It’s the little library that could.
While it’s been on the chopping block over the years, Okanagan Regional Library’s Oyama branch has experienced significant growth.
“It’s great to see the facility being used so much,” said Owen Dickie, an ORL director and Lake Country councillor.
Circulation of items from the Oyama branch went from 6,341 in 2013 to 7,423 in 2014, a 17.06 per cent increase.
“No other branch came anywhere close to that large of an increase. In fact many decreased,” said Dickie.
For the same time period, circulation at the Lake Country (Winfield) branch inched up by 0.77 per cent, while it was down 7.67 per cent in Vernon and 5.07 per cent at the main Kelowna branch.
Dickie believes a couple of factors have kept the Oyama branch bustling.
“There is a change in the population in Oyama, with younger families living here,” he said.
“The programs are also attracting children and families to the branch. Oyama has also always been a library town.”
In previous years, some ORL staff and politicians have suggested closing the Oyama branch because of its small size and proximity to branches in Winfield, Vernon and Kelowna.
However, Dickie says the recent circulation figures put him in a strong position to lobby for ongoing service in Oyama.
“It’s had a library going back a number of years and it’s part of the social fabric of the community. I hope people will sit back and realize there is a demand,” he said.
“Way to go Oyama. We need to use it or we will lose it so let’s see another increase this year.”
Circulation figures have been released for all of ORL’s 29 branches.
“We changed the integrated library system program in October 2014 and this created some hiccups with tracking, so we recognize comparing the 2013 and 2014 year is not necessarily a case of apples to apples when extrapolating numbers from the catalogue,” said Marla O’Brien, public relations manager.
“That said, we know there has been a slight decrease in circulation of physical materials during the two-year comparison.”
Overall ORL circulation went from 3,202, 963 in 2013 to 3,090,479 in 2014, or down 3.51 per cent.
“We believe Vernon’s decrease in circulation is more pronounced than it should be due to the flood that occurred there in early 2014,” said O’Brien.
Elsewhere in the North Okanagan, 2014 circulation decreased 0.02 per cent in Armstrong, 7.56 per cent in Enderby, 21.94 per cent in Falkland, 12.73 per cent in Lumby. Circulation climbed 4.5 per cent in Cherryville in 2014.