Beaver Dam Community Library hopes to set a new record for circulation this year, thanks to a challenge issued in January.

Beaver Dam Community Library administrator Sue Mevis said library board president Jim Flynn threw out a check out challenge at the January board meeting: increase circulation to 400,000. The library’s circulation reached 374,656 in 2012.

The library will need to average about 33,333 check outs each month to reach that goal.

“We need our library people to come check things out,” Mevis said.

Mevis said e-books checked out using Overdrive do not count, but that books, audiobooks, movies, magazines and music do.

“Anything than you can physically check out,” Mevis said.

Mevis said they kicked off the year great, with 33,119 check outs in January, the highest number ever, and are on track to beat last February’s numbers.

The library is promoting the challenge on its Facebook page, and devoted a display case to the challenge featuring a light bulb that will fill up each month to show where the library is at in meeting the goal.

“People have been stopping to look to find out what the 400,000 is all about,” Mevis said.

She said the library also plans a membership drive, and may offer giveaways to library patrons who bring someone in who does not have a library card to apply for one. The library had 15,712 active users in 2012. Mevis said the library averages between 70 and 100 library card applications a month, and they hope to double their monthly average.

Mevis said that if the library does not have something a patron wants, she sometimes shops at BookWorld in downtown Beaver Dam to fill the request.

“It’s nice having a local bookstore here,” Mevis said.

She said the library is using slot walls and face out displays, similar to those used in bookstores, to help bring draw attention to books and other materials. Mevis said the library dedicates three displays for one of the library’s most popular items: cookbooks and cooking magazines.

Mevis said the library’s Internet access and wireless help bring people through the doors, and she hopes they’ll see something they want to check out while visiting the library.

Other services at the library include “Book a Librarian,” a service that allows people to make an appointment with a librarian for help with genealogy research, local history, job searches and more.

“People seem to like the one-on-one interaction,” Mevis said.

The BDCL belongs to the SHARE Consortium, which allows library card holders to check out books from the combined collections of 53 public libraries, school libraries, and public library systems in Southeastern Wisconsin. Mevis said the SHARE system now allows two renewals for checked out materials.

“Anything that does not have a hold on it is renewable,” Mevis said.

The library recently installed a scanner with an 11-by-17 screen that allows people to scan materials and send it via email, load it on a USB drive, send it to a printer and more.

 The library also offers a free program for families with children from birth through age 5, challenging them to read 1,000 books before kindergarten. Participants get a sticker and bookmark for each 100 books read, and a certificate of completion and book of their own when they finish 1,000 books. Reading three stories a day, meet goal in one year

Call the BDCL at 920-219-4400 to learn more about the program.

To learn more about BDCL, visit the library website, or follow the library on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

alutey@capitalnewspapers.com

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