It's been just over a year since opened in its new building and officials are ecstatic about the rise they've seen in patron usage.
Last year, the library circulated about 570,000 items by April 30 of last year, including books, DVDs, CDs and video games, said Paul Mills, Fountaindale’s executive director.
With still more than a month to go until the library’s fiscal year ends June 30, circulation numbers are more than 870,000.
“That’s a significant increase,” Mills said. “We’re really gratified and ecstatic that the community is using our facility so much.”
Officials are also seeing an uptick in public computer usage. Fountaindale offers about 100 computers to the community.
Computer usage sessions by patrons last fiscal year were 64,000. This fiscal year has already netted 94,000 computer sessions.
“One of the things we wanted in the new building was to have more computers available, which we achieved and we’re definitely seeing them utilized,” Mills said.
More space in the new building has allowed the library to offer a variety of programs including drop-in knitting and crochet sessions, a monthly genealogy class, several fitness classes, a bilingual book club, story times for children, and free movies on Friday nights.
"And with the additional space we can have multiple programs going at the same time," Mills said.
Crews broke ground on the new library in August 2009. The $39.5 million library was funded by bonds issued after voters passed a community referendum in February 2008.
“The need for a new building came up out of our long range planning process,” Mills said. “The feedback we got from the community was that they wanted a bigger library for more space, more materials, more computers and more meeting room space.”
A new development is on the horizon for the library, and Mills can’t wait until its completion.
By the end of the year, Fountaindale will be equipped with a media center for digital content creation, with equipment such as video cameras, video and photo editing software and recording equipment.
“We’ll have studios where patrons can record original content, whether it’s a school project or something that’s personal to them. They’ll have access to resources to do that and there will be staff to help them,” Mills said. “It’s a relatively new trend in public libraries and we’re really excited about it.”
Mills, , is thankful for the library’s success.
“I’m very proud of what the staff has done and what the (library’s board of trustees) has created here,” he said.