SE Regional Library busier than ever

Southeast Regional Library had its busiest year ever in 2018, offering over 5,000 programs in the 47 branch libraries, and developing a strategic plan for the region, with new innovative technologies and services to come in 2019, community representatives heard at the region’s annual meeting held on Saturday at the Captain’s Hall in Weyburn.

The executive for the coming year includes chair Dianne Sander of Weyburn, vice-chair Colleen Fellner of the RM of Griffin, Carol Cundall of Estevan, Ida Donovan of Wilcox, Donna Hartley of Ogema, Bill Wilke of Yellow Grass, John Naumetz of Fort San, JoAnn Hauglum of Midale and library director Kate-Lee Nolin.

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In her report to the AGM, Sander noted there were 5,189 programs in 2018 attended by 51,049 people, which is half the population of the southeast region. This number is up from 43,330 the year before. On average, each branch held 79 programs, which is almost two per week.

She noted the trustees met to discuss topics of importance to the future of the libraries in the region, and the points raised there were passed on to the panel convened by the provincial government on the future of the library system in Saskatchewan.

The main point for Southeast Regional Library was the need for reliable, sustainable funding, and the trustees also noted the need for promotions and marketing.

This led in part to hiring a summer student last year, Morgan Jones, who produced a series of videos, including videos promoting the musical makerspace kits along with a series of training and promotional videos that are now featured on the regional library’s YouTube channel. From October to December, branch staff have created and posted 20 new videos to the channel.

The Southeast Regional Library has two full-service city libraries (Weyburn and Estevan), along with 44 rural public library branches, one integrated school-public library branch and three community delivery sites.

Altogether, Southeast Regional Library’s collection includes 205,704 titles, 16,581 DVDs, 6,456 CDs, 29 online reference databases, 27 digital e-magazines, 65,560 e-books, 12,427 e-audiobooks and 610,869 Hoopla streaming materials.

Hoopla is the regional library’s streaming music, movie, e-book, e-audiobook, TV and comic service, with 3,346 registered users of the service across the southeast region. There were 18,555 items circulated in 2018, up from 13,067 in 2017.

Through Library2go, which provides downloadable audiobooks and e-books, there are 5,682 patrons registered through Southeast Regional Library, and they used 47,004 ebooks and 17,694 e-audiobooks in 2018.

In addition, through the Saskatchewan Information and Library Services (SILS) consortium, the province’s own library app was launched in 2018, enabling library patrons to access public libraries’ catalogues anywhere at any time in the province. Currently the SILS app is access by over 700 patrons per day, a number that is growing every month.

Every branch maintains a Facebook account, and as of the end of 2018, there were about 6,628 posts, with an average of 138 posts per branch, including headquarters, which is a 23 per cent increase in activity over the previous year.

There is also a twitter account for every branch, and there were approximately 2,856 tweets in 2018, a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.