Saturday, December 10, 2022

Annual Lethbridge Public Library report sheds light on pandemic impacts

The Lethbridge Public Library circulated more than 900,000 items in 2021, despite a year of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its annual report presented to the city’s Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee last week.

“2021 was certainly another year of unexpected challenges and unique opportunities for Lethbridge Public Library,” said Terra Plato, CEO of Lethbridge Public Library. “With our doors once again closed for part of the year and the ongoing pandemic situation, the library continued to find ways to meet community needs in new and innovative ways, while at the same time engaging in longer term strategic planning for library services for our community.”

Of the items circulated, 133,915 were digital. The library saw 28,722 curbside pick up visits filled 175,188 holds and 1,230 Surprise Me grab bags.

“Management and staff were dreaming up new ways to meet immediate needs in the community, the Library Board was focusing on long-term strategic planning,” said Craig Brown, chair of the City of Lethbridge library board. “With the board’s plan of service set to expire at the end of 2021, the board undertook a lengthy strategic planning process that included a series of community engagement sessions, and culminated in the board’s 2022 – 2026 plan of service that was approved at the December board meeting.”

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The 24-page report contains comments from the City of Lethbridge Library Board Chair and CEO as well as the Chair of the Friends of Lethbridge Public Library, stories from our community, Library stats, and acknowledgement of our donors.

There were approximately 161,080 visits to the library’s main and crossings branches and bookmobile, as well as 263,126 visits to the Library’s website. 17,918 people held a library card and 1,728 total program sessions were held, with 227 in-person attendees, 11,428 online attendees, and 10,407 recorded views, according to the library.

Last year the library went fine free and continued no fee membership, according to Plato. 

“Fines were temporarily eliminated in 2020 as a way to help support our community’s access to the library and to the information and resources we provide. In light of a downward trend in revenues from overdue fines, the board voted to make this permanent,” she said.

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