Sidney-Richland County Library Reflects On 2022

(Sidney) - A new year gives us all a fresh chance to reflect on the prior year and create new goals and benchmarks moving forward. The Sidney-Richland County Library is celebrating the library's successful year, generous community support, and wonderful patrons. Although modern-day libraries have evolved to encompass much more than books, our summary will ultimately begin and end at its core...books.

This year SRCL truly embraced a variety of platforms to widen its collection beyond the physical walls of the library. SRCL patrons could already access ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and hundreds of free courses through the Libby app. SRCL added Hoopla, which offers ebooks, audiobooks, music, TV, and movies. These digital collections added access to over 1 million additional items.

It's important to keep in mind that although demand for our digital collections continues to increase, the demand for items in our physical library is not decreasing. In 2022, a total of 9,859 items were checked out from the digital collection and a total of 27,243 items were checked out from the physical library location. The variety of the physical library collection also continues to expand every year. Library patrons already used their library card to check out one of; 26 kindergarten-readiness backpacks, 38 card and board games, 74 cake pans, 2 Doodle Books, or 13 WiFi hot spots. This year the library added 10 Wonderbooks, 15 Playaways, and our most popular "Library of Things" item, the Self-Care Backpack.

Library programs for all ages remained as popular as ever and included staples such as Storytime, Lego Club, and Teen Time. Of the 121 programs offered, a total of 2,174 people attended. The SRCL Summer Reading Program has always been our most popular program and we decided to build upon that in 2021 and introduce a Winter Reading Program during the harsh eastern Montana winter months when a cozy book is just what the doctor ordered. Between the two programs, 341 patrons recorded 218,588 minutes read.

Selecting books has, and always will be, one of the things every librarian enjoys the most. However, what most people do not know is the amount of research, vetting, and networking that goes into the collection. Ezzie, our Children's Librarian, spends hours reviewing award lists, researching authors, and reaching out to other colleagues to bring a well-rounded popular group of offerings to our patrons. We often think of children's books as "just for the kids". I want to challenge that idea with the following selections added in 2022:

• Are You a Cheeseburger? - Arnaldo, Monica

• Avocado Asks - Abe, Momoko

• Magic Candies - Paek, Hui-na

• Ocean! Waves for All - McAnulty, Stacy

• Someone Builds the Dream - Wheeler, Lisa

• The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! - Willems, Mo

• Trees - Johnston, Tony

• Pig and Horse and the Something Scary - Abbott, Zoey

• Hope at Sea: An Adventure Story - Miyares, Daniel

• A History of Underwear with Professor Chicken - Holt, Hannah

One would think that the highest number of circulations would naturally be found in the books for toddlers and early elementary. However, our highest circulation numbers per item can be found in the section of our library dedicated to grades 4-6. That's a direct reflection of the hard work and effort of Kathryn, our Teen & Adult Services Librarian. Part of the research into new book acquisitions is reviewing what's already popular among our patrons. Here are the top 10 checkouts in 2022 for the Juvenile section of the library:

• The Bad Guys in They're Behind You – Blabley, Aaron

• The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back – Blabley, Aaron

• Mighty Jack – Hatke, Ben

• Arlo & Pips – Gravel, Elise

• Mighty Jack and the Goblin King – Hatke, Ben

• Wings of Fire – Sutherland, Tui

• The Bad Guys in The Baddest Day Ever – Blabley, Aaron

• One Dead Spy: The Life, Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, American's Most Famous Spy – Hale, Nathan

• Big Shot – Kinney, Jeff

So, you might be asking...what about the patrons who want to check out a book and it can't be found in the local library. Whether it is a single title or multiple titles for your local book club, we've got you covered. Our Interlibrary Loan Specialist, Miranda, can research thousands of libraries to help you find that sought-after prize. And in 2022, we removed all costs for patrons to access this service. Naturally demand for Interlibrary Loan has increased and Miranda is looking forward to working with everyone in 2023.

The perfect end to any librarian's day is to scurry home and read some of those recent additions to the collection.

So, we will end our own summary in similar fashion and share our favorite reads of 2022.

• Miranda, ILL Specialist: The Dictionary of Lost Words – Williams, Pip

• Kathryn, Teen & Adult Services Librarian: The Bodyguard – Center, Katherine

• Ezzie, Children's Librarian: Hope at Sea: An Adventure Story - Miyares, Daniel

• Kelly, Library Director: The Library: A Fragile History – Pettegree, Andrew


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