Use of the Coshocton Public Library was up in 2021 from 2020, but still down from before the COVID-19 pandemic except in the area of digital materials.
Jennifer Austin, library director, recently presented an annual report to Coshocton County Commissioners giving information for the main library, West Lafayette Branch, and bookmobile for last year.
The number of digital materials borrowed for 2021 was 68,035, up about 35% from 2019. Austin knows the pandemic affected that, but she doesn’t see digital borrowing plateauing anytime soon as we continue to live in an online and technology-heavy world.
“The pandemic certainly helped to promote our digital services,” Austin said. “People are still using the library, they’ve just found new ways to use library services.”
However, the library is still reaching people via traditional means. A unique offering that many library systems don’t have is a bookmobile, which had 373 visits in 2021. Austin said the bookmobile is an important part of the library’s outreach to school districts and the Amish community.
“Those are big stops for us. We get lots of circulation and see lots of families, a lot of large families, coming and borrowing materials,” Austin said of the Amish. “Because it serves different types of demographics, the collection changes with those stops. The bookmobile collection is larger than what’s just on the bus.”
The library also had nearly 90 agencies and businesses contributing partnerships or involvement with the library last year. This was primarily in sponsoring programming. The library had 792 programs in 2021 for adults, teens, and children.
“We have limited funding, so anytime we can partner to make programs happen or services happen, it’s beneficial and I think the community wins,” she said.
During the meeting with commissioners, Austin was asked about possibly placing an electric vehicle charging station in the library’s rear parking lot. Austin said she would take the matter to the library board for review. Commissioners are acquiring three charging stations, which can do two vehicles at once, with two to be placed in Roscoe Village. They would like the other somewhere downtown.