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Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County
Serving Jefferson County, Ohio Since 1899
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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

State Library Report

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, April 01, 2018

About the end of January each year, I used to receive a large packet from the State Library of Ohio containing the State Library Report.

 

Each public library district in Ohio is required by state law to complete a report for the State Library for the previous year.

 

About 20 years ago, the process began to change to a computerized form which is submitted online.

 

A library colleague of mine expressed her desire that eventually all of this data could be gathered with the push of one button on her computer and the report would be completed and sent off to the State Library.

 

Well, some of the individual reports are gathered and compiled by computers, but there are now so many different reports from so many sources that her dream is no closer today than two decades ago.

 

Computers have certainly aided in the collection of the checkout and checkin of standard books, done without those 3 x 5 cards of years ago, but the function of public libraries has grown and expanded to all kinds of services and function with the report taking more work than the days of typewriters and paper forms.

 

Let me share with you some of the statistics from your library system for 2017.

 

Our library system has over 33,000 active library card accounts using the 7 library buildings and Bookmobile in our county, including some online school accounts.

 

About 20 percent of the users are children, a low number compared to all of Ohio, but expected with the higher-than-average population age of Jefferson County.

 

Our 7 buildings have in excess of 50,000 sq. ft. of public library space, which will expand at the end of 2018 with the completion of the Main Library Project.

 

We operate a Bookmobile, which is becoming more unique in Ohio with the 29 counties of SE Ohio only having Bookmobiles in about one-third of the counties.

 

Your public library system operates 135 public computers with an additional 40 staff computers.

 

 Those computers experienced a quarter million uses last year, in addition to 77,000 uses of our public Wi-Fi in all locations.

 

Your library system has 66 employees, a number that has changed recently with the closure of the Main Library for renovation and construction.

 

At the end of 2017, our system had a collection of 189,956 books; 25,003 DVDs; 12,861 audio books; 58,874 downloadable audio books; and 269,585 eBooks.

 

The library system contracted for 85 online databases for public use through the library’s webpage.

 

The Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County has part of the SEO Library System and shares our collection with 93 other library systems in Ohio.

 

In 2017, we shared over 100,000 items with the customers of those libraries, and received 145,000 items in return from those library collections.

 

Each week, our library system averages more than 1,200 questions from the public in person, by phone, and by computer.

 

I have always pointed out that public library systems are one of the few places where real people work at the desk and answer your questions in person.

 

In total, your library system transacted nearly one and a half million items, downloads, access points, questions, and program attendance in 2017.

 

If you aren’t currently using one of your public libraries in the county, just look what you are missing!

 

And yes, people still use public libraries even with the Internet.