Covington Library Stats & Stories – Snapshots of the revitalization of Covington Library One Year Later
The Covington Library is one of those unique places. Smack in the center of an urban renewal. It’s one of the few places in Northern Kentucky where you can see people struggling to survive sitting next to a Federal judge. All are welcomed, none are judged. This month marks one year since the Covington Library has been fully operational after a 24 month expansion and renovation. A few questioned the need for expansion; citing books were a thing of the past. That couldn’t be further from the case. Since 2013, the Covington Library has seen a tremendous amount of use and has radically impacted the community and the people it serves.
The following is a brief snapshot on how the Covington Library remains relevant not only by providing books, materials and services, but also by being a critical part of the Northern Kentucky Community.
Stats and stories
The Kenton County Public Library records statistics on the fiscal year, beginning July 1 and ending June 30 of the following calendar year. Here is a look at the statistics for the Covington Library for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014:
- Circulation of items for adults: 413,076 (up 31%)
- Circulation of items for children: 92,461 (up 25%)
- Overall circulation of items including books, movies, music , magazines and more: 505,537 (up 29%)
- 1,618 programs for adults, teens and children were offered including computer classes, book discussions, job skills education, storytimes, literacy enrichment and more. 37,595 people attended these programs.
- Volunteers contributed 2,516 hours to the Covington Library, a value of $45,061.56
- Staff answered 136,104 reference questions.
- From July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, 407,516 people visited the Covington Library.
Stories and items of note from the past year:
- From 2013 to 2014, public computers increased from 48 on the main floor to 62, a 30% increase which means more people can fill out job applications, do homework, conduct business, research and more.
- The Covington Library Children’s staff has developed a unique program where children with overdue fines can read them off. While this program has been around for several years, it has seen a resurgence in participation due to the renovation. From October 2013 to September 2014, nearly 300 children have read off more than $1,000 fines.
- In January, the Covington Library conducted a New Year, New Career Job Fair in conjunction with the NKY Career Center. Over 1000 job hunters attended the January Job Fair and 53 employers participated. According to Ken Wocher, Workforce Development Specialist for the Kentucky Career Center: “Employers are not required to report back to us how many people they actually hire. However, we received over 100 thank you notes from job seekers who gained employment.”
- Staff worked with a tween who struggles with reading and didn’t want to read until he shared one major interest in his life…marine animals. Once staff found beautifully photographed nonfiction books, he immediately grabbed four of them and sat down to read without any further prompting from mom!! The double irony…every minute he read he was reading down his fines, so he could actually check these out! His mother was thrilled!
- And then there is the story of the gentleman who thought enough about our library to come and collect tossed cigarette butts strewn around the Lincoln statute and our rain garden area. He shared his name with branch manager Julia Allegrini told her that he lives in the Shelter just down the street and he appreciated us giving our thanks to him.
Quotable quote: “This is a pretty nice looking library you got here” by an 8 year-old patron to a staff member.
- The new teen area offers “teen only” hours after school. Over 19 separate days, the new space drew over 184 teens.
- The Children’s Department offered 40 programs which were attended by 1,220 children and their families.
- 531 new accounts were created in the Circulation, Homebound and Racing to Read departments for the month.
- There were 1,698 borrowers at the Drive Thru Window this month.
- Research requests for the Local History & Genealogy department came from the following places this month: DC, FL, KY, MO, OH, TN, and TX.
The Covington Library partners with the Kentucky Career Center to host the first Covington Job Fair. Over 1,000 people attended and met with representatives from over 50 companies. The Job Fair also offered on-demand interviews with employers and assistance from Library staff on job seeking skills.
- An education initiative called “Love our Library, Love our Teachers” was created to reach out to local teachers and inform them about the services the library can provide to support education efforts in the classroom. As a result teachers started borrowing more items for their classrooms and librarians were able to visit school classrooms to speak to students.
- The Local History Department became an affiliate of the Church of the Latter Day Saints Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This designation means that researchers can now order from their vast collection of microfilm and have it sent to Northern Kentucky.
- 1,463 people used the drive-through window to drop off or pick up items in February. This is a new service and was a top request during the planning phase of construction.
- 44,486 items were checked out in March 2014, up from 32,000 in March 2013.
- The Children’s Department offered 58 programs for children ages 12 and younger. 1,229 children and parents participated in these literacy-based enrichment programs.
- The Covington Library participated in the Great American Cleanup. Volunteers gathered 10 bags of trash and litter and cleaned out the library’s rain gardens.
- 4,735 reference questions were asked of the adult reference staff
- 53 people attended two free AARP tax preparation days. A total of 217 people participated in all.
- 610 children and their families attended the Early Childhood Literacy Fair.
- Three Master Gardner interns planned a small community garden in four raised beds at the Library.
- The teen librarian visited every junior high and high school in the Covington Library service district, seeing more than 4,000 students to promote the library’s resources and summer reading.
- Covington Library staff worked with staff of the Covington Housing Authority to get library cards to their residents. More than 800 residents received “welcome to the Library” cards.
- The Outreach department, located at the Covington Library, had 100% preschool participation in their summer reading club.
- 48,500 items were checked out.
- In July 2014, a total of 56,966 items were checked out. This is the highest circulation of any July since at least 1990.
- 59 children participated in the Fresh Start, read off your fines, program. They read off $211.40 worth of fines. This program, offered daily, is of particular importance because it allows children to participate in accountability for their accounts, strives to return them to full borrowing privileges and reinforces literacy skills.
- 499 new library cards were issued.
- Local history and genealogy requests were received from California, Illinois, South Carolina and Missouri.
- The Children’s Department provided 229 programs (in house and outreach to schools summer programs) for 5,000 participants.
- A member of the Homebound Delivery department, located at the Covington Library, was invited to attend the 100th birthday party for a patron they serve. The patron reads and listens to up to 23 books every month.
- Covington adult reference staff worked with staff at Gateway Community and Technical College to inform their students about getting and using a library card.
- Items being checked out from the Children’s Department increased by 30% from August 2013.
- Local history and genealogy requests were received from California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.
- 44,000 items were checked out, an increase of 23% from September 2013.
- The teen librarian worked with reps from Covington Catholic High School to create 400 new library cards for their students.
- The children’s STEM related program “Camp Wonderopolis” concluded having welcomed 318 participants during the seven-week program.
- 787 new kindergarteners in Covington received a Kindergarten Kit from the library which invites them to get a library card and free book to keep.
- 51 people attended a tour of St. John Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell which was led by Covington Library local history and genealogy staff. The event was also filmed by TBNK to air in the future.
The Covington Library celebrates its one year renovation anniversary with a Yarn Bombing throughout the month and a Zombie Day & Walk at the end of the month.
- The Covington Library and architects from Design Group won an AIA (American Institute of Architects) Award of Merit for the renovation.
- Library Journal, the leading library trade publication, recognized the renovation and expansion in its November 2014 “The Year of Architecture” issue.
In addition to the above mentioned activities, many of the Covington Library staff members sit on or participate in civic and educational organizations. This participation allows staff to offer its programs and services beyond the walls of the library building. Life holds surprises and stories. The staff of the Covington Library feels privileged and honored to serve such a diverse and robust community.