Technology sparks growth for library

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By Max King
Holt Journal staff writer

HOLT—The Holt-Delhi Library has seen significant growth because of its technology according to a recapping of 2011 at the Delhi Township Board meeting on Oct. 16.

The library’s electronic book (e-book) use was the highlight of the year as it increased 238 percent from 2010, according to Head Librarian Jolee Hamlin.

Hamlin said the mobility of e-books is the reason there was a large increase.

“People have that expectation of being able to move around with their resources and the ease of use makes it nice,” said Hamlin.

Vice Chairwoman Deb Bloomquist said another reason e-books were successful was because of the holidays.

“We had a really big jump in January because a lot of people got the devices for Christmas gifts,” said Bloomquist.

Bloomquist said e-books are free at the Holt-Delhi Library but patrons do have to buy their own e-reader.

People who want to learn how to use e-readers can be taught through the library said Library Director Maureen Hirten.

“We do instruction on showing people how to use the devices,” said Hirten.

Hirten said the library teaches people how to use the Nook, an e-reader, as well as how to download e-books.

The library also uses social media to connect with its followers. It has a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel with more than 150 videos.

The library’s web pages reached more than 85,000 hits by the end of the year and were responsible for eight percent of total visits, according to Hamlin.

Patrons can also use a self-checkout system which allows them to scan their library card and book without the assistance of a staff member.

Hamlin said self-checkouts grew 66 percent and accounted for 40 percent of total checkouts.

Hamlin said the increase in self-checkouts does not eliminate positions on the library staff but does free up time for the staff to be available for other tasks.

The Holt-Delhi Library was one of the first libraries in the Capital areas to have self-checkouts. Only four other libraries in the area that provide the service, according to Hirten.

Though this technology has allowed access to services without having to step foot in the library, patrons have not been scarce.

Hamlin said the library had over 216,000 walk-ins, an increase of 26 percent and she credits that to the patrons.

“I think this is a very dearly loved library and community.” -Jolee Hamlin.

The library does a lot of outreach for the community such as story times for children, said Hamlin.

Delhi Township Trustee John Hayhoe said he was pleased with the success the library had in 2011.

“We really appreciate the library,” said Hayhoe.

Upcoming events for the library include a business exposition, a December open house and a new winter book club.

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