Rising costs mean fewer items added to county library collection in 2022

E-books and digital products a growing part of library circulation

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Last year, the county library spent more money purchasing fewer items for its collection than it did in 2021, according to an annual statistics report.

According to the data, presented to the Wellington County Library Board this month, the county purchased 1,053 fewer items in 2022 than in 2021, but spent $23,900 more.

“There were less items purchased because book and audio/video prices went up in 2022 compared to 2021,” chief librarian Rebecca Hine explained in an email, adding prices are expected to increase again this year.

The purchasing budget for books, including digital items, increased from $678,300 in 2021 to $702,200 in 2022 to account for rising costs.

This year, the situation looks much the same: the same or fewer items purchased for a higher price.

The purchasing budget for 2023 is getting a $24,000 bump — a yearly 3% increase.

“To deal with inflation, allowing us to purchase roughly the same amount despite increasing costs,” Hine wrote.

E-book purchases up in 2022

The county purchased 2,812 e-books last year, 119 more than in 2021.

“We spent slightly more on e-books and e-audio in 2022 as the budget was adjusted to account for the increase in circulation in that area, and accounting for a greater percentage of our overall circulation,” Hine wrote.

According to county data, e-book circulation rose 3.6% per cent in 2022 – from 198,507 items in 2021 to 205,792 in 2022.

Last year, e-books accounted for 24% of overall circulation.

Overall last year, circulation was up, there were more programs offered, and 4,159 people signed up for library cards.

Card holders can request items for the library to purchase through the library’s catalogue, the Overdrive website, the library’s smartphone app, and in-person.

Last year there were 1,200 such requests, according to the collections librarian.

Purchase requests are evaluated against the library’s collections policy, and if there’s community interest anticipated for the item, the library makes the purchase.