Thursday, November 7, 2019

Romulus library celebrates year of growth

Patty Braden
Scott Spielman
Special Writer

It's been another successful year for the Romulus Public Library and more good things are on the way.
Library Director Patty Braden outlined the successes from the 2018/2019 fiscal year for the Romulus City Council last week and talked about plans for next year.
“Everything is going up, up up,” said Councilwoman Tina Talley. “I use the library quite frequently and it's always been a blessing to me.”

The library serves 40,000 people in the city as well as Huron Township. Although construction at the adjacent courthouse may have contributed to a 3 percent decline in visitors, the library still recorded more than 56,000 visits this year.
All other metrics were up. More than 1,200 library cards were issued and more than 68,000 items checked out or downloaded. The Wi-Fi and meeting rooms saw increased use, and more than 20,000 items were shared through inter-library loans. The library also saw a 15 percent increase in total holdings, between printed materials, audio-visual materials, ebooks and more.
“We're continuing to order new materials every day,” said Braden.
Library programs saw a significant increase, too, she said. Attendance in summer reading programs increased by about 26 percent. Involvement with community organizations rose about 17 percent, too.
“We're reaching out to the community more and more, partnering with various organizations and individuals,” Braden said.
This year, a three-year strategic plan was developed and implemented, according to Braden. The first year focused on service-related plans, while the second year, 2020, will focus on building-related issues.
“Every single goal in the plan is based on resident input that we've received,” Braden said. “This is what the residents want.”
Some of the service-related goals met this year include offering laminating services on site and selling envelopes. Hours were also expanded to 6 p.m. on Fridays and select Saturdays. By partnering with other organizations, the library was able to offer additional classes on topics like genealogy, financial wellness and health. Early education classes were expanded, too. Library card holders can use their library cards to get discounted Red Wings tickets, movie tickets, tickets to the Fox Theater and Little Caesar's Arena.
Next year, Braden said the plan is to focus on building-related issues.
“We'll be looking at our space and trying to provide better space for our patrons,” she said.
Some goals include modernizing the existing space, expanding meeting space, incorporating additional audio visual capability, bringing in more comfortable seating, moveable tables and additional public computers-particularly in the children's area.
Council members said they were impressed with the progress at the library, considering less than 10 years ago lack of funding forced city leaders to shut down the library, recreation department and close municipal parks.
“This library, along with the recreation and the parks is an example of what elected officials can do if they really want to do something good for the town,” said Councilman William Wadsworth. “I compliment this mayor and these elected officials and past elected officials that have been involved in this.”
Treasurer Stacy Paige agreed. “I just think it's great. It's a great resource for our community,” she said.