The Ashland Public Library circulated 151 items per hour in the last month &

the exact same number as November 2006.




"You wouldn't expect the number to be identical," said Mark Smith, the transition team leader for Library Systems and Services, LLC, known as LSSI. "It's just kind of odd."




The total circulation for the month dropped from 24,296 last year to 22,635, which Smith attributed to the 11 fewer hours the library was open. Total circulation for the entire county increased over last November, he said, and the company is pleased with the results since it took over operations of the 15-branch system in late October.




"I think our main goal was that we didn't lose ground because of the closure," Smith said. "We hoped that people would find their way back to the library and resume their former usage."




Although the libraries do not track the number of visitors to each branch, Smith and Ashland Branch Manager Amy Blossom said there has been a big response to the new Sunday hours.




"Sundays have been growing each week," Blossom said. "It's been a real nice mix of people. We've had a lot more students coming in doing their reports and also a lot of families."




The children's area has also seen increased usage, Blossom said, with several new play groups meeting at the library and a new Monday night story time pulling in more users, especially men.




"We had 19 kids last Monday, and there were eight males attending who brought kids," she said.




Library programs will be starting up again soon, and student groups have also returned.




"People have just been so excited about having the library open, and I've been pleased with the usage."




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