Reader friendly: Cleveland library continues growth

Reader friendly: Cleveland library continues growth

February 28th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

CLEVELAND, Tenn.-After a complete remodeling and the addition of 20,000 square feet a year ago, use of the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library continues to increase.

Circulation from July to December 2010 jumped 13.8 percent over the same period a year earlier, according to library numbers.

Use of the new community room and electronic books continues to grow, too, library personnel said.

As the city and county governments prepare for a new budget-writing season, the library board is making its requests known to both.

Library board Chairman Steve Robinson said Friday that he and Library Director Andrew Hunt "promised to come back to them after we had been reopened for about a year and talk to them about where we need to go."

Hunt and Robinson made a presentation to the Bradley County Commission two weeks ago. They are on the agenda today to speak to the City Council.

One sign of the times is increased electronic book circulation. With five months to go in the fiscal year that ends June 30, e-book use already exceeds the entire 12 months of the previous fiscal year, Hunt said Friday.

"Regular books are going to be around for a long time to come," he said. "But this is a new format, and the library is making sure we have something available 24 hours a day. We have to balance what the world is doing and what our community is asking for."

The library's website has a complete menu of electronic options, including 24,000 viewable and 7,900 downloadable e-books.

Many in Bradley County still do not have access to a computer or the Internet except through the library, Robinson said. Computer usage at the library increased by more than 18,000 uses during the July-to-December period of 2010 over the same time the previous year, figures show.

The library board is asking for funding for more staff members, materials and technology.

Library volunteers already have increased their donated hours, while the Friends of the Library association and the library foundation are supporting children's materials and a new "gently used" bookmobile, respectively, library officials said.