Substantial Growth Seen in Library Patronage

Substantial Growth Seen in Library Patronage

SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Sweetwater County Library System continues to be a place to be, reporting double digit growth in many areas over fiscal year 2022.

According to Lindsey Travis, the director of the SCLS, total circulation increased from the prior year by 11%, with 254,476 total items checked out. Of that, 193,403 were physical materials – a number that is 5.5% higher than the prior year and 61,073 digital materials. Travis said the digital materials were mostly audio books provided by services available to library patrons.

“We’re able to provide hundreds of thousands of materials to people here in Sweetwater County,” Travis said.

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Attendance to library programs also had growth over the prior years. Travis said programs in fiscal year 2023 and attendance of 33,823, representing a 36% increase in numbers from the prior year. Of the programs hosted, 618 were aimed at children, 101 were geared towards teenagers, and 24 were for adults. The library hosts many re-occurring events throughout its main branches, including Toddler Time and Story Time. Travis said the library system had nearly 6,000 people attend library programs, which is the largest number the system has seen in many years.

“I’ve worked at the library system for 10 years and I’m pretty sure that’s the largest number we’ve had,” Travis said.

The summer reading program hosted by the library is one of the biggest events it hosts during the year. She said 1,458 youth readers signed up, with 67% completing the program by reading for at least 200 minutes. Travis said 922 adults signed up, which is 260 more than the prior year.

Travis credits the employees at the library system for creating unique and interesting events that draw people to the libraries and keep them learning and reading.

We’ve had a pretty good year,” Travis said.

Other offerings include the seed library at White Mountain Library, which allows residents to pick up seeds for their garden each year, and the library system’s senior outreach program. Travis said the outreach program delivers books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs to Sweetwater County’s homebound residents.

“Sometimes (the librarian) is the only person that those citizens see every month,” Travis said.

One new service the library has added is a collection of puzzles for residents to check out at the Sweetwater County Library in Green River. The puzzle collection joins the library’s collection of board games available to patrons. Travis said the collection has become very popular, which has resulted in the system planning its first puzzle race for January.