Library sees rise in website hits


Graphic by Margo Ogloblina.

Walter Doerschuk

It’s hard to think of a library without thinking of its books.

That’s because for so long, people have gone to libraries for the purpose of finding a hardback or paperback book to read. But even in the Kent State library, times are changing.

“I think the number of traditional book circulation is decreasing because students have so many other choices,” said Barbara Schloman, associate dean of the library.

Total circulation in the library factors in checkouts, check-ins, renewals, hold requests and recall requests. It was down in 2011 compared to 2009 and 2010, said Tom Klingler, assistant dean of the library.

In 2011, total circulation was 614,402. It was 646,675 in 2010 and 623,374 in 2009, Klingler said.

While book circulation is down, people seem to be getting information from the library in other ways. Klingler said there was a 3.5 percent increase in library website visits between the time periods of Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010 and Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011.

Even though book circulation is important, offering other ways of obtaining information is crucial for the library. The Internet is one of the avenues.

Kelsey Meyer, senior fashion design major, said she doesn’t check out books because she can find the information she needs on the Internet.

“A lot of information is easy to find online,” Meyer said. “We live in Ohio where it’s cold and people are a lot less likely to walk to the library when they can get what they need in their dorm room.”

James Bracken, dean of the library, said the library tries to offer as many paths as possible to get information.

“Our goal is to provide a person a diversity of resources to get what he or she wants within reason,” he said.

Bracken said 72 percent of the library’s budget goes to electronic resources while 28 percent goes to print resources. The largest portion of print resources is spent on books.

“Books are a place where we spend a lot of money, but we spend a lot more on electronics,” Bracken said.

Some Kent State students said they still find a need to check out library books.

Freshman technology major Todd Rider said he can’t afford a Kindle or other forms of technology. He said he regularly checks out library books.

“I can’t get the books I need without making an effort to get them,” Rider said.

Mike Stapleton, junior history major, said he likes using books the old-fashioned way.

“I don’t like online books,” Stapleton said. “I hate anything online. I actually prefer looking at books.”

Contact Walter Doerschuk at [email protected].