June is Record-Breaking Month for MRL
June was a record-breaking month for several branches of Massanutten Regional Library.
Patrons at Grottoes Branch checked out some 4,177 items in June--a record for number of items circulated in one month for the Grottoes Library. Normally Grottoes circulates between 2500-3000 items monthly.
Broadway’s Village Library broke its record for June circulated items with 6,367. For 2011-2012, Village normally circulates 4000-4500 items monthly.
Main Branch also broke a record during the last five-year period for most items checked out in one month—55,951 in June. Main normally circulates some 40,000 items monthly. On June 4, Main recorded 1,481 customers to walk through its doors, a record-breaking number in the last three years of Massanutten Regional Library.
“As a matter of fact,” states Lora Rose, Assistant Library Director for MRL, “for the entire month of June, Main Branch saw nearly 1000 people per day. These numbers are high for the downtown Main Branch of Massanutten Regional Library.”
In 2009 the Summer Reading Program at MRL registered 950 children with its nine facilities during that time period. Today, with its seven library facilities, MRL registered nearly 6500 children, ages 0-17, in its Summer Reading Games. For the month of June for the entire MRL system, the children/youth department dispensed 45,299 items, or 53.5% of circulated items. Annually the children/youth department averages 45% of total circulation.
Why the increase of summer reading registrants? Massanutten Regional Library credits the business support of the community.
“We couldn’t do it without our business sponsors,” says Kim Haines, Development Director for Massanutten Regional Library. “Groups such as Rockingham Group, the Printing Express, Green Valley Book Fair, Harrisonburg Kiwanis, and Rockingham Cooperative all contribute money to make our reading program a success. We also have four banks who contribute to our Summer Reading Games program as well. We are so thankful that Farmers & Merchants Bank, Summit Community Bank, Commonwealth One, and DuPont Community see the merit of our effort.”
Clare Eakin, Youth Services Coordinator for MRL, also contributes the increase in numbers of the Summer Reading Program to community businesses. “The community as a whole is the component to making our program work. The donations of free admission tickets to Massanutten WaterPark, Luray Zoo and Luray Caverns, Valley Lanes, Shenandoah National Park, and Funky’s Skate Center are tremendous draws for the success of our program. The teens love the Flying Rabbit experience. Then we have two baseball teams, the Harrisonburg Turks and the Luray Wranglers, who not only grant free admission tickets to children and youth, but come to libraries to read to children. This is especially appealing to families. Especially enticing to families as well is the opportunity for children to pick apples at Ryan’s Orchard and then be given a free ¼ peck of apples. The generosity of our area businesses is outstanding.”
Eakin, who is in charge of planning the Summer Reading Game schedule and programming, looks for presentations that are appealing to children and teenagers. She often looks for the uncanny, but doesn’t forget the educational side, either.
With the theme of Dream Big: Careers, Eakin expanded the opportunity for business cooperation with the library by asking business professionals such as TV meteorologists, reporters, DJ’s, authors, artists, bicyclist, illustrator, inventor, toy store owner, and hiker to speak to children and to also read. The library saw the opportunity to involve the business community.
Eakin likes to think outside the box. “We all recognize the significance of doctors and nurses, but why not get the kids to thinking about owning a toy store? After all, it is commerce,” states Eakin.
The local newspaper, the Daily News Record, also contributes to the Summer Reading Games by donating a weekly ad announcing library events and by allowing teen writers, members of the Leaders of the Library Club (LOL) to print their researched dream careers.
Over 32 local eating establishments and businesses also contribute coupons, money, or food for library events for the Summer Reading Games. These businesses include Backstage Video of Bridgewater and Broadway, Enchanting Floral and Gifts, Flowers by Rose, Luray Copy Service, Rockingham County Fair, and Pharmacy Shenandoah. Putter Golf-A-Round Mini Golf and Mulligans Golf Center give coupons for prizes. Eating establishments donating coupons/prizes include Dairy Queen of Carlton Street of Harrisonburg, Panera Bread of Harrisonburg, Chick-fil-A, Domino’s Pizza, JJ’s Soft Serve, Karen’s Frozen Favorites, Luray McDonalds, McDonald’s AP Boxley Organization., Papa John’s Pizza of Bridgewater, and Shenandoah Ice Cream. Dayton Ruritan Club and Farmers and Merchants Bank also contribute.
According to the Development Director, Summer Reading Games is a win-win situation for both the library and businesses.
“Our Summer Reading Program is such a great example of a community partnership that benefits our children and teens. Business sponsors help underwrite the program costs, and other businesses donate prizes and Free Friday activities. Parents bring the kids in to get books and get them to activities. And the schools appreciate our libraries because the Summer Reading Games keep kids reading over summer break. All our branch employees do a lot of work for this program, and it pays off,” says Haines.
Neal Menefee, President of Rockingham Group, concurs. “Just wanted to let you (MRL) know that I received some very positive feedback from a couple of folks who picked up an MRL brochure covering the summer reading program at their children’s day care center. They were glad to see the information about the program, but made a point to let me know they were glad to see the Rockingham Group as a sponsor. That type of feedback sure helps me justify our support for the good work that you all do down there.”