Online catalogue, new programs boost library’s use
The Milton Public Library is enjoying growing popularity. Library officials say a new online catalogue and new programs are helping boost their circulation. Kyle Geissler reports. You can read more in Tuesday's Janesville Gazette.
NEW LIBRARY HOURS
Even though the Milton Public Library’s circulation increased overall this year, its circulation decreased among township residents. As a result, it will lose $8,000 in revenue from Rock County in 2010.
To make up for the loss, the library is opening one hour later most days and closing earlier Thursdays. The new hours, effective Monday, are:
-- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday
-- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
-- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
-- 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday
MILTON Robin Thayer has become a regular visitor at the Milton Public Library since moving to town last summer.
She comes a couple times a week to use the Internet and check out books and movies.
“I like it because I can use the computers,” she said. “I can’t afford the Internet right now.”
Thayer is one of many happy library customers if the numbers are any indication.
Milton has increased its circulation by 11 percent this year, Director Lisa Brooks wrote in the city’s annual newsletter. It has doubled circulation in the last six years.
Several reasons account for the increase, including the library’s participation in the RockCat program, Brooks said. RockCat in 2007 converged the online catalogues of all seven Rock County libraries, allowing patrons of one library to browse and request items from another library over the Internet.
Brooks became library directory at about the same time, and in RockCat she saw an opportunity to show Milton residents what their library has to offer.
“People have come into Milton to pick up materials that normally might have gone to Hedberg (Public Library in Janesville), and then they see the selection that we have at Milton,” she said.
Also in 2007, the library completed a $42,000 remodeling project that added open space, a sitting area and public computers.
Since then, Brooks has worked to update the library’s collection, she said.
“I saw what I thought was a chance of going from a small-town library to a library that can serve the whole county,” she said. “I’ve really worked hard at trying to build up our collection and really try to analyze what people are checking out.”
The library has added more programming in recent years, too. It offered 15 percent more summer reading programs this year and its first community book read, Brooks said.
It increased its job search and computer classes by 75 percent. The classes have been incredibly popular, Brooks said.
“We have people come in and searching for jobs who haven’t really had to sit down and use a computer,” she said. “Now they’re learning from the ground up.”
Libraries across the country are seeing more patrons during the recession as people seek free sources of entertainment, Brooks said.
Brooks hopes to increase the entertainment factor in 2010, she said. She’s planning a second community book read, a monthly newsletter and Webkinz story times where children can read with their virtual pets. She plans to survey adult patrons to find out what kind of programming they want.