Library use soars in Saratoga County

"The only thing I could attribute it to was people canceling their subscriptions and coming to use the library," said Gutelius.

As in Saratoga Springs, more and more CP-HM users are honing their computer skills at the library, and while officials are maintaining roughly the same number of programs, they're looking for solutions that will fit more people into classes. In the coming months, a special program on job searching is planned.

According to Round Lake Library Assistant Director Nancy Shehan, money issues influence a great number of library users these days. As with other libraries, Round Lake's summer reading program is booming.

"It seems like with the economy the way it is, they're looking for free things to do," she said. "I think money has been driving decisions by the average family for a while."

One area library bucking the trend of increased circulation is the Town of Ballston Community Library, where circulation during the first six months of this year has fallen almost 9 percent when compared to the same period in 2008. At the same time, however, the circulation of items being lent to other libraries has increased by about the same ratio.

But despite seeing fewer materials leave the building, the number of people coming in the door has definitely increased, said Library Director Karen DeAngelo.

"I feel like we're going full out as far as the number of people who are showing up for programs," she said. "We're doing tremendous business for July because of our summer reading program."

Preschool reading sessions tend to be jam packed, and 500 children have already signed up for the summer reading program, said DeAngelo. There's also been a significant jump in people enlisting library staff to proctor exams for online college courses they are taking.

With children and teen reading programs, free classes and audiobooks and reference materials being placed online, all libraries have become anything but book lenders where librarians shush patrons.

"It's a very busy place. You come in here any day of the week and you can really feel it," said Pulver. "The way people use a modern library is a lot different than the traditional view of the library."

Of course, with all those new duties and a slew of new business, libraries' staffs are naturally finding themselves busier. For many, that's hardly a bad thing.

"It's wonderful," said DeAngelo. "There's nothing I'd rather see than people coming to use the library.""

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