Record number of patrons check out books

A Mesa County Library patron checks out new nonfiction books at the Central Library Thursday.

A three-week interruption and closure of the Mesa County Libraries’ Central Branch earlier this year did not seem to dampen enthusiasm and participation across the library network, as a record number of checkouts and renewals were tallied last year.

What library officials term circulation — or, the total number of checkouts and renewals — across the countywide system edged higher in 2013, totaling 1.397 million.

That’s just less than one percent higher than the record for circulation marked in 2011.

According to library officials, total visitation across the library network reached 729,301 in 2013, which was .3 percent higher year over year.

The traffic numbers are remarkable because the past year was one of great change for the libraries, especially regarding the newly transformed Central Branch, which reopened after a brief closure in June at Fifth Street and Grand Avenue downtown.

Officials called the June time frame when the Central Branch was closed “the peak season for library use.”

Yet despite the inconvenience, and the previous temporary relocating of the Central Branch at First Street and Gunnison Avenue, user numbers were higher than normal.

“The strong numbers demonstrate that county residents appreciate the expert service and high quality facilities and resources that Mesa County Libraries offer,” a press release reads.

During the Central Branch move in June, many of the branch library locations picked up the slack in terms of user numbers, officials said.

As for how citizens are taking to the expanded and improved Central Branch downtown, the numbers point to an about 100-person increase of daily users at the new location, up to about 1,600 visitors per day.

Also up in 2013:

■ The number of library cardholders, which increased 3.8 percent to 77,011;

■ The number of people who attended events at the library, which increased about 11 percent;

■ The use of wireless Internet connections at the library, which doubled in 2013;

■ Volunteer numbers, which were up 7.6 percent over the previous year, to 16,702 hours in 2013.


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