Usage, Programs Booming at Canby Public Library, Even Among Teens

More than 111,000 people have walked through the doors of the Canby Public Library in the past 10 months.

That was just one of the figures highlighting the surprising success and enduring relevancy of the public library in our community, shared by Canby Library Director Irene Green and Library Board Chair Kathleen Myron at last week’s Canby City Council meeting. They had come to present their annual report on the state of the library, and spoiler alert: It’s pretty darn good.

The library serves a population of almost 24,000 — a sizable portion of whom live outside of city limits. Almost half — 45 percent, or close to 11,000 residents — borrow materials from the Canby Public Library.

More than 9,000 people participated in the 500-some programs the library has held since July 2018, and 831 local kids took part in last year’s summer reading initiative.

One of the biggest achievements this year has been the success of the revamped teen program. With after-school youth programming being a desperate need in our community, the library and its affiliate nonprofits like Friends of the Canby Public Library and the Canby Public Library Foundation, stepped up to bridge the gap.

They unveiled a newly renovated and welcoming space, with a laptop bar, new signage, games and other teen-friendly accoutrements, and also added a dedicated part-time teen librarian. After a slower start, the program has exploded this year. Attendance at teen programs is up 187 percent, from fewer than 500 in 2017/2018 to almost 1300 this year.

City Councilor Greg Parker said the growth has been remarkable.

This year, the library has also added non-city residents and a Canby High School student liaison to their board, lowered the minimum age to get a library card to 14 without a parent’s signature, unveiled the Cultural Pass Express, expanded outreach and helped 32 Canby residents become U.S. citizens through a series of citizenship classes.

There are also a few new things on the horizon. The Library of Things is coming to Canby this summer, where you will be able to check out a variety of items such as games, recreational equipment, tools, electronic devices and more with your library card. It’s part of a grant-funded collaboration with the county’s office of sustainability and solid waste.

And a line of 20 brand-new Chromebooks will soon be available to patrons for use in the library for up to 3 hours at a time. The Chromebooks will give users more flexibility and privacy in their online activities, such as taking online courses or conducting business online. Or, you know, checking Facebook — we know you’re doing it.

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