A Week at the Library

A Week at the Library

by Anastasia Tuckness

When the Library’s Annual Report comes out, it’s great fun to read the massive numbers—the Library owns 241, 210 physical items! The Library circulated 776, 917 physical items! But what does that really look like over any given week? And what happens in the back of the library, the part you don’t see? I joined the Resource Services team recently after a long stint in the Youth Services department, and even I was astonished at what goes on back here. Here’s what I found out, as I learned my job and my team’s job and dove into the numbers.

In one year (2022-23), we processed 26, 983 items—that means we took almost 27, 000 books, DVDs, videogames, etc. etc. and got them ready to circulate (check out) by putting them in the computer catalog with all the appropriate codes and references to make them easy to find, affixing all the appropriate spine labels, stickers and stamps to show where they should go on the shelf, and applying covers to make them last longer. That means that, every week, we process over 500 items! At the same time, the Librarians in charge of collections are ordering new materials and considering which ones need to be withdrawn. On average, they weed (or remove) 468 items per week, to try to keep the collections up-to-date and in good shape.

In addition, over the year, we repaired 14, 559 items, or 280 items in a typical week. Repairs include buffing scratched CDs and DVDs, mending spines, and taping pages—basically taking items that are in such bad condition that they are unusable and fixing them so reading or watching them is a pleasure again instead of a pain. (Pro tip: See a Library item in poor repair? Bring it in to us, don’t try to repair it yourself. We have excellent tools and tricks for repairs!)

Once the materials are out on the shelves, they start circulating. Every week, 14, 941 physical items are checked out, just from our library. We have 45, 192 registered users doing all that reading and watching. And our annual door count is 317, 020 (6,096 per week). Actually, even the weekly numbers are hard to wrap your mind around! Our library is super busy!

The last number I’ll highlight is 0, which equals the amount of overdue fines charged by Ames Public Library. Come visit us and add to our amazing weekly totals!