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St. Paul Municipal Library sees continued growth over the past year

The St. Paul Municipal Library is seeing an increase in the number of users accessing resources.
The St. Paul Municipal Library continues to be a popular place for residents to visit. / Photo supplied

ST. PAUL - The St. Paul Municipal Library has seen an increase in active library card users and in-person traffic over the past year.

In March, librarian Eunhye Cho offered Town of St. Paul council an annual report. She noted that active card users have increased by 9.8 per cent, which means there are 977 active library cardholders.

Also notable, the library's in-person traffic has increased by 25 per cent, with over in-person 25,000 visits recorded, and its online traffic has increased by by 12 per cent.

The library's material is also being circulated more. Circulation of materials increased by 8.5 per cent.

Public computer usage has increased by 14 per cent and Wi-Fi usage increased by 43 per cent in 2023, according to a summary handout presented by Cho.

According to the report presented, library staff are also being asked more reference questions, which correlates to the increase in computer use, since people ask questions when they use the technology. 

Last year, the library shifted back to in-person programming and offered less virtual programs, while also increasing the number of program sessions. The library recorded that a total of 7,642 people attended the library's programs in 2023, which is a 31 per cent increase.

In 2023, the library's goals included purchasing books to expand its collection based on results from its diversity audit. 

"In the collection diversity audit, it was revealed that library’s picture book collection was lacking in books featuring Filipino culture despite having sizable Filipino population in the area," reads the library report. Several picture books purchased by the library feature humans as main protagonist with a Filipino main character.

The library's board game collection was also expanded in 2023.

The second goal in 2023 was to offer programs based on feedback from the 2022 Year End Survey, which was also achieved. Programs such as Lego day, a Mario Kart tournament, and stuff animal sleepover were held at the library. 

Several ongoing programs remained popular at the library, such as the "Take and Makes" program. In 2023, the library gave out 1,888 Take & Make kits to community members.

In 2023, Phin - a veiled chameleon - also became the newest resident at the library. 

Although the library could not fill its Summer Reading Program coordinator position, the Summer Reading Program went ahead with volunteers and community partners who stepped in, according to Cho. "We were able to fill our calendar with lots of programs and events throughout the summer."

One other notable change made by the library in 2023 in response to feedback from the public is a change to the operating hours. On Thursdays, the library is now open at 9:30 a.m. instead of the usual 10 a.m. to accommodate people who want to stop by earlier in the day.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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