2023 Annual Report

CONTENTS

From the CEO

Read a message from Heather Robinson, Library CEO

Library Board

St. Thomas Public Library Board Members

2023 Timeline

Highlights of each month

Revenue & Expenses

Where the money comes from, where the money goes

Supporting Fearless Exploration

Item checkouts and active users

Meaningful Conversations that Inform Change

Library Programs & Outreach

Adaptable & Inclusive Spaces

Visits and Services

Redefining Library

Web, Social Media, and Library Experiences

FROM THE CEO

Photo of Heather Robinson, Library CEO

A Message from CEO Heather Robinson

After the last pandemic restriction was lifted and the Library was free to open its doors fully to the public again, I remember wandering around the building and fully observing the devastation that had been wrought. Furniture had been stored and cozy areas in the Library had been taken apart; the desks had plexiglass barriers; children’s toys and fun areas had been stored away. I worried that our customers had found other ways to access information, books, and services like the ones we provide. Perhaps they were content with accessing our offerings online? I expressed these concerns to staff and together we resolved to put our Library back together again in new and innovative ways that would appeal to the citizens of St. Thomas post-pandemic. After all, none of us came out of it the same.

Library cards had expired during the two years of lockdowns, so we launched a campaign to offer easy ways for people to renew them online and in person, not only in our building but out in the community. In the process, we acquired new customers. We are proud of the fact that, at the end of 2023, we had 14,641 active users.

We also realized that our spaces needed to change, and we needed to think about how our customers now wanted to BE in the library. With the establishment of the Maker Lab on the Lower Level, the teens were displaced so we created a Teen Space on the Main Level of the Library. To do this, the non-fiction found a home on the Upper Level where it lives peacefully with quiet study areas which are heavily populated a great deal of the time.

We had always loved the former art wall with its repurposed wood slats that had once formed part of a false ceiling in the Library, so we reinstated it and put out a call for artists which was answered with enthusiasm. For some of the artists who applied, this was their first time showing their work publicly and we are thrilled to give them the opportunity.

We realized that people missed connection. Business After Five resumed meeting in person and we rejoiced to see all of the people milling around the Library when we hosted.

People also responded to the myriad of programs that we offered in 2023…472, in fact. This resulted in a 125% increase in attendance from the year before.

In 2023, we did what we do best…connect. And I admit that my heart is full when I walk through the Library now and see it being used to its fullest.

St. Thomas Public Library Board

Greg Grondin

Greg Grondin

Board Chair

Deb Laverty

Deb Laverty

Board Vice Chair

Chi-Đoàn

Chi-Đoàn

Board Member

Rose Gibson

Rose Gibson

Board Member & City Councillor

Tara McCaulley

Tara McCaulley

Board Member & City Councillor

Larry Needham

Larry Needham

Board Member

Geoffrey Rae

Geoffrey Rae

Board Member

David Sharpe

David Sharpe

Board Member

2023 TIMELINE

January

Photo of the updated teen area at the library

Updated Teen Area

Non-fiction moved to the Upper Level to make space for a new Teen area on the Main Level.

February

Photo of art by Ed Zelenak hanging at the library.

Art by Ed Zelenak

"Basin Map Finite Boundaries Red/Blue Blush" was installed on the Main Level.

March

Photo of kids and teen volunteers playing with boomwhackers at the library

March Break

This week saw our busiest day of the year, with over 750 visits.

April

Photo of the updated teen area at the library

Seedy Saturday

We welcomed vendors, speakers, and 273 visitors to swap seeds and learn about native plants.

May

Photo of two smiling VON staff members at an outreach table at the library's Community Resources Roadshow.

Community Resources Roadshow

This event featured local service providers for caregivers in our community to connect with.

June

Photo of a group of young adults showing off a ribbon they wrote on for the Story Ties collaborative art project.

Story Ties

Story Ties was launched on the Main Floor! Visitors contributed to this collaborative art installation.

July

Photo of a wi-fi hotspot sitting on a library table with brightly coloured lines behind it and a wi-fi symbol above it.

Wi-Fi Hotspots Launch

These portable devices provide internet service, improving online access in our community.

August

Photo of a young person smiling with the cupcake they decorated at the library's Nailed It! Family Edition event.

Summer

An amazing and busy summer at the library, with fun programs like "Nailed It! Family Edition," along with our Summer Reading Club program.

September

Photo of two people smiling at the library's busy Business After Five event.

Business After Five

We welcomed 150 local business owners for a night of library exploration.

October

Photo of a group of people shot in black and white for the Homelessness & Hope event.

Homelessness & Hope

As part of Community Conversations, this event highlighted the lived and living experiences of homelessness.

November

Photo of the library's new outreach van parked outside of the library on a sunny day.

