Library User Numbers Show Upward Trend

Ella-Fey Zalezsak took over the reins of Squamish Public Library in January. "I wanted to serve in the public library system again. I wanted to be involved in the community,” she says.

“This is a welcoming space and it makes people feel comfortable, and it attracts new residents,” says Ella-Fay Zalezsak.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug. 4, 2012

It’s a quiet place of learning and reflection, but it’s also one of the most heavily used public service in town.

That is something that the library director Ella-Fay Zalezsak realised as she compiled a list of numbers for an annual report.

The number of people in 2011 who visited the library: 119,877.

That is a gain of 7.77 per cent from 2010, said Ella-Fey.

Zalezsak, who has been at the helm got eight months, saw an interesting fact in that increase.

“Every Squamish citizen visited the library for at least seven times, and borrowed little over 10 items per person,” she said.

That would mean that everything in the library building went out three times.

Library user numbers have been steadily moving up in Squamish and elsewhere as people reign in their spending given the tight economy.

Whether it’s upgrading their skills or finding a job, Squamish residents have made good use of their library, Zalezsak said.

Visits to the library have increased by as much as 25.76 per cent in the past four years.

Library counts its visitors by a door counter, but also by the number of people enrolled in their programs.

And here is a figure that will make you value your library even more.

The library has 491 programs, offering an assortment of programs from small babies to adult book clubs.

The number of items borrowed from the library has increased by 45 per cent in the past four years.

From 2010 to 2011, for instance, 173, 959 items were borrowed out by Squamish residents, an average of three items per resident.

Zalezsak said the library numbers are up because of excellent customer service provided by the staff.

“This is a welcoming space and it makes people feel comfortable, and it attracts new residents,” she said.

New initiatives are also driving the popularity.

The library has purchased Business Source Premier, a business research database that can help local business with useful tips on expansion and marketing.

Career Cruising is another recent purchase that features interview with real people in every career, in-depth profiles, and information on colleges.

The Digital History Project was one of the most ambitious projects, and provides access to 39 photograph and newspaper collections.

The library is also planning a community study that will enable it to understand what Squamish wants want from its library.

“We want to find out what are some of the things we need to make our library best serve the community needs,” she said.


  1. Diane Sherlock says:

    I love going to the library.friendly staff and a welcoming space