Programs raise ORL statistics

Library program attendance across the region was up 12.6 per cent in 2013.

A move to be more open in programs it offers proved to be a boon for the Okanagan Regional Library.

In a presentation to Armstrong council, ORL executive director Stephanie Hall said program attendance across the region was up 12.6 per cent in 2013.

“That’s partly due to our board making a decision to not be so rigid in allowing what programs to do in a community,” said Hall.

Programs at the Armstrong branch, which serves city and Spallumcheen residents, drew 1,216 people and its popular summer reading program saw attendance increase 23 per cent to 247 people.

There are 3,969 registered members at the Armstrong branch.

Hall said the withdrawals of books and DVDs dropped by close to one per cent across the region, but the decline was more than made up for in the increase of system-wide electronic circulation (e-books and online magazines and newspapers), which was up 56 per cent last year.

At the Armstrong branch, there was a three per cent drop in physical circulation. Electronic circulation numbers were not available but will be included in 2014’s report.

ORL members have access to more than 750,000 million physical items, e-collections and support teams of professional librarians.

One thing Hall will be looking closely at in 2014 is staffing levels at area branches.

An audit conducted by a firm hired by ORL shows some communities are “out of alignment” with ORL’s plans.

“I have to make a plan to bring everybody back into alignment,” said Hall. “I have to look at staffing levels.”

In Armstrong, she said, staff is “close to where it should be.”

“You’re a little bit over but you already have lean staffing as it is,” said Hall.