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Libraries Aren’t Dead and Neither is Print

Clearview Library District News

Library Patrons

When technology is running rampant in our everyday lives, it’s easy to fall into an assumption rabbit hole. First, it would be easy to assume that print is dead, which, in the world of books, you would then jump to the conclusion that libraries, the home to the book, are also dead. We can assure you that in the Clearview Library District community, neither are true.children at library

Libraries Are Hubs of Activity

The average American visited the library 10.5 times in 2019, beating out activities like seeing a movie or watching live sports. Library power users are 18-29 year olds, with 15.5 visits. Millennials also use library websites the most of any generation. According to the Colorado Department of Education, in 2018, our community logged 11.12 visits per person, more than national average.

Our community members engage with our library in a variety of ways — from utilizing the Quiet Space as a place to co-work to singing and dancing in storytime, and learning about other cultures through Well Traveled to checking out the latest movie from our collection. From our Strategic Plan survey, we learned that 72.53 percent of respondents use the library for personal knowledge and enrichment, followed by 51.48 percent for leisure time.

We look to meet our patrons through multiple avenues. In 2019, we served 276,370 patrons through our Third Street location (232,150), bookmobile (12,563), and outreach events across the community (31,657). 

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Nationally, Millenials are the largest age group of library visitors.

People Still Read … and Physical Books

Since 1987, the number of people in our service area has grown from 7,648 to 25,948 in 2018, 239 percent. In that same time period, circulation — any physical item check out or renewal — has increased from 54,495 to 367,547, a 574 percent increase.

From 2009 to 2018, we saw circulations of all physical items (books, DVDs, CDs, magazines) per capita increase from 10.25 to 14.16. While our e-material platforms continue to grow, it is not at the expense of physical books. While e-book check outs and renewals grew 34 percent in the last five years, print books for adults grew 10 percent in that same time period and remain a substantially larger portion of circulations (71,563 circulations versus 21,482).

While e-books have increased in popularity, check outs and renewals of print books for adults still far outpace e-books and continue to grow each year.

This is in line with national trends. According to a Pew Research study, 65 percent of Americans read a print book versus the 25 percent that read an e-book in the last 12 months. While 37 percent of those surveyed read only print books (versus 7 percent only digital), 28 percent prefer both print and digital.

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What This Means for Our Future

Feedback from our Strategic Plan engagement process was clear: our community wants more — more programs, more materials. To continue meeting this demand, the Advisory Group determined that Space is an important focus area for 2020-2022. This will involve an evaluation of all opportunities in the coming years — remodeling, renting, building new, shared spaces, etc. 

The Library Board of Trustees took the first steps in the Strategic Plan Implementation Plan, and unanimously voted to hire an architect to conduct an in-depth analysis of our Third Street location. We’ll share updates on the progress and final recommendations in the newsletter, as well as on our Facebook page.