Business booming at library

75% of residents have cards

A Moab resident peruses Grand County Public Library’s offerings. Photo by Carter Pape

The people of Grand County love their library.

Director Carrie Valdes during a report to the Grand County Council at its meeting Tuesday said 75 percent of residents have a library card – there are 8,200 active cardholders – and they use it often.

With over 50,000 items available for checkout and the addition of 5,000 new items each year, the library in Moab averages 500 visitors a day, 95 percent of them local, and they checkout on average 550 items, said Valdes.

Use of the library’s 64 computers has seen a “huge jump,” said Valdes, with about 85,500 log-ons in 2018. The use is split nearly evenly between adults, 49 percent, and juveniles, 51 percent.

The guest speaker and other programs, especially those geared toward children the library sponsors, also are hugely successful, with nearly 13,000 people attending 435 programs last year.

Library Director Carrie Valdez says 8,200 Grand County residents have library cards, which is 75% of residents. Photo by Doug McMurdo

Children’s programs such as Toddler Time and Story Time account for 60 percent of the programs offered, she said.

Residents of Castle Valley and its satellite library are equally enthusiastic, with more than 10,000 checkouts in 2019 in the small town east of Moab, said Valdes.

Library personnel have been busy helping an inquisitive public get answers. Valdes said more than 13,000 reference questions were answered along with 4,300 telephone calls.

There are 22 employees, eight that are full time, and volunteers logged more than 1,500 hours in 2018, said Valdes.

Valdes said the average property owner pays about $60 a year to help fund the library, an expense that helps create a $7.45 value for every tax dollar. She said the figure was determined through a number of avenues, such as factoring in the average $17 people save when they rent rather than purchase a book.

Not all the news was positive. Valdes said the recent $20,000 repair to about a quarter of the library roof eliminated leaks, but membrane roofs have a 20-year lifespan and the remainder will likely have to be repaired within the next seven years.