Library is a 24/7 hub for electronic resources

The Anoka County Library has become more than a place just to check out books.

It has become a 24/7 hub for electronic resources, including job searches.

“The Anoka County Library has become a multi-media center for reading, job searches and resources,” said Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah when the 2011 library annual report was presented to the board May 22.

Anoka County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who is county board liaison to the Anoka County Library Board, agreed.

“We are very fortunate,” Kordiak said.

“The library is not just about books. It is about eBooks, exploring opportunities, entertainment and a gathering place. It serves many different functions.”

According to county library director Marlene Moulton Janssen, the library’s vision for the future is to be a community hub – a nimble organization working to provide a wealth of resources and experiences to enrich the lives of residents.

While close to three million books, DVDs and CDs were checked out by library users in 2011, electronic resources available 24/7 will be an ever-increasing part of the future, Moulton-Janssen said.

“Electronic access to library resources is exploding,” she said.

Downloadable eBooks circulated over 48,000 times in 2011 and downloadable audiobooks were added in February this year, she said.

Moulton Janssen provided statistics in the report showing that online and telephone circulation services, which are available 24/7, were used over 635,000 times in 2011, while document views in the library’s subscription databases increased to over 4.3 million in 2011 with electronic visits reaching 904,000.

“Clearly, the library of the future will be both a welcoming library branch and a virtual presence,” Moulton Janssen said.

The Anoka County Library has also become “all about partnerships,” not only with other county departments, but with community groups and regional and statewide organizations, she said.

Partnerships not only provide a variety of programs, but build budgets, Moulton Janssen said.

Indeed, through partnerships, adult programs provided by the library have soared from three in 2009 to over 100 in 2011 and are projected to approach 200 this year, according to Moulton Janssen.

In addition, the library received a $97,935 federal grant last year to partner with the Anoka County WorkForce Center and MetroNorth Adult Basic Education to provide a public one-stop job search shop – a mobile lab for job seekers as well as workshops aimed at improving the users’ computer skills and job search abilities.

The partnership hosted 66 workshops last year and more than 400 visits were made to the mobile computer lab, which is hosted at the Rum River Library, the library report states.

Other highlights from the annual report include:

• Expenditures were $24.47 per capita on 2011 spending amounting to $7,620,026 with an operating fund of $8,410,247, of which property taxes and state aid accounted for $7,858,743.

• Library collection, including books/magazines, audio and video materials, 630,235.

• Subscription database document views, 4,384,932.

• Website total hits, 33,311,629.

• Total library visits, 1,980,148, including 904,313 electronic visits.

• Total circulation, 2,908,120 – 1,512,222 adult and 1,395,898 juvenile.

• The summer reading program drew 12,866 kids and teens, there were 606 storytime programs, 178 youth programs and 38 youth outreach programs.

• In 2011, the library had 241 community volunteers – 187 teens and 54 adult totaling 6,491 hours.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]