Mid-Continent Public Library CEO and Library Director Steve Potter presented the library system’s annual report to the Clay County Commission on Oct. 21. During his remarks, Potter said Mid-Continent had experienced a successful year in terms of finances and services.
Potter begin his presentation discussing the library system’s annual audit.
“Our auditors provided their report without comment or opinion. This is otherwise known as a clean audit,” he said. “The report shows that Mid-Continent’s revenues increased slightly in 2013 versus 2012.”
In relation to finances, Mid-Continent was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for its fiscal year reports. This was the second recognition in as many years for the library system.
“This is a standard we will continue to try to live up to in future years,” Potter said.
In terms of service, Potter said Mid-Continent loaned 9.1 million items over the past year. The figure averages to 12 items borrowed for each person in the Mid-Continent service area. The libraries also recorded 4.5 million visits collectively. Electronic circulation grew in the ebook category with an increase from 210,000 to 414,000 items and a 10 percent growth in patron use of licensed online resources.
The increase in services included the opening of the Woodneath Library Center in Kansas City. The $13 million 35,000-square-foot facility was Mid-Continent’s first new library to open 20 years.
“We provided over $153 million worth of service last year,” Potter said. “This equates to about $4 in services received for every $1 of taxes paid. People are getting a real value.”
Potter noted Mid-Continent was recognized for its achievement in public relations and marketing with the John Cotton Dana Award from the American Library Association in April. The organization also received the Kansas City Business Journal’s Impact Award for its online governance management site.
Looking toward the future, Potter said Mid-Continent will continue to grow its summer reading program and introduce new collection management technology. Future plans also include the opening of the StoryCenter at the Woodneath facility. At the StoryCenter, patrons will be able to record oral histories and print their own books. The center will include a on-demand book publisher capable of printing a 250-page book in three minutes.
“This is a unique program that will help people tell their stories,” Potter said. “We think this is so important. Part of literacy is people being able to articulate what they think.”
Potter said the efforts are part of Mid-Continent’s dedication to providing for the needs of its patrons.
“Mid-Continent Public library continues to ride the tide rather than being drowned by a wave of change,” he said.
County and Education Editor Ryne Dittmer can be reached at 389-6606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.