Stettler library’s pride lies in numbers – Literally Yours

January is an important month at the Stettler Public Library. We play with words most of the time, but January is the month that we get to play with numbers that are not Dewey Decimal numbers. It is this time of the year that we get to compile all the statistical numbers from the previous year and take a hard look at what the library has accomplished. 2010 was a banner year for the Stettler Public Library and we now have the numbers to prove it.

I am sure that if you have stopped in at the library from time and time, you have been amazed with how busy and full of life that the library is. There has not been a computer to be had, the programming area is full of children and all the comfy seating is taken. It is days like these that saw the majority of our 68,715 visitors come through the doors of the Stettler Public Library.

That is an increase of 13 per cent over 2009 and a 31 per cent increase over 2007 and a 377 per cent increase over 2004. Our 2010-2013 Plan of Service projected 66,000 visits by 2013, so we surpassed that projection three years early. According to Library Advocacy Now, Canadians visit their local library an average of three times per year. Stettler Town and County residents visit the Stettler Public Library an average of 6.2 times a year. Free computer access and the only public wireless connection in Stettler continue to be an important service offered by the Library. Our sixteen public computers and laptops logged a total of 11,315 hours on the internet in 2010. I am sure that some of your personal laptops accounted for some of those hours as well.

Programs are important to any library and they do make up a large section of the Stettler Public Library’s plan to serve you better. The library also has a staff that loves to program. In 2010, Teen Night continued to draw big numbers, the summer reading program was well attended and Brain Candy Book Club became a fun night to get away from it all.

One-time program ideas were also big hits such as Girls’ Nigh (adult and teen editions), Game Over and Game Over Junior, Fear Factor Feed-Off, Sizzling Sixteen Launch Party and the Scrapbooking Weekend.

In all, 6,984 people attended programs in 2010.

Our pre-literacy program attendance was particularly impressive with programs such as Read and Rhyme Playtime and Itsy Bitsy Yoga attended by 2,829 parents and children. Our 2010-2013 Plan of Service set a goal of 1,000 children attending pre-literacy programming each year.

Most people think of books when they think of libraries and our circulation statistics show that the residents of the town and county of Stettler love their books. Circulation is up by 23 per cent over 2009. 74,849 items circulated in 2010 and that is an increase of 38.5 per cent over 2007. That number comes from the items just on Stettler Public Library’s shelves.

Another 25,277 items were borrowed by Stettler patrons and loaned to libraries in the Parkland Regional Library system and throughout Alberta. The average book costs approximately $25.00; if the books that everyone in the Town and County of Stettler read in 2010 had been purchased, the total cost would have been $1,877,225.00! That shows that the Stettler Public Library is a tremendous savings.

We are now working on the statistics for 2011 and our first major program of the year is Family Literacy Day on Thursday, Jan. 27. Family Literacy Day takes place every Jan. 27 to celebrate adults and children reading and learning together and to encourage everyone to spend at least 15 minutes daily enjoying a learning activity.

This year’s theme is “Play for Literacy”, so the Stettler Public Library is hosting a Family Game Night on Thursday, Jan. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. Playing games that encourage literacy and numeracy – such as board games, card games and word games – is a great way for parents and children to practice their literacy skills and have fun.

Everyone is welcome to come and join on the fun of Family Game Night.