2004 was a turning point for Worthington Libraries. It was defined by increasing library use, decreasing funds and the development of a 2005-2008 strategic plan.
Library circulation, our most accurate means of measuring library use, increased 8% in 2004, with Old Worthington Library and Northwest Library each circulating more than 1.2 million items. Since 2000, circulation has increased an incredible 39%! Worthington Libraries now has the 9th highest circulation in the state, behind only the eight metropolitan library systems.
Although libraries thrive when they are heavily used and enjoyed by the people they serve, this increase in demand is unfortunately coupled with a significant loss in funding. 2004 was the first year the Library used its cash reserves to make up the difference between revenue and expenses and will do so again in 2005.
This isn't the first time Worthington Libraries has faced the dilemma of increasing use and reduced funding. At many points throughout its 200-year history, the Library has been in a similar situation and persevered by remaining flexible and maintaining a positive and open dialogue with the community.
In 2004, we began a strategic planning process to chart a course for the library's next stage of development. This process involved the library board, staff and hundreds of community members as we actively sought input, ideas, vision and feedback. A community strategic planning group composed of 13 individuals representing all areas of our service district and various life stages (from teens to seniors) helped us determine the major focus areas for the plan: services, children and families and stewardship.
The 2005-2008 strategic plan is a realistic vision for the future of Worthington Libraries and was written in direct response to the expressed needs of the community. Much of its implementation, however, is dependent upon additional funding.
Even with continued stringent management of our resources, I anticipate the Library will use up most of its cash reserves in 2007. For this reason, the library board plans to place an additional operating levy on the November 2005 ballot.
Whatever the outcome, our plan is to continue to provide our community with the best library service possible.
- We developed a 2005-2008 Strategic Plan. Hundreds of community members, as well as the library staff and board, participated in this process.
- We continued to partner with and support the mission of the Worthington Schools. In 2004, library staff conducted 92 classroom visits for more than 4,000 children.
- Of the library's 1,117 programs presented in 2004, 705 were children's programs attended by 28,428 children and their families.
- We continued our successful partnership with Columbus Metropolitan Library. Northwest Library, managed by Worthington Libraries, is a cooperative project with the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
- The Library continued to present free CyberSchool computer training classes aboard the State Library of Ohio's Mobile Computer Training Lab.
- We formed a community advisory group with representation from the Worthington Schools, Ohio School for the Deaf, Ohio School for the Blind, Sunrise Assisted Living, Northwest Counseling Center, Laurels of Worthington Nursing Home, Griswold Senior Center, Deaf Services Center, AXIS Center for Persons with Disabilities and Share the Vision Council to help us write a successful grant proposal to improve library service to persons with a disability.
- Our list of community partners continued to grow and included such diverse groups as the Columbus Zoo, Ritter's Frozen Custard, Newcomers to Columbus and Cat Welfare.
- 29 staff members were actively involved with 72 community organizations!
- All seven library systems in Franklin County worked together to develop a grant proposal to digitize local historical newspapers.
- The Friends of Worthington Libraries contributed close to $40,000 to support library programs, including the summer reading clubs for children, teens and adults.
- The 200-Year History of Worthington Libraries was published and distributed at the library's annual community breakfast held during National Library Week.
- Over 1,000 people made reservations to attend “The DaVinci Code: the Facts Behind the Fiction,” making it the most successful program in the library's history.
- Mitsuo Kuribara, a librarian from Worthington's Sister City of Sayama, Japan, spent 10 days in Worthington. His trip, coordinated by Worthington Libraries, included visits to the Cleveland Library for the Blind and the State Library of Ohio, as well as a bookmobile ride through Amish country.
- We continued to provide access to millions of books and other materials, 24x7 live reference service and homework help through our web site, www.worthingtonlibraries.org.
2004 in Review
98.89 Full-time Equivalents
An 8% increase over 2003
425,808 items held
64,426 added during 2004
Attended by 34,055 people