Hatch Library usage up in 2021 after down year | Juneau County Star-Times

Following a down year with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mauston’s Hatch Library bounced back in 2021 with more than 30,000 visits.

Library Director Bridget Christenson updated the Mauston Common Council on the activities of the library during a meeting Feb. 8.

Christenson said the library submitted their 2021 annual report to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, a requirement every year, and observed some new trends.

“What we notice not just here, but in libraries around the state… are internet use, Wi-Fi, hotspots, our meeting room spaces are in really high demand post-COVID,” Christenson said. “Books, both regular physical books and e-books, I think digital things, DVDs and audio books, music CDs we’re not really seeing any demand for those typed of things anymore.”

Although demand might be down for certain types of items, the library still saw 30,227 visitors in 2021. Those visitors checked out 37,681 books, 16,292 DVDs, 1,667 magazines and 1,290 audiobooks. The technology services saw 17,089 Wi-Fi users, 14,543 e-books downloaded, 4,270 users of the technology lab, 103 Wi-Fi hotspot check outs and the library’s website was visited 4,270 times.

People are also reading…

Christenson said the library is slowly bringing back in person programming with numerous events throughout the week, though the events have changed to be mindful of community members who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“We plan programming differently, where instead of here’s this thing at six o’clock, it’s stop in between six and seven… and try to spread things out,” Christenson said. “The outside patio and the park, we’ve already started booking musicians for concerts in the park and trying to do more outside things.”

The library opened a new public patio in 2021 and the space has been seen used for meetings, book clubs, and events like pumpkin carving. During 2021 the library distributed 842 “make-n-take” craft kits, hosted 239 meetings, held four book sales and added hotspots, pickle ball sets, outside story time and homeschooling materials.

Christenson reported the library’s efforts to give back to the community included 747 books deliver to nursing homes and little free libraries, 358 books gifted at Christmas, more than 205 knit or crocheted “winter warmers” donated during the winter, and the library held collections for the Carl Nelson Animal Shelter and Food for Purposes.

other actions

In other action before the council, the council:

  • Held a second public meeting on the community development block grant program. No members of the public attended.
  • Approved vouchers in the amount of $1,006,772.
  • Approved a mask mandate for the Mauston and New Lisbon municipal airport upon the request of Airport Committee Chairman Mark Rudig. The approval of the mandate allows the airport to be eligible for additional funding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.


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