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Monroe County Library Sees Increase In Library Card Applications And Online Program Use

The Monroe County Public Library saw an increase of library card applications during the summer. Library Director Sarah Laughlin attributed the sign ups to a summer collaboration with the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

Laughlin told the Board of Trustees on July 16 that the summer reading program was a success.

“We opened it up May 28, so as of June 30 we had 211 people register for Treehouse and 6100 video views that are part of the classes,” Laughlin says. “The first month’s traffic is really all library traffic.”

Laughlin highlighted an aspect of the website offerings called Treehouse, an online learning platform with a focus on the design and development of websites and mobile apps.

Laughlin said that an increased presence on the internet has paid off with increased library traffic as well as library card sign ups.

Monroe County Public Library To Change And Expand Hours

The Monroe County Public Library will be change hours starting on Labor Day.

The Library’s Board of Trustees voted June 18 to add two extra hours on Sundays, meaning the Library will soon be open from noon until 6 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said the administration has been wanted to expand Sunday hours for years.

“In 2012 when we did a community survey, what would you choose to change our services,” Laughlin says. “Number one, of course, was fix parking. But number three was expand weekend hours.”

Laughlin said the city’s parking meters also motivated the change. Parking is free on Sundays. To help offset the cost of the change, the Library cut an hour from its Friday schedule. It will open at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Fridays.

The Board also voted to push back its schedule on Saturdays. The building will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays instead of 9  to 5.

The changes take effect September 1.

Monroe County Library Suffering From Paying Parking Meters

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Last week the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed the negative effect parking meters are having on library patrons.

Board member Stephen Moberly referred to the library’s circulation numbers, which have declined since the downtown meters were installed in August.

“Looking at the chart, we had a slight decrease last year of half of one percent. This year, we had a 3.3% decrease,” Moberly said, “I think it’s attributed to one thing, though it may not be politically correct to say. The parking meters, I think, have been devastating to the library. You can come and see around the block that no cars are parked there, and there always were before because they were our patrons. Some retail merchants have closed and suffered because of the meters, but the library is suffering too.”

Board President Valerie Merriam says the library should tell the City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan about what effect the meters have had. She says circulation hasn’t dropped this much in almost two decades.

“There is a general decline to everything that is related with coming in to the library,” Merriam said.

Moberly suggested that these are people that might not have the money to feed the meters, and that they should let city hall know about these concerns.

Library Director Sara Laughlin says she would convey those concerns to city officials. But Laughlin says she doesn’t have any short term solutions to reverse the effects.

“I think we’ve done what we can do in helping people find places to park,” Laughlin said, “In fact, I know that the parking finder page on our website is still one of the top pages on the site. Longer term, it would be great to have a second branch with lots of parking, otherwise we just can’t increase our parking capacity downtown.”

The library has also considered expanding hours on Sundays, when the city does not require drivers to pay the meters.

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