Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
No matter what the time of year, no matter what the circumstance, it seems like all the people in the Cleveland area want to talk about is the Cleveland Browns! Forget about the fact that the Browns are one of the few teams that have never made it to the Super Bowl. Forget about the Indians, even if they are doing well or have had a great off-season. Forget about politics and world affairs. People just want to talk about the Browns!
Well, you would think that there is no way that Shaker Library could compete with the Browns. But did you know that 540,371 people visited the Library in 2012 while only 533,058 attended the Browns eight home games during last year’s regular season? In fact, Shaker Library outdrew 15 NFL teams!
On average, each Shaker Library visitor checked out 2.3 items from our collections at the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch. Overall, 1,244,692 books, videos, and other materials, both physical and virtual, were borrowed last year. That amounts to 38.3 items per man, woman, and child in the Shaker Library service area—one of the top rates in the nation for a community our size or larger—and 10 more than the number of TDs (28) the Browns scored all last season!
If all the items circulated to our customers last year were laid end to end (assuming an average height of 9 inches), they would stretch more than 311,000 yards—more than the length of a thousand football fields and 50% further than the 2012 offensive yardage gained by all NFL team combined!
The Browns ran about a thousand plays from scrimmage in 2012, but we outdid that! Shaker Library ran more than 1,500 programs last year that were attended by more than 32,000 people. That means, on average, each person in our district attended one program during the year.
Though our circulation dropped by 2.9% over 2011, we did not fumble the ball away or give up interceptions like the Browns did at a 30% higher rate last year than in 2011! The Browns did have modest increases in passing, rushing, and even scoring, but none of their stats compares to the large increases Shaker Library had in downloadable and computer use. We established an all-time record of 178,460 computer sessions in 2012- an 18% increase over the previous record in 2011. 23,232 e-materials were downloaded, marking a 70% increase! This virtual material now represents nearly 2% of our circulation.
The Cleveland Browns may be running the ball a bit more often lately, but Shaker Library is also trending back to its “bread and butter”—books! In recent years, non-print material, especially videos, has gained ground on print, but 2012 saw a reversal of that trend. Although non-print still accounts for 52.7% of material checked out, print material was up .5% for the year.
Over the next few months, people in Cleveland will be talking about the Browns. The NFL Draft is approaching in April. Shaker Library will be moving ahead, too, as we begin to offer self-checkout on April 2. Come by and check it out yourself! And help us maintain our lead on the Browns!