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Sycamore library sees increase in material use, visits

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 10:15 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Author James Patterson may be part of the reason more books have been checked out from the Sycamore Public Library in the past year.

In a report to the Sycamore City Council about the library's past fiscal year, Sarah Tobias, the library's executive director, said that both material checkouts and visits have increased. Tobias said Patterson's suspense/thriller novels and other bestsellers were hits with residents.

"I'm excited to see people are reading more," Tobias said Wednesday. "I'm not sure that they were reading less before, but if we have copies of popular titles and they can get their book today, they're more likely to come back."

The number of books circulated went up by 14 percent in the past year over the previous year. She said the library decided to buy up to five copies of bestsellers instead of just one or two. People checked out about 1,200 more books a month last year over the year before.

Programs for children, teens and adults were popular, and Tobias said it was, in part, because of hiring a library events and marketing coordinator.

Tobias said ebook circulation and Wi-Fi use have also gone up, but computer use in the library has dropped.

"In our changing world that makes sense," Tobias said. "In a way, I'm not surprised. I think as the economy improves, people, hopefully, are going back to work. A lot of people would come in doing job searches, or they had cut their Internet at home, but now they no longer come in for that service."

More DVDs were checked out in the past year: DVDs left shelves at a pace almost twice as fast of the year before. Tobias credits that to the removal of the borrowing fee on DVDs.

"Patrons would go to other libraries that didn't charge a fee," Tobias said. "We saw that decrease as a problem, that we weren't meeting demand. We decided to take the fee away and instead increase the fine rate."

Overdue charges doubled from 10 cents to 20 cents a day for materials, but Tobias said that hasn't brought in a wealth of income.

"It kind of backfired in that way," Tobias said. "We did not see our fine money double; we saw people start bringing their stuff back in on time."

Tobias said the library still invests most of its money into books.

"The library is interesting," Mayor Ken Mundy said. "We're trying to reflect the modern age here of library patronage and be receptive and responsible and servicable to anyone who comes to the library."

For more

For more information about the Sycamore Public Library, visit sycamorelibrary.org or call 815-895-2500.

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