Outreach Van

We finally acquired our vibrant new outreach van!

December

Photo of donors Mark and Anthony Shields standing near the laser cutter in the Maker Lab.
The Shields family gifted an Epilog Laser Cutter to the library for the Maker Lab.

REVENUE & EXPENSES

Where the Money Comes From

%

City of St. Thomas $2,579,497

%

Grants & Donations $71,728.29

%

Development Charges $50,000

%

Own Source $13,284

Where the Money Goes

%

Staffing $2,161,100

%

Collections & Processing $365,241

%

Technology $119,079

%

Building Rental $53,190

%

Other $148,971

SUPPORTING FEARLESS EXPLORATION

Photo of a child holding a pile of books while smiling.

14,641 Active Users in 2023

We’re thrilled to highlight how our collections fueled fearless exploration throughout 2023. Of particular note is the remarkable 48% increase in the borrowing of children’s materials. This increase, and the numbers below, underscore our commitment to nurturing literacy, encouraging exploration, and fostering a lifelong love of reading among our young community members.

250,000 Item Checkouts

We had 250,000 item checkouts in 2023. This is nearly a 17% increase over 2022

48%

Increase in checkouts of Children’s materials over 2022.

27%

Of item checkouts are eBooks and eAudiobooks

4000

Checkouts of cloudLibrary digital magazines and streaming

Checkouts by Age:

53% Adult

43% Children

4% Teen

14,641 ACTIVE USERS

MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS THAT INFORM CHANGE

Photo of a library staff and a volunteer at a booth at Seedy Saturday.

38%

Increase in the number of programs offered over 2022

17.5%

Increase in the number of outreach sessions over 2022

In 2023, we built our programming and outreach around skill-building and community connection. Our Maker Lab programs offered a chance to sharpen digital literacy and skills, while programs like Crafternoon and Seniors’ Walk & Talk fostered social bonds through shared interests. Events such as the Homelessness and Hope panel and Learning and Sharing Circles led by Tracey Whiteye and Mary-Anne Kechego were ways of bringing important topics to our community in an accessible way. Through our outreach efforts, we extended our impact beyond the library walls.

LIBRARY PROGRAMS

472

Programs held in 2023

8003

Instances of attendance at programs

125%

Increase in outreach attendance and interactions

LIBRARY OUTREACH

87

Different Outreach Sessions

4756

Instances of attendance and interactions on outreach

95%

Increase in outreach attendance and interactions

ADAPTABLE & INCLUSIVE SPACES

Photo of an artist with art displayed on the library's art wall.

Over 120,000 visits to the Library in 2023

In 2023, many library spaces underwent exciting updates, including the relaunch of the Art Wall, the relocation of non-fiction to the Upper Level, and the creation of a new Teen Space on the Main Level. The library welcomed over 120,000 visitors throughout the year. Public computer use continued, highlighting the ongoing need within our community for access to computers and internet connectivity. Lastly, and importantly, our dedicated staff provided over 1000 people with in-depth 1-on-1 help, and answered 26,000 quick reference questions about the library, books, and services.

PUBLIC COMPUTER USE

13,644

Public Computer Sessions

10,439

Hours of Computer Use

CUSTOMER SERVICE

1,344

People took a 1-on-1 session for personalized help using library tech or services

26,000

# of times staff assisted visitors with quick reference, finding materials, or general questions

38%

Increase in Library visits over 2022

750

People visited us on Tuesday of March Break, our busiest day of 2023

REDEFINING LIBRARY

Photo of a group of five people at the library's Business After Five event.

31,6621

Monthly Newsletter Views

The numbers below reflect the library’s reach online through our website and social media channels. To truly redefine library, we need to list more intangible things, such as the delight we attempt to bring to our community, both in the building and online. A few things we surprised our community with in 2023:

 

  • The donation of the Epilog Laser Cutter by the Shields Family. This machine has been extremely popular and brought people into the library who otherwise wouldn’t have visited.
  • The library hosted “Business After Five” in September, which was an excellent chance to show off the library space and services to our business community.
  • The purchase of an outreach van to help us reach every corner of our growing city.
  • The launch of Nature Backpacks, revamped STEAM Kits, and Wi-Fi Hotspots that allow people to borrow experiences from their library.

WEB

76,267

Website Sessions

101,599

Online Catalogue Sessions

SOCIAL MEDIA

+232

Instagram Followers

+837

Facebook Followers

.53%

Increase in website visits over 2022

21,832

Number of people who saw our most popular social media post in 2023

Thank You For Your Support

Thank you for taking the time to read our Annual Report. If you believe in the importance of a strong, vibrant library, please consider making a donation today. Your contribution will help our community thrive!