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“Just the facts, Ma’am.” (Sergeant Joe Friday)

Although I’m not usually drawn to numbers, the library’s quarterly reports are always interesting reading. These are public, of course, and available on the library’s website folded into the annual report.

One of the best reads of the quarterly report tells us something about who we, the patrons, are. It’s all in the circulation. Take a look, keeping in mind that we didn’t lock down until mid-March of 2020 for comparison.

Circulation is the heart and soul of the library. When we add up the circulation for the first quarter of 2020, it is 15,799. Then wham! We were in the midst of a pandemic – yet during the first quarter of 2021, we managed a circulation of 12,515. How does that break down? I’m glad you asked.

Three major parts of the library’s collections that patrons use most are Adult Fiction, Electronic books (which often are adult fiction), and Children’s books. Adult fiction was 3227 in 2020’s first quarter, but only fell to 2766 in 2021, only a decline of 461. That means people took the time to call or otherwise order the books they wanted to read from the library and picked them up or, toward the end, ventured onto the premises.

No surprise, electronic books are more popular by the year and pretty convenient even in a pandemic. Last year the circulation of e-books was 3372 and this year’s first quarter showed 3077 e-books circulated, a difference of only 295.

Children’s books also occupy that top three tier of circulated books. In 2020, circulated children’s books numbered 3696 and saw a small decrease in 2021 of 323.

In other words, while the library like everything else saw a numbers decline, it was clearly still in business.

Do you ever wonder what other categories are in our collection?

Puzzles! And puzzles soared from 96 in 2020 to 115 in 2021. Were you, dear patrons, busy doing puzzles during the pandemic? Some of you were.

There are also Tween books, another pretty popular category. In 2020, Tween circulation was 1173 as opposed to 2021 at 935. A reduction yes, but of 238.

Other categories are magazines, audio books, DVD’s, Young Adult books, Adult Non-fiction, Large Print books and MeL. Surely all these categories and their circulation numbers are good conversation for who we are in Frankenmuth. We don’t even need to get into which resources and books are checked out to learn something about ourselves. We are fiction readers and also non-fiction readers (but less of it) whose children of all ages read. We read in every format now – paper, e-books, large print, and standard. Frankenmuth reads.

The library also measures other resources. The first quarter of 2021 saw 619 people signing up for a session on our computers. The more amorphous resource, WIFI, is impossible to track, but it is available and used. Some of these categories overlap. Most large print books are also held as standard print books, for example. Lots of books are in multiple formats.

Just as important, the library managed to have events that people took advantage of. The quick list includes Zoom programs (birds, kids’ cooking, Books for Lunch).

Please keep a look out in your mailbox in a couple weeks for our Spring/Summer Newsletter. One of the highlights is that all three reading challenge cards are in it and can be clipped out and used – separate ones for Adults, Teens, and Kids. Although Summer Reading won’t look like the same massive gathering of kids that we are used to having, it will keep us all busy, reading, on the move, and challenging ourselves. We know you’ll join in.

We are heading into a good summer of fun this year.

See you at the Library!

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