The value of library services

We collect careful statistics about how the Library is used in Jackson. It helps us to see trends and meet needs. Since 2016 has ended and the budget for 2017 is settled, I thought you may be interested to know the value of the services we provided to the community at large.

I entered our 2016 Annual Statistics into the Library Value Calculator and received a figure of $311,210. This approximates the total value of a year of library services to the town. This suggests the Library saves

  • each of our 833 (2015 census) permanent residents $373.60,
  • each of our 1500 taxed properties $207.47,
  • and each of our 868 active card holders $258.54.

It’s an approximation, of course, but nevertheless a really impressive number. In contrast, Conway’s population is 10,999 and they show 5,034 card holders. The Langdon Library in Newington indicates 748 permanent residents and 522 registered patrons. (Also about 200 more open hours than Jackson.) In a nutshell, our small town boasts an unusually high number of citizens taking advantage of all library services. It’s not news to those of us who work here – we are really busy!

In 2016 the library once again had an increase in total number of library visits going from 11,264 in 2015 to 15,489 in 2016. Also, attendance at programs counted for an additional 1,460 visits for both children and adult programs. The Friends of the Jackson
Public Library group continue to provide a variety of enjoyable and educational programs. The library had over 100 new patrons join. All patrons enjoyed additional open hours on Sundays thru the summer months. These Sunday’s were well attended and popular for patrons to visit the library for materials or computer or for some air conditioning!

The library was fortunate to be able to add over 300 items to the collection in 2016 for a
value of $7,629. These were very popular items along with the current collection as the library circulation count went higher for 2016 with 14,558 items being checked out over the year. These included adult, young adults and juvenile books. Also, the library lends out videos, music, games and puzzles for the young and old.

The Library participated in the town wide Pumpkin People event for the month of October and the library also participated in the Arts in Bloom popular event. 110 programs were run over the year with 45 being events geared to children. A total of 1,460 attendees enjoyed storytellers, a harpist, a program on dog DNA, and a summer concert. Also, a very popular program was run by Ben Kilham- Living with Bears.

The Jackson library patrons remain active users of the New Hampshire state InterLibrary loan program. A van travels the state delivering requested materials (books or movie videos etc.) to Jackson if a patron would like materials that Jackson does not have. There were 901 items brought to Jackson! Also, Jackson loaned out 357 items to other libraries in the state.

The library’s internet access & computer usage statistics continue strong. The long term computer strategy implemented in 2015 in holding strong and the service the library subscribes to is proving to be very reliable for the patrons. There have been minimal to no outages with the new service. The free Wifi is popular with a range strong enough to extend coverage out into the parking lots. This means that patrons can access free Wifi even during the hours when the library is closed. Providing Wifi and reliable computers are a top priority for the library staff. Also, the library staff are available to assist patrons with questions on technical gadgets. There were 338 patrons who received assist with their devices in 2016.

The Library continues to be a resource for those that need to print – either black & white or in color. Also, library staff can provide faxing services if needed. The Jackson Public Library is fortunate to have a strong volunteer base. These volunteers assist the staff in many different ways- watering plants inside the building and maintaining the outside gardens at the front of the building to shelving books. There are a wide variety of needs for volunteers and a great group of folks that contributed newly 600 hours of volunteer time in 2016.

The Friends of the Jackson Public Library are also a great resource for the library. There was a very successful book sale in May over Memorial Day weekend. The proceeds from this annual event were all donated to the library to supplement the collection budget. This book sale wouldn’t happen without the many volunteers that work tirelessly over the weekend, but this is not just a 1 weekend event. The library receives the book donations over the whole year.

The library continues to be led by an enthusiastic Director, Lichen Rancourt. She and 2 very busy staff members are available to patrons as needed when visiting the library. The library did increase hours experimentally in 2016 and it was very successful for those 8 Sundays in the summer. The plan is to do this again in 2017.

In 2017, the library continues to look to our wonderful group of volunteers and to the Friends of The Jackson Public Library groups to assist us with remaining a vibrant and valuable resource for the whole town of Jackson. The story walks out behind the library will continue this year – stay tuned to the library blog and Jackson Enews for all details and program news. Of course, we welcome suggestions and donations to help provide the best programs and services possible.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Duffy
Library Trustee, Chair

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