A Banner Year
January is one of the busiest months at the Brumback Library. Patrons of all ages, many of whom took time off in December to enjoy the holidays, have resumed their library schedule once more. Back in school, students with new projects and assignments return to the Library in droves. Thus a buzz of activity begins anew. A myriad of materials will need to be selected, cataloged, processed, and shelved. Older, outdated, or worn titles need to be weeded from the collection in order to make room for new print and nonprint items. Storytime sessions resume, while planning for the Summer Reading Program and other major projects has just begun.
At the same time, however, January is a month of reflection. It is a time to take an inventory of the work that has been accomplished over the course of the past year. The challenges and triumphs which occurred in 2012 are indeed noteworthy. Having 28,214 registered patrons, the Library circulated 739,525 items. Traditional books, E-books, periodicals, music CDs, books on CD, DVDs, and videos, as well as puppets and a wide array of other materials were utilized by Van Wert County residents in record numbers. 8,191 items were added to the collection, thereby bringing the system’s print and nonprint resources to a total of 228,556 items. Through the Library’s continued partici-pation in the Ohio E-Book Project, more than 19,000 books, downloadable videos and audios are available, making the Library’s resources equal to 279,255 items.
We are very pleased to report that 6,860 individuals collectively participated in the Brumback Library’s Young Adult, Adult, and Homebound Summer Reading Programs in 2012. In the Children’s Department, 1,834 children participated in a wide range of Summer Reading activities in June and July. Entitled “Dream Big... READ!” infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children enjoyed creative programs presented by Ellen Ford, Linda Bagley (a.k.a. the Cat in the Hat), Tammy, Alex, and Bryce Campbell, Sally Geething, Mary Minnig, Chris Roberts/WERT Radio, Belinda Miller, Tyler Nygren, Tom Phoolery, Teresa Schneiter (a.k.a. Lady Cassandra of Wynhaven), Stan, Marcia, and Tonya Weldy, Dr. Tom Wilkin and Friends, plus Larry Wirtz the Science Guy. In addition, the Library was pleased to offer programs by Bon Evans’ Biscuits and Gravy, the Fort Wayne Ballet, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Johnny Appleseed Parks District, Neil Armstrong Space Museum, and the Van Wert Police Department's K-9s. To the audiences' great delight, the MadCap Puppet Theatre staged a special presentation of "Rumpelstiltskin" at the March Foundation Auditorium, while "Madagascar 3" was viewed by over 1,000 children and their parents at the Van Wert Cinemas. In between this flutter of activities, Van Wert County's young readers read a staggering total of 90,217 books in eight weeks. In recognition of this accomplishment, a carnival was held at the Family Life Center of Trinity Friends Church and enjoyed by one and all. The Board of Trustees, Director, and Staff are extremely greatful to our major supports of 2012's Summer Reading Program -- the Administration, Faculty, and Staff of Van Wert City Schools and Mr. Jerry Lewis and McDonald's. We are also grateful to more than sixty area businesses and donors who likewise helped to underwrite the costs of this vital program.
With a service schedule of 179.50 hours per week between our six locations, the Brumback Library has a responsibility to ensure accessibility to safe, clean, welcoming environments where Van Wert County residents may avail themselves to up-to-date materials and technology. To meet this goal, we continued to be pro-active in terms of building maintenance throughout the year. Plaster work and other repairs were completed at Main Library. The deteriorating window frames and window sills in the original section of Main Library were repainted. The decaying wooden trellis over the chiller was replaced with a more durable one, while the faux marble columns and overhead border in the Reading Room were repaired and remarbled. Several essential electrical projects were also completed.
For the past ten years, the Brumback Library, like each of Ohio’s 251 public libraries, has continued to experience funding cuts from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund allocation. During this same time span, the costs of books, materials, utilities, and insurance have increased dramatically. Circulation, usage, and programming attendance have increased too. The coming year will bring continued challenges. The size of the Library’s staff will be much smaller. Five positions were vacated in 2012 due to retirements and resignations. Due to the aforementioned funding situation and the economy in general, we will not have the money to fill these positions. Despite these factors, we will continue to safeguard one of the County’s most valuable resources. Our commitment, mission, and goal remain the same. We will continue to sustain and nurture the legacy we affectionately call the Brumback Library.
Again Among Nation’s Best
For the second straight year, Library Journal, a prestigious publication founded by Melvil Dewey, has recognized the Brumback Library as one of America’s Star Libraries. In 2012, the distinction was awarded to only 262 public libraries, and thirty-six of those libraries are located in Ohio.
In comparison to libraries with similar budgets and funding levels, the Brumback Library was ranked 18th in the United States and 3rd in Ohio last year. For this honor, Van Wert County’s historic literary home earned a four star ranking compared to its three star ranking in 2011. In its $400,000-$999,999 expenditure range, the Brumback Library is one of four Ohio libraries to receive a star rating. The Harbor-Topky Memorial Library of Ashtabula Harbor also received a four star ranking, while both the Orrville Public Library and the Columbiana Public Library were given three star rankings. Brumback Library Director John Carr stated, “These rankings clearly demonstrate that the resources, services, and programming efforts that the Brumback Library provides are well utilized by Van Wert County residents of all ages. The rankings from Library Journal are actually similar to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings Index, a resource that has consistently counted the Brumback Library in the top ten percent of public libraries across the country.
With a Main Library in Van Wert and five branch facilities located in Convoy, Middle Point, Ohio City, Willshire, and Wren, the Brumback Library offers a collection of print and nonprint resources which exceeds 220,000 items. Marking its 111th anniversary this year, the Library remains a relevant resource and community treasure offering printed books, E-books, books on CD, wireless access, Internet workstations, and a wide array of materials for the populace.