Open houses score, library usage climbs
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By Jud Snyder  April 19, 2013 12:00 am

The library got two good responses from the open houses held last month (March 20 and 23) in the Forum Room of the Rohnert Park-Cotati Public Library. It was the first venture into community outreach by the RP Library Advisory Board.

At the meeting held Tuesday, April 16, LAB member Barbara Mackenzie said, “We had 68 visitors Wednesday and 90 visitors Saturday. They came with many questions, and we had separate tables with flip charts and volunteers to jot down their comments. 

“None of us provided quotes, we didn’t put words in anyone’s mouth.”

What helped make the open houses more than a modest success was a $500 donation from Friends of the Library to provide flip charts, furniture, banners. buttons and refreshments for the two occasions. 

LAB member Brian Patterson, director of public safety, now has a large bundle of printed comments written down by volunteers. His chore is to organize the comments into categories, eliminate duplicates and transform the results into a PowerPoint display for use in the RP Library and future distribution to other public libraries in Sonoma County and elsewhere. 

“We have the talent in our department to do this,” he said, gesturing to the nearby DPS headquarters.

In other news, Branch Manager Nancy Kleban said a conclave will be held of Library Advisory Board members from all nine branches and the Sonoma County Library Commission. It will be held in the RP Library Saturday May 18, from 10 am to 3 pm. It will be held in the Forum Room.

Kleban also noted library attendance is still climbing. The top figure was January 2011 with 38,889 visitors tallied. Then the county library ordered libraries to close on Mondays in August of 2011. January 2012 attendance dipped to 35,221 but since then has steadily grown. March 2013 attendance was 35,198, nearly the same as January 2012.

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