The Teen Room at Madison Public Library stays busy with books clubs, projects, crafts, parties and ... reading. (CONTRIBUTED)
The Teen Room at Madison Public Library stays busy with books clubs, projects, crafts, parties and ... reading. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Madison Public Library’s circulation, options continue to skyrocket

Published 5:33pm Monday, May 20, 2013

MADISON – Madison Public Library continues to break its own records and proves a return on investment.

The current building opened in 1997, when circulation was 147,036 items for the population of 24,000. Fast forward to 2012, and circulation had mushroomed to 572,913 items for 43,000 residents.

“That’s an increase of 290 percent in circulation for a population increase of 79 percent,” branch manager Sarah Sledge said.

In 2012, total circulation at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library’s main branch was 811,059, compared to Madison’s total of 572,913. The Huntsville facility has 123,000 square feet; Madison has 15,000 square feet. Madison has 12 percent of the space yet accommodates 71 percent of traffic for the main library, Sledge said.

Madison’s circulation accounts for 25 percent of the entire library system, which includes 12 locations.

Compared to other Alabama libraries, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library ranks number one in totals for circulation, reference transactions, programs, attendance and volunteer hours, Sledge said.

Madison exceeds circulation in Homewood and Vestavia Hills, Ala. and is competitive with Brentwood and Franklin, Tenn. “Operating budgets of these libraries are 2 to 3.5 times bigger than Madison. Facilities are 12,000 to 40,000 square feet bigger,” Sledge said.

Sledge describes Madison Public Library as “a good investment” for the city. Last year, the Madison branch had 245,346 visitors. Madison’s collection size is 84,300 items. The number of cardholders is 36,215.

“Madison Public Library partners with Madison City Schools,” Sledge said. Youth services librarians present puppet shows to all elementary schools, along with other visits as requested. “For summer reading, we had more than 6,500 school-age children participating in 2012, including over 170 teens.”

In addition, youth services librarians are trained for Common Core Standards. The standards are implemented in early literacy story times, and librarians distribute parent education information, Sledge said.

“For 2012 summer reading lists, we had at least 10 copies of more than 33 titles for over $2,000,” Sledge said. “We support area media specialists with training and materials purchases.”

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