If you’re a year round user of the Frisco Public Library, you may have noticed a strange phenomenon that always occurs sometime around June 1st.
All the books disappear.
It never fails. Before everyone leaves for their Memorial Day trips, the shelves are packed full with copies of every Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, 39 Clues, and Gordon Korman book ever written. And when we all return from our Memorial Day trips sunburned and ready to curl up with a cold drink and a nice book, the shelves are suddenly empty.
So what gives?
1) The Summer Reading Club.
2) We’re the only public library Frisco’s got.
This summer, we’ve handed out over 8,000 reading logs, and that’s not counting teens, adults, and staff. So that’s at least 8,000 children hoping to read 10 books each in order to earn a fabulous summer reading prize.
So, 8,000 x 10 = at least 80,000 items checked out in the course of the summer… and that’s not counting whatever the teens and adults are taking home. PLUS, most of our big summer readers aren’t just stopping at ten books. They’re reading their ten and then checking out more because hey! reading is fun and free.
Now that’s just me theorizing. Luckily, Elizabeth Chase (our Material Services librarian) doesn’t theorize. She adds numbers up daily. She always knows how much of what is checked out when. And she’s been telling us every week since summer started that we’ve had an average of at least 70,000 items checked out at all times.
But what does that really mean? 70 to 80,000 things sounds like a lot, but doesn’t the library have, like, A MILLION books or something?
Believe it or not, we have about 170,000 items (including DVDs, CDs and ebooks) in our collection. So that means that roughly one half of our entire collection is out and about in the Frisco community at all times during the summer rather than safely tucked away on our shelves.
And of course, there are some random books by authors few have heard of — and then there’s the seventh Harry Potter book on the first week of the movie release. Let’s just say some books are more desireable than others. (We actually have a running librarian joke about dead-of-summer shelf leftovers: if it’s still on the shelf by July 1st, there’s a good chance it needs to be taken out of the collection.)
Top this all off with the fact that we’re only library in Frisco (that’s right, we don’t have branches; we ARE the branch), and you’ve got a recipe for some very empty summer shelves.
So what’s a library to do?
We don’t know about you, but we noticed that Frisco has a lot of teenagers. And these teenagers have NHS hours to complete. And they’ve got college resumes to beef up.
So we put two and two together and created the Frisco Action Advisory Board Volunteen Program. Any high school teen between the ages of 14 and 18 can volunteer at our library to do one of many things.
- Man the reading log table.
- Assist patrons on the Express Checks
- Run books between floors and anywhere else they need to go.
- Sort and shelve books.
This last one is quite important. You see, while everyone is checking books out, our circulation staff are packed away downstairs checking materials back in as fast as they’re being checked out. And once they’re checked in, they have to be sorted and shelved on their respective floors in just the right locations. This is where the teens come in.
Each cart can hold approximately 300 items and every cart generally takes about a half hour to shelve (if at least two people are moving quickly.) But when teens get involved, that shelving time gets cut down to fifteen, sometimes even ten minutes. And while we have teens shelving in the stacks, we have even more sorting the incoming books downstairs. That means that as soon as one cart is shelved, another is already ready to go, turning our circulation room from this:
Sweet, huh? You have those volunteens to thank for that. So please do thank them. They work hard and they get paid in snacks.
For now, you can place desired materials on hold either online or at our Ask Us! desks. And please help us and the rest of the community out by turning in all items on time.
And don’t worry too much — our shelves will be back to normal come September 1st.