Library use has plummeted in two North Okanagan communities.
The latest figures show that total circulation dropped 27.29 per cent at the Cherryville branch in 2011 and 22.89 per cent at the Oyama facility.
“The smallest libraries are having a tough time,” said Lesley Dieno, Okanagan Regional Library executive director.
“They’re not open as much like the big ones and libraries are all about convenience. People browse the collection online while in their jammies at night, order the books and then go to the big library for them.”
In 2011, Cherryville had a circulation of 6,464, down from 8,890 in 2010. For Oyama, circulation declined from 8,787 to 6,776.
Dieno is reluctant to speculate if the branches may close in the future.
“That will be a board decision. I don’t know where the board will be on this,” she said, adding that ORL is currently developing a service model for rural areas.
Lisa Cameron, Lake Country director on the board, also won’t talk about possibly closing the Oyama branch.
“I want to look at comparables over time,” she said.
“We should also consider that renewals go through headquarters (as a statistic) and that number is not captured in the community where it came from.”
Beyond closure, increased hours and resources could lead to branches being used more.
“You need great staff available to customers,” said Dieno.
“That means story time, teen programs and assisting seniors with new technology.”
Elsewhere in the North Okanagan during 2011, circulation was up 2.36 per cent in Armstrong, down 2.42 per cent in Enderby and down 7.24 per cent in Falkland.
It decreased 0.63 per cent in Lumby while circulation was down 1.66 per cent in Vernon.
Throughout all of ORL’s 29 branches, there was a one per cent increase in overall circulation of materials (3.388 million items were circulated in 2011 compared to 3.354 million in 2010).