New Record Set in Book Circulation
Gibbs Library checked out 251,267 books in 2000, up 4% from the 240,147 books checked out last year. While the current building has reached capacity, Gibbs' circulation shows no sign of slowing. Increased demand means we must find room for more books at Gibbs until the new library can be built. Euchee Creek circulated 90,705 books, down from 95,043 last year, while Harlem circulated 31,335, down from 36,957 in 1999. Overall, 373,307 books were checked out at the Columbia County libraries, an increase over 1999's record 372,147.
Computer and Internet Use Increases
Public computer use, including internet, increased 8% this year at the libraries. Patrons spent 5,137 hours on the internet at Gibbs, 1,879 hours at Euchee Creek and 829 at Harlem, for a total 7,844 hours. As internet demand increased, public computers were used less for word-processing, since there are only so many computers available. 476 patron hours were spent on non-internet computer use at Gibbs, 261 at Euchee Creek, and 53 at Harlem, for a total 790 hours, down from 1,189 last year. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated four new computers to the Harlem Library; the donation included a content server, a networked printer, and two days of staff training.
Getting Ready for PINES
In late 2001, we'll be joining PINES, Georgia's statewide circulation system for public libraries. Your new PINES card can then be used in any library in the state. In 2000, the Columbia County Libraries received forty new computers from the State of Georgia as part of the PINES project. The state funds all hardware and software.
Genealogy was a focus area in 2000. We expanded this section to include non-print materials, videos and microfilm, and increased book holdings. This collection will be housed in a Georgia Heritage Room in the new library. Meanwhile, the reference collection rapidly outgrew its shelves at Gibbs Library and by the end of the year, almost one-third of it was stored on top of existing shelves. 4,632 reference questions were answered at Gibbs Library, 1,780 at Euchee Creek, and 842 at Harlem, for a total of 7,254 information inquiries.
Adult programs in 2000 included Spanish Lessons at Gibbs and Euchee Creek, the book discussion group for adults,and the LIFE literacy training program. For young adults, the library held a reading contest, "You've Seen the Movie, Now Read the Book." 599 people attended adult programs at Gibbs Library and 437 at Euchee Creek, for a total 1,036. Children's programs in 2000 included storytimes at Gibbs and Euchee Creek, Twodler Time for 2-year-olds, daycare storytime, After-Hours storytime for families, the Summer Reading Program, special guest programs like the Savannah River Site Reptiles and puppeteers Ben and Keeter, "Peter and the Wolf" at storytime in cooperation with the Augusta Ballet, the Reading Challenge to encourage children in grades 4-8 to build their reading skills, and outreach programs to the many local schools. 8,056 children attended programs at Gibbs, 3,656 at Euchee Creek, and 700 at Harlem for a total 12,412 at the three Columbia County Libraries.