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Norma Anders Public Library sees increased use
September 20, 2019

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According to statistics released by Norma Anders Public Library, the library has seen a significant increase in use and attendance of programs over the 2019 fiscal year and reported their findings to the Dysart City Council.

The library reported that 12,356 people walked into the library in 2019, up from 6,579 in 2016. The report detailed that program attendance grew from 744 people in 2016 to 1,753 in 2019. According to the report, the number of programs more than doubled from 64 to 143 in that same timespan as the library offered 103 children, 6 teen and 34 adult programs over the course of the fiscal year.

"We've been working hard to offer more programs and materials than ever," Janene Krug, Library Director said. "Our goal is to make people feel welcome and that there is something for everyone in our library. Patrons can enjoy a cup of coffee while looking at magazines, spend a few minutes putting together our community jigsaw puzzle, or find the latest best-sellers. Families and children can find a variety of children's books and activities."

Another factor Krug believes has contributed to recent growth is the increased programming at Norma Anders Public Library. A third book discussion group for adults was launched this year, and the library offers craft programs like card-making, coloring, informational programs. They have a year-round weekly story time and a summer reading program in addition to after school and holiday programs.

"We try to offer fun reading programs for patrons of all ages. We've done Blind Date with a Book, Reading Bingo and Post-It Note Book Reviews," Krug said. "We encourage early childhood literacy with our on-going preschool reading program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. These are all in addition to our summer reading challenges, keeping reading even more fun year round. We love it when families and kids use the library and have been trying new children's programs, like game days, scavenger hunts, and building programs."

Krug was hired in February of 2017 by the Library Board, who have been "thrilled" with the Dysart native's performance. Jule Schmidt, a member of the Library Board, stated she was pleased the increase in programming over the past two and half years.

"When we hired Janene, our goal was for her to offer more programming for the library," Schmidt said. "She has special programming for all ages and that keeps people coming into the door if they know there's more for them to do."

Enhancements in the children's area have offered more for kids during visits. The library has three areas for kids to build and create in their MakerSpace: a Lego table, craft table and writing center. According to Krug, MakerSpace centers are becoming more popular in libraries across the country.

"We change out the activities with different projects and themes," Krug said. "I see more and more kids and families stopping in to get books and to see what's new in the MakerSpace."

Norma Anders library offers a wide variety of reading materials such as magazines, local newspapers, books and audio books. If someone is interested in an item the library does not carry, they are able to get a copy either through an interlibrary loan or by purchasing it for their collection. The digital resources available through the statewide shared collection provide even more choices with digital books, audio books and magazines. All patrons need is a library card to access these resources.

"Libraries offer patrons more than reading materials," Krug said. "We have seen an increase in DVD circulation and are expanding our DVD collection with donations and suggestions from patrons. We have other items like jigsaw puzzles and very soon hope to add cake pans. We have three educational backpacks with STEM activities for patrons to checkout thanks to a partnership with IPTV, The Coons Foundation and the Max and Helen Guernsey Charitable Foundation."

Norma Anders Public Library recently added a monthly program, Bibliomania, featuring seasonal crafts, challenges and games. This drop-in program will be available the first week of each month. The annual Halloween party is coming up next month, keeping Krug and staff busy thinking up new games, especially for older elementary students.

I keep seeing ideas I'd like to try so who knows what we might offer next," Krug said. "Our library trustees have been very supportive and I'm very thankful for the support of the city council and the community."

Schmidt hopes that the community continues to enjoy the library and continues to grow with Dysart.

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