Happy New Year! Well, 2021 proved to be another challenging year due to COVID, but it was definitely better than 2020! The Kenyon Public Library provided 27,444 total services during 2021, which was almost a 12% increase from the previous year. The library also had 7,446 patrons welcomed through the library doors, a 6.4% increase in patron traffic from 2020. Wireless internet also recorded a nearly 24% usage increase and digital circulation (e-books, e-audio books, and digital magazines) saw a staggering 30% increase, recording 2,289 checkouts. While digital material circulation was the highest ever recorded for our location, digital materials still only make up about 9% of all checkouts, while nearly 91% of our circulation is still physical materials. In-person programming was able to return in 2021 as well and the library hosted a total of 90 programs for adults and children during the year. Some users are still hesitant to use the library in a physical capacity, but I am hopeful that numbers will continue to improve during 2022.
The Kenyon Public Library Board met on Dec. 21, 2021 in the library. The Board reviewed and approved the newly proposed bylaws. This was a long project that took several months as the library bylaws had not been updated since 1998. The Board also approved two newly created job descriptions, along with accepting the resignation of Assistant Librarian/Children’s Librarian Barb Bonde from her current full-time position, and approved Bonde to transition into the newly created part-time position of Library Assistant effective March 28, 2022. The job posting for the other newly created part-time position, Youth Services/Assistant Librarian, will be posted after Council approval. The final item of business from this meeting was the discussion of the Kenyon Public Library Board vacancy. The Board has recommended Eileen Ehrich to fill this vacancy upon Council approval.
Now that a new year is upon us, there will be much to do at the library. Annual weeding will begin by the end of January, along with a complete inventory of all collections, approximately 16,000 items. This is always the most time consuming task of collection management. Library staff can now begin planning for our annual Summer Learning Program at this time as well. City and library administration will be busy with the hiring of a new library employee, and transitioning into a new employee structure, which will hopefully provide better access to the library for our community, while maximizing library resources. Also, I am entering my final year as co-chair of the Resource Sharing and Technology Committee at SELCO and we have lots of projects currently underway, including creating a new fee structure for technology services.