February is a time for sweethearts, candy hearts, red roses and valentines. It is also a time to show your love for your local libraries! February is Library Lover's Month and here in Delta County there is likely a lot of love to go around.

Delta County Libraries are vital hubs in each of the communities they serve. People gather there to acquire books and movies, learn new skills, access public computers and internet, attend a multitude of classes and programs, or just to chat with a friendly librarian. The libraries also provide a "virtual" hub through their online library where patrons can access a variety of resources including e-books, continuing education courses, music, genealogy resources, and much more.

Based on usage numbers for 2016, there is no shortage of active library patrons in Delta County. During library hours, an average of 1,099 people walked into the five libraries every single day. Those same people checked out 591 print materials and 367 movies on any given day. Library patrons logged in to the public computers 155 times and 64 patrons attended library programs every day. Either from the library or from home, patrons checked out 64 audio and e-audio materials and 36 e-books every day.

"These numbers are very similar to the kind of foot traffic that retail stores experience," says LaDonna Gunn, assistant district director of Delta County Libraries. "Considering each library is either central to or very near the downtown district of each community, the number of people frequenting the libraries also reflects on that community's ability to thrive."

And, it is worthwhile to point out that most library patrons rarely have to pull out their pocket book when they visit their local library. Aside from potential late fees or lost items, the resources and services the libraries provide are at no cost to the patron. Library Lover's Month is a good reminder that there are many ways in which the community can support their libraries in return!

An easy way to show love for your local library is simply to stop in for a visit! Library Lover's Month is a great time to reconnect with your library, say "hi" to your librarian, browse the shelves, get a library card if you don't already have one and check out an item.

Another way to celebrate your library is to volunteer. Our libraries are working with limited budgets that have decreased dramatically in recent years. Volunteers are always needed and greatly appreciated.

Finally, there is also the opportunity to support the libraries through a donation. Delta County Libraries is gearing up for a fundraiser that will run through the month of February as part of a long-term effort to safe guard the future of the libraries.

"Most publicly funded organizations have struggled in the last eight years or so with severe financial constraints," states Laura Earley, president of the Delta County Public Library District board of trustees. "Expenses have gone up and revenues have gone down. Familiar story, but our library staff has done an amazing job of continuing to provide and even expand the resources and programs offered to our patrons."

The February fundraiser was initiated by the DCPLD board of trustees in an effort to support the libraries in their mission of "Serving and Empowering People. Providing Resources for Life, Leisure and Learning."

"To those who would consider making a donation," Earley says, "you are making a contribution toward securing a safe place for children to learn, public access to computers and internet, classes, books, movies, magazines, meeting places, the arts and so much more. Our libraries are truly treasures of our communities and they need our support."

District director Lea Hart echoes Earley's sentiment. "We have heard the public express their great need and appreciation for our public libraries. We hope this fundraiser will inspire community members to support the libraries in their own way."

For more information or to get involved, visit your local library or the Delta County Libraries website at www.deltalibraries.org.


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