Two items I’d like to bring attention to this week. First of all, we are venturing into uncharted territory this month with several programs new to Camp Verde Community Library (CVCL) on Monday mornings, Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons.
Writer’s and reader’s groups seem like a natural fit for a library and we are dedicating every Monday morning to both. One reader’s group that has been longstanding and successful at CVCL is the Open Book Club. The Open Book Club operates a little differently than most book clubs because participants are not required to read the same book. It’s a book club open to people who enjoy reading and sharing what they are reading with others. What’s new about it is the date and time. Starting Monday, September 15 at 10:00 am the Open Book Club begins meeting the 3rd Monday of the month.
WRITE NOW! is a new group for writers and storytellers patterned after Cottonwood Library’s Writing for Fun group where participants share bits of their writing, short stories, essays, poetry or memories with one another. It’s a place to have fun and experience sharing and listening without criticism. Write Now! starts Monday, September 8 at 10:00 am and meets the 2nd Monday of the month.
WORD WRANGLERS is another writing group forming for more serious writers. The potential of this group will be determined by the members as they share resources and information with one another. This is a group for writers who have been or are more serious about their craft or have been or are working toward being published. Word Wranglers starts October 6 at 10:00 am and meets the 1st Monday of the month.
ALICE’S EBOOK WONDERLAND is patterned after the Open Book Club, but specifically designed for people who use e-readers. This group gives eBook enthusiasts and novices a chance to tell other about eBooks they’ve enjoyed and tips they’ve discovered or to discuss questions they have. Alice’s eBook Wonderland starts Monday, September 22 at 10:00 am and meets the 4th Monday of the month.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Every Monday at 10:00 am CVCL is offering a program for readers and writers. Same time, same place every Monday. Come each week, skip a few or just attend what strikes your fancy. When the month happens to have five Mondays, we will introduce you to something new on Wild Card Monday, the 5th Monday of the month.
Additionally, we are offering a couple of exciting opportunities for writers: free workshops sponsored by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records as part of the ONEBOOKAZ program. One is Friday, September 12 from 9:00 am to noon with Kristen Kauffman, Yavapai College Creative Writing Instructor and the other is Friday, September 26 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with award-winning children’s author, Conrad Storad.
THEN on Thursday evenings we have two new offerings that we are very excited about. One, THE LISTENING POST is a brand new concept that borrows from the Open Book format and applies it to music. Readers love to talk about the latest books they’re reading. Likewise music lovers enjoy sharing what they’re listening to. CVCL has begun to collect and offer music CDs over the past year or two for the music lovers among us. Starting Thursday, September 18 at 5:30 pm, music lovers can bring in pieces of music to share with one another. We have a setup that allows us to play LPs, CDs, MP3 & digital downloads. The Listening Post is for music lovers who are open to new experiences and meets the 3rd Thursday of the month.
Also beginning on Thursday, September 11 at 4:30 pm we are privileged to have Bugle Staff Reporter/Photographer, Bill Helm teaching a series of classes called, THE ABCs OF TAKING BETTER PHOTOGRAPHS. Bill is an excellent teacher who is very passionate about photography. We scheduled his classes to coincide with our weekly game night in the Children’s area so parents who bring their kids could have the opportunity to do something for themselves while the kids are enjoying the Wii under the supervision of TAB teens. The ABCs of Taking Better Photographs is for anyone who takes pictures for fun or otherwise and will help you better understand your camera and create photos worthy of sharing with friends and family. It meets roughly twice a month until Thanksgiving.
Finally, our Youth Services Library has been putting together a lineup of hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Technology (STEAM) activities for kids starting on Friday, September 5 at 1:00 pm. CVCL received STEAM kits from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records and will put them to use for Friday programs. STEAM Time will happen the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month and is designed for school-aged children. However, families are welcome and we will find ways to help all ages participate in the hands-on activities. Children who participate in FRIDAY STEAM TIME will earn the privilege of using the STEAM kits in the library on their own by asking at the Youth Services desk.
Like I said, we are venturing into new territory at CVCL and excited about the many new programs we have starting up this month. However, there is more to our programs than simply drawing traffic into the library. Believe it or not, our main purpose is to provide free access to reading, literacy, technology and learning opportunities to members of our community. We also fill a social niche in the lives of many of our patrons, which brings me to the second item I’d like to bring up in response to a recent article, Town Examines Numbers, in the Camp Verde Journal. Yes, we have to consider the numbers when we evaluate ourselves, but the numbers may fail to recognize values that are hard to quantify, like social interaction. There are a couple of points about Camp Verde Community Library in the article that I would like to clarify.
It’s true that our numbers show more than twice the traffic in July 2014 over July 2013. However, the numbers alone can be deceiving. At the beginning of June 2014, our Town maintenance crew installed a people counter on our front door for us. Up to that point we had been trying to track traffic by asking volunteers and staff at the front desk to make a tic mark on a paper calendar for every person that walked in our door. Well… you can imagine how difficult it is to be accurate with a system like that. The electronic people counter has given us a better idea of how many people actually come into the library daily. It’s not perfect, but it’s closer to the truth than the tic marks everyone had a hard time remembering to put down during bursts of busy activity. We take the number from the people counter, divide it by two and subtract 5% to account for staff who use the front door.
Did twice as many people really use the library this July over last July? Probably not. Yes, I do believe we were busier this summer than last summer as is clearly reflected in the Summer Reading Program attendance numbers. We had 564 people attend baby through adult programs this July, an increase of 56.2% over last July’s program attendance. Factoring in the fact that 4 of our July Summer Reading Program activities were held off-site, shows that we should have had an even bigger traffic count at the library but still, probably not twice as many as last July.
Lastly, the article states, “The amount of items checked out dropped, however.” I don’t know where this information came from but our monthly statistics supplied by the Yavapai Library Network show a 3% increase in items checked out and a 10.5% increase in overall circulation, which includes renewals and materials checked in at CVCL. Additionally, breaking down the circulation by age groups shows kids and teen material increased 18.6% in circulation in July 2014 over July 2013. (July 2014 Monthly Report)
It’s true. Libraries aren’t just about books and, by default, circulation statistics anymore. BUT, it appears that the increased traffic and program attendance may also be affecting our circulation numbers. So join a writing group, an open book group in traditional print or eBook format, or enjoy listening to music in an open environment. Learn to better use your camera or bring the kids to Friday STEAM Time while you browse the stacks for something interesting to read.