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

Statistics for 2017 illustrate that Delta County residents are regularly utilizing library services in a variety of ways. Each day about 926 people walked into the five libraries, checking out 511 print materials and 339 movies every single day. Library programs attracted approximately 110 patrons in to the libraries and other community spaces every day. Public computers in the libraries averaged 138 daily log-ins and patrons checked out 73 audio and e-audio materials and 36 e-books every single day.

"Our librarians see daily foot traffic and respond to customer service needs in a way that is comparable to retail stores," says LaDonna Gunn, assistant district director of Delta County Libraries. "The libraries bring people into our downtown areas where they engage with others, seek knowledge and information, participate in library activities, support other establishments, and so much more."

Library patrons rarely have to pull out their pocketbooks when they visit their local libraries, except when settling overdue fines, lost item fees, or printing and copying costs. However, for some library users, fines and fees create a barrier for continued use of the libraries.

"In the spirit of Library Lovers Month, we want to invite patrons who have stopped using our services due to overdue fines back into the libraries," says Lea Hart, district director of Delta County Libraries. On Feb. 28, Delta County Libraries is offering a one-time fine forgiveness day to mark the end of Library Lovers Month.

"We are extending to library users the opportunity of a fresh start with this one-time event," says Hart. "We are also asking our patrons to reciprocate on our offer by finding and returning lost items and paying their fines or someone else's fines in the form of a donation, if they can."

In addition, the days leading up to fine forgiveness day are an opportunity for library staff and patrons to express their mutual affection for each other.

Patrons are encouraged to show their support by joining a friends group, volunteering, making a one-time or recurring donation, attending a program, encouraging a neighbor to visit the library, or stopping in just to say "hi" to a librarian.

"We have heard our patrons express their great need and appreciation for our public libraries," Hart states. "We hope this campaign, in connection with fine forgiveness, will inspire community members to support the libraries in their own way."

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


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