The Waupaca Area Public Library is in the midst of its busiest time of the year.
“With children off of school, they come to the library more often. We have an increase in people who are living in Waupaca during the season, and visitors make the library one of their destinations,” said Library Director Peg Burington.
This time of the year, the library sees a large increase in foot traffic.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 more visitors come to the library per month in the summer than in the winter, Burington said.
Many head downstairs to the children and teen areas.
This year, there are 630 children and 66 teens signed up for summer library programs.
Those programs began June 4 and run through July 27.
Children’s Librarian Sue Abrahamson said the summer library program is about having fun with literacy and making it easy for parents to keep their children reading during the summer.
“Research shows that kids who don’t read over the summer experience a decline in their reading skills, which makes starting school in the fall more of a challenge, as they need to work harder to catch up on those lost skills,” she said.
This year, the children’s department made some changes in the summer program, and Abrahamson said the children and parents seem to be enjoying them.
They are able to move through the eight-week program at their own pace.
There are also additional activities children can participate in to earn credits toward prizes.
These include going on the StoryWalk at Swan Park, attending library programs and playing a weekly game at the library.
Abrahamson says the department’s circulation takes a huge leap in the summer.
Teen/reference Librarian Melissa Carollo said teens can continue to sign up.
“We have button making, Sharpie tie-dye T-shirts and Yupo painting as upcoming craft programs. The teen room has been very busy this summer, with teens staying in the room for hours at a time using computers, playing games and participating in the daily programs,” she said.
She reminds Waupaca High School students that they may pick up copies of their required summer reading books in the teen area.
The Waupaca Area Public Library is also offering a summer program for adults.
On Monday, July 9, adults can begin signing up for the program that is designed for them.
The Adult Summer Reading Program is held to encourage adults to reconnect with reading and to use the library, Burington said.
“Last year, it was gratifying to hear so many adults say they made time for reading by turning off the TV or making a point of reading something just for themselves,” she said. “We all lead very busy lives, and by creating a reading goal, we can make reading a priority.” In 2011, the library’s goal was to get 50 people to participate in the new program.
This year, Burington hopes to double that number.
Participants, who reach their weekly goals, visit the library to record their efforts and choose either a book prize or a chance at one of five grand prizes.
A program is planned for each week in August including an interactive movie, a potluck with a cookbook exchange, a gardening Lunch & Learn, a travel Lunch & Learn and an author visit, she said.
While summer remains the busiest time of year at the library, overall, fewer people are walking through the doors of the Waupaca Area Public Library.
“Patrons are using us differently than they used to,” said Mary Trice, who is the president of the Waupaca Library Board.
People have discovered how easy it is to use the library remotely by renewing their materials over the phone or on the computer, she said.
The library’s 2011 annual report shows a decrease in library visits and an increase in the renewal of library materials.
In 2011, library users made 163,170 visits to the library.
That compares to 178,097 visits in 2010, which was a busy year for the library. That year, the library hosted the Lincoln exhibit and held its first ever book festival.
The number of people visiting the library in 2010 was lower than the approximately 190,000 people who visited it in 2008.
Annual circulation continues to be around 300,000. The library’s all-time circulation high was 305,499 in 2009.
Trice said that in 2011, the average circulation per hour was more than 101 items.
“We still check out more books than music and movies,” she said.
About 46 percent of what was checked out were books and magazines, while 31 percent were movies and video games, 14 percent were renewals, 5 percent was music and 4 percent were audio books.
Since the library is part of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System, people can place holds on items that are at other libraries.
Last year, about 20 percent of all the items checked out came to the library from other libraries through a delivery system that is provided by OWLS.
Almost 124,000 items were loaned and borrowed, with the library, on average, processing 43 holds per hour.
The number of reference questions the library had last year was similar to what it had in 2010.
In 2010, reference questions reached an all-time high of 21,567. In 2011, there were 21,396 reference questions.
The library’s service area is made up of the city of Waupaca and the towns of Dayton, Farmington, Lind and Waupaca.
About 71 percent of the people living in that service area have library cards. About two-thirds of city residents do.
The library’s 2011 annual report shows that there were 12,153 card holders, including 3,986 city residents and 8,162 non-residents.
Each week, an average of 15 new library cards are issued.