Hortonville library’s usage growing
New library director shares successes, challenges
By John Faucher
The Hortonville Public Library is partnering with the village’s senior activities committee in a new effort to deliver books to the elderly.
It’s one of many new programs in the works at the growing village library, says Alexandrea Krause who has served as the library’s director since February.
Library staff recently began exploring a program aimed at delivering items to local assisted living facilities.
“We want to bring some items there so that people who are not able to make it to the library still have access to these resources,” said Krause.
“Fundamentally that’s what libraries do is provide free open access to these resources for people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.”
Krause said staff is currently working on a trial run of the program with one of two local care facilities in the village, but they soon hope to expand the program to both facilities.
“There is definitely a need out there,” says Krause.
She and five part-time staff at the library constantly strive to develop programming that appeals to all age groups and members of the community.
“We definitely take into consideration what our patrons want. We’re here to serve our community and that’s really our focus,” said Krause.
This year the library had 984 patrons sign up for the summer reading program.
“Of those, 684 were children. That is a huge upswing from last year. Our program totals were amazing,” she said.
Story time programs on Wednesdays and Fridays have also been popular.
“On those days, we have a lot of people coming through the door. It’s really great to see how many families are bringing their kids to story times. Not only is it benefiting their literacy skills but also their social and early learning skills,” said Krause.
The library has seen an overall increase in programming attendance for all age groups.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” she said.
The library’s circulation has also grown.
Annual circulation increased by 11,000 items from 2016 to 2017. That’s an important number, Krause said.
“That’s a number that is used to determine a portion of our county funding. It’s really indicative of our performance as a library and as a staff,” she said. “We all love what we do and it shows.”
The Hortonville Public Library contains 28,495 items in its collection. It is also a member of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System, a network of libraries containing more than 1.5 million titles and items for circulation.
Krause said circulation varies throughout the year, but she keeps an eye on the numbers each month.
“We’re hoping to see another increase this year,” Krause said.
Libraries submit an annual report to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Hortonville has experienced continued circulation growth since opening the new library in 2014.
Krause said the success of growth is always welcome but can sometimes come with challenges.
“Our biggest thing right now is finding storage for our Friends of the Library book sale items,” Krause said.
Friends and residents donate books and materials weekly, and if the library is unable to add them to their collection, then they go to the book sale, which in turn funds the purchase of future collection items.
Currently the Friends of the Library group has one annual book sale per year in the community center.
Last year the group found that partnering the book sale date with the village-wide rummage sale weekend was effective for driving up sales.
Krause also said the library is working with the village to share some storage room at the municipal center.
Other ideas have included using old books and periodicals to create art.
Krause said she feels fortunate to work at a fresh library with a creative and passionate staff. She recently moved to Hortonville from Appleton.
“I love it here. It has a small community feel and everybody supports everybody. It’s wonderful,” Krause said.
Libraries have changed with modern society.
“There is some debate whether libraries are declining because of eBooks and other electronic resources, but we’re actually finding the opposite because we provide not only books and a social aspect, we’re providing computer resources and electronic media that were not available before.
“Libraries have really developed into more of a community space with active programming where people can safely spend time and have free resources available to them,” Krause said.