During the first full year of reduced hours at Indianapolis library branches, visits nose-dived 22 percent. Patrons checked out 12 percent fewer books and other items.
But new Indianapolis Public Library CEO Jackie Nytes aims to reverse last year’s drops — in large part by restoring about two-thirds of cuts made to operating hours in 2010 at branches systemwide.
In late 2010, the library system, facing a $4 million budget gap for 2011, slashed hours by 26 percent across its 23 branches, including closing the Central Library one day a week. It also laid off 37 workers and cut the books and materials budget by $1 million.
This year’s nearly $40 million library operating budget — about $2 million higher than in 2011 — was built with the restoration of some hours in mind.
Nytes presented an overview of library finances, as well as trends in how the public uses the system.
For instance, while patrons checked out fewer books and other materials last year, downloads of audiobooks and eBooks — including for Amazon’s Kindle reader — grew by 151 percent.
Despite the drop in circulation last year, the library gained 31,000 new cardholders. It ended the year with 543,000 cardholders.
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