Libraries Have Many Resources in This Economy
Release Date: July 7, 2011
Contact: Cheryl Griffith, Community Relations Manager, 540.434.4475 ext. 121
With all the talk in Washington about budget cuts, one might assume libraries are a luxury and would be a natural place to cut funding, but library workers and patrons argue otherwise.
"Libraries are the go-to-place when people are looking for jobs in a down economy," says Cheryl Griffith, Customer Relations Manager of Massanutten Regional Library. "Job-seekers are using library computers and reference books to search for jobs, research companies, and to update resumes."
Just how many people use the library on any given day?
The Virginia Library Association and the Library of Virginia just released state-wide
statistics of library impact on a community on a typical day. Compiling patron and usage figures, libraries across the state picked one day within a specified time period and submitted this data to the two library associations. Massanutten Regional Library and its facilities did participate in the Snapshot VA survey.
In one day statewide, some 243,166 books, audio books, music and movies were borrowed from Virginia libraries. Some 25,938 computers were utilized, and some 21,529 patrons researched questions about business, jobs, health, government, school work, and more. These numbers alone are staggering, but there's more:
- Some 1,638 Virginians signed up for new library cards;
- Some 4,228 citizens used Virginia libraries for 508 meeting places;
- Some 5,374 citizens used Virginia libraries for 337 free programs within theestablishments;
- Some 1,775 people were assisted by Virginia libraries with books for the blind,bookmobile visits, and other outreach programs to schools and communities;
- Some 1,757 hours were logged by community volunteers.
Massanutten Regional Library participated in the Snapshot VA survey and released these statistics demonstrating one-day usage:
- A total of 1,170 patrons used the seven MRL facilities in one day;
- Some 136 individuals used the facilities for classes/programs;
- Some 100 individuals used the facilities for computer usage/assistance;
- Some 418 children participated in reading classes;
- 12 individuals were issued new MRL library cards;
- Two individuals used an MRL library to take a driver's test;
- Thirty-five hours were logged for volunteerism at seven MRL facilities.
While one naturally associates books with libraries, smart consumers, especially in a down economy, know libraries can provide so many more resources. Library patrons borrow audio books, DVDs, CDs. Patrons are reading newspapers and magazines in the library. The Main Branch of Massanutten Regional Library has eight computers for public use and frequently a waiting list exists for those computers.
Libraries also offer inter-library loan usage, meeting room places, and adult and children programming. Librarians offer instruction and help individuals with a myriad of topics, including updating job resumes and assisting with job searches.
Dorothy Hertzler, a weekly MRL patron for 35 years, credits the library for one of her current part-time jobs. "They (reference librarians) helped me with wording on a cover letter. They would help me send out resumes. They can track down anything. Their services are as good as any class. They have so much patience."
"I have three important cards in my life," adds Hertzler. "I consider my library card, my credit card, and my insurance cards as gold cards."
Cameron Pond, another loyal MRL patron, has analyzed free library service vs. personal purchase. "Books and DVDs are free to borrow as opposed to $2-$10 rented, or $20-$150 bought. Computers are free; whereas the internet can cost up to $30 a month at home."
John Funk of Grottoes agrees with Pond on the library's "incredible value."
Ellen O. Good, a patron of Page Public Library not only thinks about the expense of purchase but is practical in her thinking about storage. "I read all the time and do not want the expense of buying or the problem of storing books!" says Good.
Hester Cripe indicates she prefers to check out books and DVDs versus buying them. "It is cheaper... Most books I don't want to own/buy. I also prefer to research topics out of books in the library versus looking on the internet."
Susan Layne, a North River patron, mentions that her MRL branch assists her with homeschooling her children. Melanie Veith, another North River patron, mentions that she uses library resources for her job. "I use the library, not only for my personal use but also for books to use in my lessons for pre-schoolers and others in programs at my job."
Another Main branch patron sums up the library's importance succinctly on his comment card. "When there were no libraries books were limited to the wealthy. Now books are for the young, old, rich, and poor. Open their door and learn, listen, grow, explore the unlimited world."
North River MRL patron Sarah Pierce concurs: "I can't imagine what my life would be without all the rich materials the library possesses. I check out books, DVDs, CDs, magazines, books-on-tape. I use them all (resources)."
For many citizens, the library is a vital part of town. Shenandoah Community Library patron Sandie Hammel says the library is "a hub within our small town."
John Hammel comments that he has been a loyal library patron for "over 60 years." MRL Main patron Patricia Morrison cites "54 years of library use." North River patron John H. Nigolai, Jr. reminds that "the library is my life."
Page County Library customer C.W. Bud Martin cites the library as a necessary tool for a healthy life. "It means a healthy well-being mentally." For Page patron Daniel Kuhn, his facility is a social center.
Village Library patron Donna Landry says, "It is wonderful to live in the country and have a library 10 minutes from home. This library exposes me to knowledge, a glimpse of the world we live in, and an escape from troubles and illness."
For the disabled, libraries are a life-line. One Grottoes resident on his survey card indicated he shops weekly for his mother, who is physically unable to journey to the library.
Libraries are the one resource which has no age boundaries. Libraries serve all age groups. It is money well spent.