Contrary to rumor, libraries are not falling out of use. More than 8,000 people visited our library last year. They came for internet access, for help finding answers to questions, to attend events, and—yes—to borrow books and other items from our collection.
Well over 100,000 items owned by the Virginia Public Library were checked out last year, with most of them being returned before they were overdue. People borrowed items which we all expect to find in a library: Books, magazines, movies, and music CDs. They also borrowed less common items. For example, our library has digital projectors and screens which can be borrowed for use either in the library auditorium or at home.
The library auditorium is where we host the majority of our events. It is quite versatile with its several long tables, many comfortable chairs, built in projector screen, kitchen, and even a piano! Two of the most popular adult events are the annual Book Lover’s Tea, for which people sign up nearly two months ahead of time, and Queen City Reads, Virginia’s own community reading program.
Everything found and done in the library is made possible by four groups of people. First, of course, is the staff. The combined talent of VPL’s staff provides interlibrary loan requests, ensuring patrons get the items they want in a timely fashion, and maintains our electronic devices, enabling patrons to search for and find the information they need. Clever staff members with can-do attitudes are continually making improvements to the operation of the library for the benefit of our patrons. Finally, the individual personalities of staff members assure a well-rounded and diverse collection.
The second group of people that makes VPL special is our wonderful Friends of the Virginia Public Library. They provide financial assistance that helps pay for our author visits, summer reading program activities and prizes, and all the other little extras, like our subscription to Book Page. Their tireless support makes the programs a success—whether it’s bringing cookies to events, setting up, cleaning up, finding places for everyone to sit, putting on the bi-annual book sale, or decorating and maintaining the window boxes. We couldn’t put on these programs without the help of our dedicated Friends.
Volunteers are also vital to the smooth running of our library. Regardless of the weather, these dedicated people come to the library weekly to shelve the extensive paperback, mystery, science fiction, western, regular, and large print collections of books. While in the stacks they will also straighten the books on the shelves, making them look tidier and more appealing to those who are looking for good books to read.
The final group of people is the most important one of all. Everyone at the library, whether volunteer, Friend, or staff, is here for you, the library user. You come for reading, viewing, and listening materials. You come to work online using the free internet computers and Wi-Fi. You come for free adult and children’s events. You come to find answers to your many questions. Our goal is to facilitate that and to make using the library an outstanding experience.