Library looks back on 2022; announces 2023 events
Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Public libraries are vibrant institutions, serving as hubs of information and activities for local communities. This year felt a bit like a new beginning for the Boyle County Public Library. While the library continued to offer activities and services for its patrons during the height of the pandemic, this year marked the welcome return to in-person programming and a return to normal library activity.
With the reappearance of in-house events, the library once again became a lively center for the community. Visits to the library went up 35% over the previous year; activity for the Outreach Department increased eight-fold; and check-out of library materials increased by 20%, driven especially by circulating materials in AV formats and in digital downloads.
It was clear that people were happy to return to in-person events and programs after so many months of limited visits and online gatherings. 11,435 people attended story times, STEM programs, book clubs, movies, and special programs on countless topics. “Public libraries are meant to be busy and humming, and our Boyle County Public Library certainly was,” said Library Director Georgia de Araujo.
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“Now–and I suspect for a long time to come–milestones and benchmarks will be measured in distance from the worst of the COVID pandemic,” said de Araujo. “March 16, 2022 marked two years from the date we closed in response to COVID being declared a worldwide pandemic. March 2022, in general, was the first time in two years that activity in the Library truly seemed ‘back to normal.’”
Library staff began the year still making the best of mostly virtual programs and by the summer they were hosting crowds for fun summer programs. “The months of June and July were simply outstanding,” said de Araujo. “Every one of the library staff played a part in presenting the biggest Summer Reading program we’ve ever had.” While children are the main focus of the library’s summer reading efforts, the biggest growth in participation this summer came from adults.
Library staff planned and presented 100 events in the 60 days of Summer Reading. That ambitious schedule simply couldn’t have happened without the tireless efforts of staff and of the Friends of the Library members. Beyond being the major financial sponsor of the Summer Reading program, Friends members showed up every week to help with Family Movie Nights, to help with the special events held in the Jennie Rogers Community Center gym, and in countless other ways. Their support was essential to the success of the summer events.
The Youth Services Department grew a lot this year. “We added some new faces to our library staff that improved our team in so many ways, allowing us to do more to serve our community,” said Youth Services Manager Kinsey Hisle. Additional programs for teens and an afternoon Storytime were added this year, as well as more activity stations in the youth department for kids to enjoy when they visit the library.
One of Hisle’s favorite new programs this fall was “Make a Mess,” a program that encouraged young people to experiment with creative art activities. “The goal was for them to find their own style – and messes during the process are okay,” said Hisle. “We had over 60 people come to each of these programs and it turned into a way for families to work together as they tried something new.” The library also hosted its own trick-or-treat inside the library where over 1,000 people stopped by. Staff enjoyed seeing all of the kids and families in their costumes during the event. “As we wrap up the end of the year, we have consistent in-person programs and are busy planning even more new and exciting events for summer 2023,” said Hisle.
The library staff are excited to share what they’ve been planning for the upcoming year. There will be more ways for the community to interact with staff at the library or spot them visiting places around the county. In the summer, there will be more animals, more STEM experiments, and more prizes to win for reading.
In addition to planned summer events, the Mahan Gallery will once again be used as a gallery space. The library has two exhibits scheduled currently, with more in the planning stages. “Our small gallery is the perfect venue for local artists, both well established and aspiring,” said de Araujo.
In September and October 2023 the library will host Spark! Places of Innovation, a touring exhibit from the Smithsonian Institute which highlights invention and innovation in rural communities throughout the United States. Inspired by an exhibition by the National Museum of American History, the touring exhibit features photographs, videos, objects, and augmented reality bringing a multilayered experience.
“Without question, the success of the Library in any effort is because of talented, devoted, passionate people,” said de Araujo. “We have such a good staff who each bring different strengths to the table. We have volunteers, including Board members and Friends members, who believe in the value our library gives back to our community. And we have patrons who make use of the materials and services we offer. It is all about people.”
To learn more about library resources and upcoming activities, visit www.BoylePubLib.org or call the library at 859-238-7323.
The library is open Monday-Friday, 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM and Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, however the building will be closed on Monday, January 2 in observance of New Year’s Day. Access to the library’s online collection is always available via BoylePubLib.org/emedia.
The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 West Broadway in Danville, KY.