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Massena Public Library officials concerned about low circulation numbers

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MASSENA - Massena Public Library officials say that, while they’re happy to see more visitors to their facility, they’re concerned that circulation numbers are on the decline.

“Last month I decided it wasn’t a trend. Now I am concerned that it is a trend,” Library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer told trustees this week.

The number of library visits for January to August 2013 are 79,074, up from 73,820 from January to August 2012. However, visits year-on-year have dropped from 9,915 in August 2012 to 8,725 in August 2013.

“Visits are steady,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

She noted circulation has dropped from 69,394 from January to August 2012 to 67,927 from January to August this year. Again, the library saw a decrease year-to-year, from 9,125 in August 2012 to 7,318 in August 3013.

Among the decreases they are seeing is in adult fiction, where circulation dropped from 3,303 in August 2012 to 2,706 in August 2013. Adult non-fiction also dropped from 694 in August 2012 to 538 in August 2013.

“There are not as many books as would like to have in our collection,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

The juvenile area has also seen a decline, with juvenile fiction circulation declining from 1,745 in August 2012 to 1,318 in August 2013, and juvenile non-fiction dropping from 212 in August 2012 to 155 in August 2013.

Computer usage likewise dropped from 1,730 in August 2012 to 1,484 last month.

This year’s circulation numbers have bounced up and down, starting with 9,397 in January, to 7,694 in February, 9,181 in March, 9,232 in April, 8,954 in May, 7,894 in July, 8,257 in July and 7,318 in August.

Library visits followed the same trend, with 10,090 in January, 11,450 in February, 9,524 in March, 11,023 in April, 11,013 in May, 8,125 in June, 9,124 in July and 8,725 in August.

On the flip side, eBook circulation rose from 69 in August 2012 to 178 last month, but that’s an area where board members had previously decided not to focus too much of their attention.

Now, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said, perhaps they should concentrate on that area.

“The one bright spot is eBooks. Perhaps we need to reconsider it and steer the library toward online books and magazines. Potsdam recently started eMagazines. I would like to see how that is dong. I think it’s something we can consider,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.

She told board members she would like to put together a brochure that explains eBooks and see if patrons have any favorite authors they would like to see in the library’s collection.

“It’s a trend I feel we need to do something about. We have to meet the needs of the community. That’s our purpose,” she said.

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