Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicago Public Libary circulation skyrockets

Circulation of library materials during the first nine months of this year is up a whopping 28 percent over the same period a year ago as Chicagoans look to cut expenses.

“As the economy has become more difficult, more people are … saying, ‘I’m coming to the library. Instead of buying the book, buying the CD or buying the movie, I can borrow it, enjoy it and return it,’” Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey said today, after testifying at City Council budget hearings.

For two years, audio books and music have been available for downloading at

Last month, the library system made its first 500 movie titles available — in addition to the thousands of movies that can be checked out in person.

“At the end of the three-week loan period, it removes itself from your device and returns itself to us. So, you’re never gonna be overdue,” Dempsey said.

For library materials that must be returned, fines will double in 2009 — from 10 cents per day per overdue item and a maximum of $5 to 20 cents a day per item with a $10 ceiling. It’s the first increase in library fines since 1991.
How is the current economic situation affecting the public library?
The library is also laying off five employees, cutting 166 vacant, full-time jobs and 177 part-time positions.

In the past, such dire budget cuts have been accompanied by threats to reduce library hours. But, Dempsey said this is hardly the time for that.
To be sure I have rented movies out of the library in the past. Some movies to recommend from me will include Nixon (by Oliver Stone who also directed the current W), A Clockwork Orange, and of course Morehouse Men for that young man in the family thinking about college.

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