Numbers, eye test show library system to be a unique asset

In an age when Twitter and Wikipedia have replaced traditional forms of information transportation, libraries throughout the nation are suffering a loss of identity and relevancy.

Happily, the Lycoming County Library System is a glaring exception.

It feels like the system of six libraries has never been more popular. And the facts bare that out.

Since 2008, more than 168,000 have visited the James V. Brown Library in downtown Williamsport, library officials reported at a recent Lycoming County Commissioners meeting. The library saw 352,000 physical book check-outs and another 36,000 items such as e-books circulated online.

Countywide, that means about 365,000 visits to a system library, in a county with a population of 116,000. That’s relevancy.

The library system has become more impactful than ever by increasing its reach through a variety of facility and programming upgrades. Stretching beyond its printed word roots, the library’s leaders have taken advantage of — rather than being intimidated by — online possibilities.

Visionary programming caters to all age groups but especially involves younger readers. That’s vital, because they and their children will be the library patrons of tomorrow.

The commissioners have a special interest in the library and the right to hold the organization of 100 employees and 250 volunteers accountable because they allocate significant money annually to its operations.

The numbers and the eye test show that the library system is more than holding up its end of the bargain. The system is doing more than just earning its allocation.

It stands as an anchor asset unique to the city of Williamsport and the county as a whole.

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