As book circulation decreases, Hoag sees demand for computers, meeting rooms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2023 at 10:38 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Betty Sue Miller, Hoag Library director, discusses how the library is making efforts to meet the needs of the community.

ALBION – Hoag Library is a busy place, even as the circulation for books goes down.

The library, at its annual meeting on Monday, reported a total circulation of 40,082 in 2022, with 28,927 from books being checked out and 11,025 non-books. Prior to the Covid pandemic, the circulation was about 90,000. Circulation was at 46,270 in 2021.

Hoag sees lots of demand from the community in other ways, said Betty Sue Miller, the library director.

The meeting rooms were used 1,598 times in 2022. There were 12,260 WiFi sessions for internet use, 3,531 computer sessions, 971 Fax services, 654 reference questions, and 463 notarized documents.

There were 555 programs hosted by the library in 2022 with a total attendance of 5,433. There were 4,695 items from Hoag taken out through the inter-loan library system with 6,274 items borrowed through that program run by the three-county Nioga Library System.

The library last year also started hosting blood drives for the American Red Cross, AAA defensive driving courses, hot spots for the internet and welcomed a piano in memory of Jared Fearby.

This year the library has started a new concert series. Kinloch Nelson opened the series on April with about 75 attending the concert. Ricardo Saeb is the next performer this Saturday at noon.

Veronica Morgan was elected as a trustee on Monday. She received 25 votes as the lone candidate on the ballot. The board then re-elected the same officers for the new year with Linda Weller as president, Mary Covell as vice president, Dawn Squicciarini as secretary and Rachel Hicks as treasurer.

“This isn’t just a library but a community base,” Weller said. “I believe in the vision of this library to provide the services it does to the community.”

The library paid off its mortgage in 2021 following several large donations from Maurice “Mo” Hoag and his wife Courtenay. Their contributions totaled $1 million.

When the mortgage was paid off, the money the library sought from taxpayers through the school budget vote dropped 10.3 percent from $724,260 in 2021-22 to $648,964 in 2022-23. The amount requested with the upcoming May 16 vote will be $683,100.

Betty Sue Miller is shown giving blood during a blood drive at Hoag Library on Dec. 17. She gave blood for the first time that day.