Library Circulation Up, On Paper And Off
Both traditional lending and eBook lending are on the rise in Mahwah
Mahwah residents checked out more than 354,000 items from the library last year -- fourth most among Bergen County BCCLS members. And, nd unlike many libraries in the area, the annual circulation has been on the rise in recent years.
Since 2007, Mahwah’s circulation has been up by over 57,000 books. However, over the past three years, circulation in the library has gone up by only about 6,600 books.
“Our traditional circulation is going up,” Library Director Kurt Hadeler said. “But, we are seeing it start to plateau. So, we want to make sure that it stays strong.”
One area of the library that is gaining momentum is the eBook section, Hadeler said. “We have about 12,000 active cardholders, and although it is still a relatively small percentage that are checking out eBooks and digital audio books, we are definitely seeing them becoming more popular.” Last year, over 1,000 electronic downloads were borrowed from the Mahwah Public Library.
The library’s website offers cardholders four databases of downloadable electronic content, including bestsellers, romance novels, mysteries, young adult novels, and nonfiction selections like business and travel books. Currently, fiction books are the most popular amongst eBook borrowers, with titles like The Litigators, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games series being the most popular downloads. Users are borrowing books on their Kindles, Nooks, iPads, other eReaders, and even their smartphones.
One of the eBorrowing services Mahwah offers, eBCCLS, is a collection compiled by 14 area libraries. “We have a collection of over 3,900 titles available on eBCCLS alone,” Hadeler said. “I think people who tried ebooks when they first launched will be surprised by the number of popular books we have available for download, and the depth of the collection.” Hadeler says pooling the resources of multiple libraries makes for “a much more extensive collection than any one of us could put together on our own.”
Of the 14 member libraries Mahwah has the third highest download rate, behind Ramsey and Upper Saddle River. Mahwah users also have access to statewide and countywide collections. On June 19, the library is hosting an eReader How-To session for members who have never borrowed an eBook before.
“Really, downloading an eBook to rent out is very simple once you learn how to do it,” Hadeler said. “And in a lot of ways, it makes borrowing easier. You can access the borrowing site 24/7, and from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Also, once a book is due its automatically returned, so you don’t need to worry abut late fees or anything like that.”
In addition to the growing number of electronic downloads, Hadeler said programs, activities and meetings are an important and growing component of the library’s purpose in the township, especially since building a new addition to the bottom floor.
“We put on some great events here, and we have really seen our attendance increasing very strongly,” Hadeler said. “We want to fulfill our role as an intellectual center of the community, and putting on great programming helps us do that.” He also said meeting rooms downstairs have attracted different groups to convene in the library. And, the downstairs vending machines have been “very popular.”
Though there are no immediate plans to add one, Hadeler said, “if the vending machines continue to be so popular, it is conceivable that we might add a café to the library somewhere down the line.” He said the downstairs addition to the library was designed with ample room for the addition of a café. “It is definitely within the realm of possibility, but it’s not something we are looking to do tomorrow,” he said.
Overall, the library director said he is pleased with the growth of all types of uses of the library. “We still serve our traditional function, but we are expanding our horizons because we want to provide the most we can for members of the community,” Hadeler said. “I keep hearing talk that libraries are dying, but I don’t see that happening here.”
Check out the library's digital collection here.
Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Jessica Mazzola at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.