It’s been 16 years since the Larsen-Sant Library was built, and it is time to grow, said library board chairman Jerry Waddoups.
According to statistics released by the library board, the county’s usage of the library has increased as much as five times in some areas.
From 2002 to 2018, the number of items checked out of the library has increased 5.6 percent, from 107,519 items to 113,570. The number of materials available during that time has increased 189%, up from 38,907 to 112434.
The number of users has doubled from 3,295 to 6,218, and they make almost four times the number of visits to the library in 2018 (89,975 visits)as they did in 2002 (25,000 visits.)
Franklin County’s population has increased from 11,590 in 2002 to 13,446 in 2018. Internet usage at the library has tripled.
In addition to finding a book to enjoy or to utilize the public computers available there, library patrons of all ages come for 326 programs sponsored throughout the year by the library staff. Some of those programs are story time, BFF Club for stem learning, Lego Club, “Princess Tea Party,” “Book & A Cookie” night, Books4Boys Club, an adult book reading program called ”Let’s Talk About It,” “MGM” – a makers club and more.
(See The Preston Citizen’s Community Calendar on page 3 for a listing of what is coming up)
Program attendance has tripled from 3,800 to 10,938.
To accommodate that usage, the library board is seeking to raise $1.5 million for a $2 million upgrade. Over the years, the board has saved $500,000 towards a 6,000 square foot addition that will be built on the west side of the current building.
It will house an enclosed computer lab, a bigger area for teens, a room for the library to host its programs, five study rooms, and more shelves for books.
“The thought of being able to have rooms and room on the shelves for books that patrons want is exciting,” said the library’s director, Laura Wheatley.
On a typical day, she said, the library serves 300 patrons and checks out 3,000 items.
“The library has always been a great place for me as a mother to bring my kids,” said Shannon Crowther, a member of the library board.
The library offers books, DVDs, internet access, proctoring for tests, equipment for digitizing analog sound and photographs, as well.