SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 15, 2013

BOOK SMARTS

Salem library has highest circulation in the region

SALEM — The Salem Public Library has the highest circulation in the region.

So, what drew the library’s 236,305 visitors last year?

It’s a mix of factors, library director Nancy Tracy said.

The Essex Street facility is open seven days a week, offers myriad programs and services — from bilingual story times for children to an entire room devoted to resources on Salem history — and has a staff who “really want to help patrons find what they’re looking for,” Tracy said.

“We like to think of ourselves as a destination library,” she said. “People want to make the effort to get here.”

Salem’s library has the highest circulation figure in the North of Boston Library Exchange, which includes 17 municipal libraries, nine college and university libraries, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ professional library, and the library at Phillips Academy Andover, a private high school.

For fiscal 2012, Salem’s circulation was 493,000 items, which includes everything from traditional and e-books to DVDs and children’s materials.

While Salem has had the highest circulation in the NOBLE network for a number of years, it doesn’t mean other local libraries aren’t up to snuff, Tracy said.

“All the (local) libraries are doing great things,” Tracy said.

NOBLE includes municipal libraries across the North Shore, as well as Everett, Gloucester, Lynn, Lynnfield, Melrose, Saugus, Wakefield and others.

The library helps people, Tracy said — whether it’s a non-native speaker of English coming in for books on becoming a U.S. citizen to parents meeting other local parents at a children’s room activity or an unemployed person using a public computer to find jobs over the Internet.

“I really believe we’re helping people, even if it’s as simple as helping them find something they want to read,” Tracy said.

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