Libraries look to new programs and services in 2014
Published December 20, 2013
EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — At the end of 2013, local libraries have been busier than ever.
The Eastpointe Memorial Library has seen circulation numbers improve over the past year, following a drop in 2012, Director Carol Sterling said. That drop seems connected to financial constraints limiting how many new materials the library could purchase — constraints that vanished once voters passed the library millage in late 2012.
“We have many more cardholders. We’ve just been adding cardholders over the past year like crazy,” Sterling said. “I think a lot of young families are moving in, because they are the ones coming in getting cards for themselves and their children. We’re averaging 100 new cards a month.”
The number of people actually coming to the Eastpointe library has increased greater than the number checking out materials, as people come in to use the computers or check out one of the library’s programs, Sterling said.
Overall, she said the current number of cardholders in Eastpointe is about 15,000 people. For a population of 32,000, she said that was extremely strong; many libraries only expect around 10 percent of their community’s population to have cards.
Roseville Public Library Assistant Director Annamarie Lindstrom said they still have people coming in regularly to check out bestsellers and fiction books, but moreover, computer usage has continued to climb.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people recently who’ve told me that they still rely on the library when doing research,” Lindstrom said. “And of course, our computer use is at an all-time high. People continue to use the Internet for searching for jobs and filling out applications for different programs, whether it be school or jobs or health insurance.”
In order to accommodate the computer usage, Lindstrom said the library has moved all of its computers — online, word processing and catalog — into the former quiet study corner of the building. Previously, they had been scattered around the building.
Another technological change is the addition of the Zinio digital magazine system. Anyone with a library card is able to access the Zinio database after making an account online, Lindstrom said. From there, they can view any of around 94 popular magazines digitally and free of charge.
If the patron wants to download a personal copy of an article, they can set up an account to do that, too, and Lindstrom said those have no expiration date — they will remain available for the patron.
“You never have to ‘return it’ like a downloadable book,” she said.
Amanda Itria, adult librarian at Roseville, said that a lot of people still come in looking for popular fiction, such as novels by Nora Roberts and James Patterson, but others are seeking books highlighted on television shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” or on local radio stations and in major magazines.
She said that she tries not to simply go with the most popular books, mixing it up with lesser-known books that may have garnered positive reviews from book-review websites and news outlets.
Some nonfiction books will also come in based on interest, usefulness and the quality of the publisher — such as books on using computer programs, Itria said — while others may find their way to the library based on the author. Itria said, for example, a popular food blogger could release a cookbook that gets interest from library visitors.
“For me, I hope to allow someone to discover something new and always have quality literature here,” Itria said. “It’s what’s popular versus the obscure, but always with quality in mind.”
The Roseville library also will begin taking debit cards for payment in the spring, Lindstrom said, and is planning on setting up a public self-serve fax machine.
Meanwhile, Eastpointe’s library is planning on some remodeling work and a 75th anniversary celebration. Sterling said the library staff is shooting for a June 21 celebration date, but added she is unsure when the building will be getting its new carpeting and paintjob.
“It depends when they go out for bids,” she said. “We will be closed then, so hopefully we won’t be closed for long.”
The library is moving forward with other events and programs, regardless of when the renovations are done.
Both libraries also plan on changing their book sale times. Eastpointe will now be holding four book sales over the course of 2014: Feb. 3-4, May 5-6, Aug. 4-5, and Nov. 3-4. Each sale will run from 2-7 p.m.
In Roseville, the book sale is moving to a semi-annual schedule from the monthly one, Lindstrom said, but it will be returning to the Saturdays it originally took place. The first sale will be April 10-12.
“We used to do on Saturdays but changed it to Thursday evenings,” Lindstrom said. “I don’t think we get as many people as we did on Saturdays, because they had all day Saturday to come in.”
Roseville already has a number of special programs planned for 2014, she said, including a “craftstravaganza” Feb. 3, a Detroit Institute of Arts program on the Diego Rivera mural Feb. 11, a Zumba program Feb. 20, and a program about craft beer March 3. The library also will have a visit by the “Bubble Man” March 14 and a preparation course for the ACT April 28.
Sterling said Eastpointe is continuing its monthly mix of programs currently running, such as story times, Lego Club sessions and teen movies, but at the end of November, it also added something new — a blind date for books.
Eastpointe Assistant Director Sue Todd said the new program, called “Match.Read at the Eastpointe Library,” gives readers an opportunity to take home a mystery book that they know nothing about. The books all come from library donations, and Todd picks the books, wraps them up, and has them available at the circulation desk for people to take home, read at their leisure and return when they are finished.
Some of the books are nonfiction, and others are novels of all different stripes and genres. Each one also will include a little review card for the reader to write their thoughts on once they finish it.
“It’s like a blind date: You might be disappointed or you might have a really great time,” Todd said. “It’s fun because not everybody likes their book. We had one woman that just absolutely did not like (the first one she took), but she picked up another one and loved it, so you never know what you’re going to get.”
So far, the library has given about 28 wrapped books and has around 15 on hand, Todd said. The library staff members also plan on holding two “date nights” — one in February and one in July — for people to come in and talk about the books they’ve taken out through the program.
The book program is set to run through 2014, with a possibility of continuing beyond that based on interest.
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