Check It Out – North Shore Public Libraries Speak Volumes About the Economy

‘When the economy goes south circulation goes up,” says Kay Grabbe, Lake Forest’s librarian, where overall traffic has increased 33 percent from last year.

Reflecting trends seen across the country, North Shore library use has reached record levels this year according to statistics gathered by the North Sub-
urban Library System.

Here is a sampling of what our librarians are reporting for the first nine months of 2009 compared to the same time in 2008:

  • Deerfield’s library is so busy some days that they run out of seating space. Overall circulation is up 17.6 percent.
  • Traffic is up more than 10.5 percent at Evanston’s library with  “increased activity across the board.”
  • Adult reference questions are up almost 19 percent at Glenview’s library while adult and youth programming has increased more than 18 percent.
  • Morton Grove has seen a 32 percent increase in magazine readership and a 26 percent increase in adult video game circulation.
  • Circulation of DVDs is up 41 percent at the Park Ridge Library.
  • Highland Park reports its greatest increased activity has been in its film and music collections.
  • Skokie’s library has seen a 30 percent overall increase in circulation.
  • DVD checkouts have soared by almost 60 percent at the Winnetka-Northfield public library.
  • Circulation of adult fiction and fiction audio books is up 19 percent in Glencoe where overall traffic has increased 17 percent.

“People are trying to get the most for their dollars, and libraries are one of the best values in town,” says Mary Pergander, Deerfield’s public library director.

In fact, Deerfield has seen an almost 60 percent increase in overall patronage since September, 2007.

Pergander believes another reason for the booming business libraries are experiencing is their rediscovery by adults.

“Libraries are like Disneyworld for adults,” she says referring to the vast array of information and entertainment libraries hold both in printed matter and in collections on a range of digital media.

Help your library grow. Donate books, movies and CD’s to your local Friends of the Library who hold periodic sales of donated items to raise money for special library projects.