Increase in Sewickley library use touted as need for help cited
As circulation numbers grow and usage increases, so, too, do costs to operate the Sewickley Public Library, leaders say.
In an appeal to Quaker Valley school board members last week, library Director Carolyn Toth and board of directors President Wayne Murphy touted increases to circulation, higher numbers of program attendance and increases of personal donations.
But they noted the need for routine maintenance upgrades — new carpet and replacing an aging boiler — and the consideration of a marketing coordinator position.
School directors allocate $497,000 of the library's nearly $1 million budget. They've given the same amount to the library for four years, Murphy said.
“Obviously, we've got a place to use it,” he said. “We would like to see more of that. We also know that in the past — when we've had issues — that the school district has stepped up to help a great deal.”
So far, $497,000 again is allocated for the library in the 2014-15 budget. School directors will finalize next year's budget in June.
“All I can say is, we appreciate the help,” Murphy said.
“As you know, we would like to have more.”
Circulation for books, DVDs and movies reached 329,000 last year, Toth said. The library's personal collection includes about 91,000 items.
More than 3.4 million usage minutes were recorded on desktop computers — up 11.5 percent from the previous year, she said.
“Which is kind of amazing to me, with the advent of people with their own devices,” Toth said. “What we're seeing is a lot of wireless use, but still they're coming for our desktops.”
Attendance for library programming increased nearly 2 percent — to 255,000 people overall attending more than 1,500 programs.
The library offers programming ranging from storytime for babies to youth-, teen- and adult-oriented offerings, including about 1,400 tutoring sessions offered last year.
“We are seeing people from as far away as Bethel Park and Fox Chapel come to the Sewickley Public Library to be tutored, and we can't quite figure out why,” Toth said.
As the library's purpose evolves from primarily a book depot to a community center, Toth said the library continues to help more adults seeking jobs.
“We provide a lot of resume help for job-seekers, (and) we help people with cover letters,” she said.
Interest in computer programming classes for older adults and assistance devices, such as tablets and smartphones, continue to increase, Toth said.
To continue offering the types of programs the library does, she and Murphy said more space is required.
As use rises, so, too, are individual donations, Murphy said. Personal giving exceeded $110,000 last year.
But Murphy and Toth said donations could increase more if library leaders had a designated staff member to help.
“That's why we're looking at a marketing position,” Murphy said. “We have to tell the message. We have to be very clear on the way we tell it to the community on the value that we provide.”
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Howard Hanna to raze damaged Sewickley office building, rebuild
- Hoeys Run project holding up Sewickley theater project
- Departing Sewickley couple wants to leave seeds of hope behind
- Quaker Valley board aims to clarify policies on communication, who can drive students
- Halloween activities scheduled around the Sewickley Valley
- Koch: Age gracefully? Nope — gonna fight it every step of the way
- Future of former St. James Convent remains unclear
- Integrity at heart of long-standing Sewickley auto shop