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.
98.89 Full-time Equivalents
An 8% increase over 2003
425,808 items held
64,426 added during 2004
Attended by 34,055 people