Library wraps up celebratory week with new data, info about future plans

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Memorial Library wrapped up National Library Week in fine form Saturday, with a party for children, guests and volunteers.

Library Director Coral Ellshoff also offered an update on some of the library’s programs and recent statistics via a PowerPoint presentation.

Over the last year, the library saw these areas improve, she said:
• A 15-percent increase in cardholders.

• More hours open during the evenings (until 7 p.m. four days a week).

• A 15-percent decrease in the number in books, but there was also an increase in currency, and a seven-percent increase in checkouts of all materials.

• A 13-percent increase in movie titles, with a 13-percent increase of movie checkouts.

• A 12-percent decrease in the juvenile collection, with an overall increase in currency, and a 36-percent increase in checkouts of juvenile books.

• A 36-percent increase in programs offered.

• The library doubled the number of computers available to the public, and it opened its catalog to online browsing and reservations.

As she noted last week, Ellshoff said the library also seeks to hire a person dedicated to youth services, in addition to developing and investing in teen and children’s programming.

Other goals include:
• Drafting a fund-raising plan and beginning an endowment for the library’s long-term funding.

• Improving the layout of the adult fiction and non-fiction works for better browsing.

• Creating ways to help patrons research, such as guides to using the electronic databases and subject area bibliographies.

• Installing tall magazine shelves.

• Improving staff offices and circulations areas for efficiency, storage areas and sight into the children’s area.

Ellshoff also noted that the majority — 36 percent — of the library’s funding comes from private donations.

“Your donations are the main reason the library can do the important community work that it does,” she said, adding that local government — most of which for the 12 borough and townships the library serves — provides 32 percent funding.

Other funding sources include state aid (17 percent); fines and copies (eight percent); Jefferson County (five percent); and interest earned (two percent).

Ellshoff encouraged guests to ask their respective municipalities to donate to the library, if they don’t already.

The library has gone far beyond merely a place to check out books, she said. Today, it is a resource for information from across several mediums, such as print, Web or otherwise.

“If people need information, we help them find information, about jobs, developing ideas and learning,” Ellshoff said. “We help them get information so they can use it and harness it.”

As the calendar pages slip away, and school prepares to wrap up for this year, young people can again look forward to the library’s summer reading program.

“When they’re not in school, it keeps them reading, and it keeps it fun,” Ellshoff said. “If you can get kids to read for fun, you can get them to read when they have to.”