As we reflect on 2011 here at the Dwight Foster Public Library, we can know one thing for sure: we grew! We grew both physically and in terms of usage. Our successful Foster Growth capital campaign allowed us to renovate and expand our library, adding 12,000 square feet to our existing 21,000. That growth allowed us to grow in terms of service to our community. More people than ever not only visited our library to see all that had changed, but they also checked out more items than any other year in the previous ten…by a considerable sum.
A library’s circulation numbers don’t tell the whole story because, by definition, a circulation is simply a count of a physical item that has left the building. It doesn’t measure how many people read a newspaper, came to use a computer, asked a question, made a photocopy or used a meeting room. It doesn’t even count e-book circulations. (That’s a topic for another day.) However, a library circulation, limited measure that it is, is still a very good way to compare a library to itself over time. I think the chart above shows a remarkable pattern of steadiness and vitality, particularly in light of our world’s increasingly rapid move from the physical to the digital world.
If you want to ponder another measure, here is a chart depicting the number of library visits based on our people counter (purchased in 2010 and located at the front entry).
All in all, it was a year of enormous change and significant growth for our library. If you’d like to read more, you can find the full 2011 annual report here.