax and census help
Tax forms and instructions are available at your library. Visit for more details and useful links. As well, library computers and staff are available to help you access the online census questionnaire. Households will begin receiving an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in mid-March.
To familiarize yourself with the questions that will be asked on the census, your library has a sample copy of the print census questionnaire in English and Spanish. Please visit to view a video that demonstrates how to fill out the census online. We also have a sample copy of the print invitation to respond to the census that most households will receive. Brad and Josie are your census experts at the library, but all library staff are happy to answer questions related to the Census. As well, your library has various census-related prizes to give away while supplies last, including coffee mugs, bags, thumb drives, blankets and more.
After-school club
The after-school club for first- through fifth-graders takes place tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 28, from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m. Participants will engage in literature-based science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) learning activities and work up to an exhibition on the first Friday following each three-week session. Registration is required by calling us at 264-2209 or dropping by the library.
Home-school social hour
Stop by Tuesday, March 3, from 1 to 2 p.m. for a chance to visit with fellow home-school families, discuss curriculum and learning opportunities, and look through resources while the kids participate in crafts and other activities. Josie, your early literacy librarian, is eager to collect ideas on how to serve home-school families in our community.
Teen gaming
Free teen gaming happens on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. for teens in the sixth through 12th grades. Enjoy Xbox 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.
Teen advisory board
Next Thursday, March 5, the teen advisory board meets from 4 to 5 p.m. Sixth- through 12th-graders are invited to bring your fun and innovative ideas to help us plan teen programs. Share an idea to pick out a free book.
ESL classes twice a week
Free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes take place on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. The classes are led by two highly experienced teachers — Joyce Holdread for the intermediate/advanced group and Ellynn Ragone for beginners. No registration is required.
Adult education
Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) accelerated GED course takes place Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m. Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.
Free tech sessions
Drop in with your technology questions on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m.
Family storytimes
Every Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. and Saturday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., join us for great stories, fun songs, toddler-friendly crafts, and plenty of reasons to get up and move.
Both storytimes are open to babies, toddlers and youngsters of all ages to make it easier for parents to attend with their children depending on their busy schedules rather than the age of their little ones. These free sessions are an excellent way for kids to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.
On March 4, local artists Janet Ford and Julie Noland will lead the group in a special creative session.
Academy Award films on DVD
We have three movies on DVD that were winners in this year’s Academy Awards: “Parasite” won best picture, best director and two other awards, and had two more nominations. “Joker” won two Oscars, including best actor for Joaquin Phoenix. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” won two Oscars, including best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.
Books on CD
“Treason” by Stuart Woods is a Stone Barrington mystery. “The Vanishing” by Jayne Ann Krentz is book one in a new romantic suspense fantasy trilogy. “The River Murders” by James Patterson and James O. Born contains three thrillers. “Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun” by Erik Larson examines America’s gun culture and offers solutions to our national epidemic of death by firearm. “Moral Compass” by Danielle Steel begins with a drunken night at an elite private school. “The First Mountain Man: Preacher’s Frenzy” by William W. and J.A. Johnstone is a western. “Bullet Creek” by Ralph Compton features a gunslinger forced out of retirement. “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain features two artists working more than 30 years apart. “Hunter Killer” by Brad Taylor is a Pike Logan adventure.
Mysteries, suspense and thrillers
“The Deep Blue Crush” by Clint Hollingsworth is book three in the thriller series featuring bounty hunter Mac Crow. “Crooked River” by Preston and Child is a Pendergast mystery. “One Minute Out” by Mark Greaney is a Gray Man adventure. “The Holdout” by Graham Moore unveils the secrets a jury has been keeping after its verdict to acquit. “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James explores mysteries at the motel 35 years apart.
Large print
“American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummings features a middle-class Mexican woman who ends up a migrant heading to the U.S. with her young daughter. “When You See Me” by Lisa Gardner is a thriller about a deceased serial killer. “Country Strong” by Linda Lael Miller is book one in the new Painted Pony Creek western romance trilogy.
Programmed Nooks
We have nine free Nooks and three free tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure. The eight adult e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers. The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults.
Thanks to our donors
For their generous donations, we are grateful to Ronald Stanke and Veronica Johnson. For books and materials this week, we thank our anonymous donors.
Quotable quote
“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” — Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd president of the U.S., succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president.
For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books, e-books, CDs and DVDs from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

This story was posted on February 27, 2020.