SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 15, 2013

BOOK SMARTS

Salem library has highest circulation in the region

(Continued)

Tracy is finishing her second year as library director but has worked at the Salem Public Library for 18 years. Previously, Tracy worked as a children’s room assistant, head of circulation and was the library’s assistant director for seven years.

Looking ahead, Tracy said she’d like to build on Salem’s top circulation numbers, as well as bring in new ideas.

“Technology is king, and always changing,” she said. “But you don’t want to lose that personal touch, and I think that’s something our staff brings.”

In Salem, parking and lack of space are the library’s two major challenges, she said. The library has no parking lot; patrons must find on-street parking.

“One of our biggest problems is space,” said Tracy, looking around at shelves full of DVDs and books on a recent afternoon.

Library staff is constantly thinking about using — and reusing — space creatively. Materials are spread over three floors, and just about every available square inch is in use.

A mini-lounge was recently set up in the young adult section, with a carpet and plush chairs for youths to gather. Newly released books are displayed on circular shelves near the front door, to entice patrons to browse and possibly take away more than they came in for.

A collection of Spanish-language books have their own shelf on an upper floor; the children’s room also has bilingual and Spanish materials. Computers — some for word processing, some for Internet use — are set up around the library. In the children’s room, computers are separated for use for homework, the Internet and games.

The library operates on funding from the state and city budgets, as well as some from the library’s seven-member Board of Trustees, Tracy said.

Salem has a “strong” children’s room, and its programming is always well-attended, Tracy said. In the summer, at least two programs are offered each day, as well as weekly family nights with activities for children and parents.

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