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The West Fargo Public Library is seeing a rise in usage again this year. In November, circulation increased by 23% compared to last year. Compared to five years ago, November 2019, that number is up by 74%.
Over 68% of checkouts from January to November of this year were physical items checked out from the library’s sole branch.
The library has also seen a 6% increase in January through November program participation, which is 16% more than pre-pandemic numbers.
“The consistent growth we are seeing in checkouts proves our community values traditional library services,” West Fargo Library Director Jenna Kahly said.
Since stepping into the role in August, Kahly has prioritized building relationships and making the library building welcoming and more accessible for the public.
“Our building is humble, but it is what we have to work with for now,” Kahly said. “The team is working hard to meet the needs of our growing community with the limited space and resources we have.”
To help those with mobility issues, the library’s collection of large print books now lives on the first floor. Earlier this month, staff reshelved the nonfiction and teen collections to make them easier for patrons to reach and explore as well.
This year, the library also added several non-traditional items for checkout. New items include simple coding robots for kids (Ozobots), storytime kits, and puzzles. With a grant from the North Dakota State Library, West Fargo also expanded its collection of LaunchPad learning tablets to include options for all ages.
Other non-traditional items available for checkout at the West Fargo Library include Wi-Fi hotspots, VoxBooks (which have a built-in speaker that reads aloud for a child to follow along) and state park passes.
The library also offers e-books, audiobooks and other media through a variety of tools available at westfargolibrary.org.