A beautiful wealth of information is in jeopardy due to a lack of patrons. Pulaski County Library Director MacKenzie Ledley said the Medaryville branch is suffering from a lack of circulation, and she said they aren’t sure what’s causing it.
“Annual circulation at the Medaryville branch dropped from 25,780 in 2007 to a year-to-date of 11,651 – that’s through the end of August,” said Ledley. “We’re really not too sure what’s changed to decrease the circulation; it could be the availability of information online and that patrons are able to access it at home.”
The hours at the library were recently reduced from 31 hours per week to just 25 hours after the library board learned that it cost $41.52 per hour to run the branch. Further, Ledley explained that the board learned that the cost of circulation is exceeding the actual circulation amount. When the board reviewed the expenses, they learned that it costs the library roughly $4.18 per item circulation, and she said if the board learns it has increased to $6.18, they will have to review a number of options to reduce the cost to taxpayers.
The library has been suffering from the decreased circulation since 2010, when it dropped from 25,511 in 2009 to 16,471 in 2010. Since then, she said, it has been continuing to decline; however, the library isn’t just giving up. Ledley said they have planned some events in an effort to draw more attention to the library and its valuable service to the community.
“We are still promoting our book club, which meets on the third Saturday at the Medaryville branch at 1 o’ clock, and we’re also trying to bring people in through a Patron Appreciation Day that we’re also holding in October on the 20th from 9:30 to 4 p.m,” said Ledley.
Ledley said the condition of the Medaryville branch of the Pulaski County Library System is a serious concern. The decline in circulation at this library and others could be indicative of a larger problem down the road as information becomes available from other sources than public libraries – libraries which, in the past, served as their community’s hub for knowledge.