Callaway County Public Library visits decline

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FULTON – The number of people visiting Callaway County Public Library is down about 10 percent from this time last year. 

Callaway County is part of the Daniel Boone Regional Library system, which covers 1,500 square miles and provides library services to more than 200,000 people.

According to a survey done by Pew Research Center, this is trend seen nationwide. The survey said the number of people visiting libraries dropped from 53 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015.

But Daniel Boone Regional Director Melissa Carr said the declines in circulation and visits to Callaway County do not represent the amount of people still using library resources. 

“We’ve spent a lot of our time pushing materials and services out to the community,” Carr said. “We’re thrilled when they come to our facilities, but we provide those services in so many other ways because we want them to be convenient.” 

The growth of the library’s digital branch is another reason for the change. People visit the digital branch to download things such as e-books, magazines and movies.

20 percent of regional circulation comes from the digital branches, but isn’t included in general statistics.

Carr said Daniel Boone Regional Library conducts a community survey every three years, and respondents who don't use the library say it's because they’re too busy or buy their books from stores.

Fulton resident Amanda Weir said she visits the Callaway County Public Library regularly and that it gives her access to resources she wouldn’t have otherwise.

“I rely on it a lot. There’d be nowhere for people like me, who don’t have internet, to come and do research."

The Daniel Boone Regional Library just launched a new strategic planning process to find out the best ways to improve services for the community.