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April 2015 Newsletter

posted May 8, 2015, 4:57 PM by Cutler Memorial Library
  • Most popular circulating materials 
  • "How do we measure up?"
  • Coming Up in May 
  • Keep Calm and Smell All the New Books
  • Thank you, Plainfield Taxpayers!!!
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"Check it Out!"
Cutler Memorial Library News for April/May 2015

Most popular titles in the last 12 months
What have Plainfield Library Patrons borrowed most often in the last year?

All the light we cannot see 
The goldfinch 
My brilliant friend
Gone girl : a novel 
The invention of wings 

Can't we talk about something more pleasant? 
What I was doing while you were breeding : a memoir 
I hate to leave this beautiful place
Being Mortal : Medicine and What Matters in the End 

The pigeon needs a bath! 
My new friend is so fun! 
Sing along with Old MacDonald
Spin and learn: our neighborhood

The silver linings playbook 
Book Thief
12 years a slave

The magician's land : a novel 
A game of thrones 
The firebird 

Artemis Fowl
Blood of Olympus
Dragon's Eye
House of Hades

The Amber Spyglass
Alice 19th
I am here!

The Cuckoo's Calling
The Mercy Watson Collection
Wild Child and other stories
The Lacuna
Get the latest book club info any time at
     The Vermont Department of Libraries asks every public library in the state to submit an annual report, and the results are published and made available for anyone to compare their town’s statistics with not only other towns but also their library’s own measurements in previous years’ reports.  We recently analyzed the last four years’ data to compare the Cutler Memorial Library to other libraries in towns between 1000-2500 people as well as the average for all libraries in Vermont.  For those interested, we offer this summary of our findings:

     Circulation trends over the past four years have shifted from well below the median for other libraries in communities our size as well as the state median to almost the same as the average for libraries serving similar-sized populations, where circulation has been decreasing slightly.  Circulation around the state as a whole has remained fairly even. The number of items circulating per person has gone less than 3 to around 6, almost matching the state average.  The volume of our interlibrary loan requests to other libraries went steeply higher (to almost 300 requests) from 2010-11 until 2013-14 , when it dropped to the average number of requests sent from Vermont libraries (about 160); while requests sent to the CML from other libraries went up steeply in 2013-14  to almost the average for other communities our size.
     Across Vermont and at libraries in other small towns (with populations between 1000-2500), staffing has the greatest expense over the years examined; roughly half of the total average budget and close to twice the amount of other operating expense averages. They are primarily tax-supported, with less than 20% (on average) coming from grants and fundraising efforts.  The Cutler Memorial Library derives between 30-35% of its income from sources other than taxes, thanks to the income from the rental upstairs and from fundraising and the support of the Friends of the Library as well as grants.  Other operating expenses (not the collection and not the staffing) are the greatest expense at the Cutler, although the last measured fiscal year saw staffing expenses almost at the same level as other operating expenses. State-wide trends for collection expenditures have gone from almost 13% to just over 11% of the annual budget.  At the community level, it has been a little higher but quite similar.  Plainfield typically spends a little more of its total income on the collection; as much as 15%. We spent more money on the collection than the average spent at other small-town libraries, as well as the libraries’ average across all community sizes in Vermont.  We spent more than $5 per person in Plainfield last year, while the other two groups each had an average of around $4.

     We have more videos than either the state average or other libraries our size, but our book collection (while steadily increasing over the past four years) is smaller than the other two comparison groups and we have fewer audio books in our collection.  But when looking at the ratio, our print holdings per person in the community have increased to outshine both the average for other small communities and the state average, both of which have been steadily decreasing.  We have almost 7 books for every person in Plainfield, while the state average is (and has been, these past four years) less than 5.

     As previously noted, we consistently have around 42% higher “other” expenses than either the small-town or state-wide average; conversely, the percentage of our total budget spent on staffing is consistently more than 35% lower.  It is likely this is a factor of being an independent entity (a non-profit organization) as opposed to being a municipal entity, where some operating expenses (like water, plowing, building maintenance) are likely included as part of the municipal budget instead.  There are 54 other incorporated libraries in Vermont (not part of town, county or state government), of the 182 libraries in the state.  Fun fact: Did you know that Vermont has the highest number of libraries per person in the United States?

     Digital downloading trends aren’t surprising: every January has shown a spike in the use of “Listen Up, Vermont!” (our collective access to e-books and audiobooks), probably due to holiday-season gifts of e-readers, smartphones and tablets each year.  From 2010 thru 2011, about 450 people were registering each month across the state.  In 2012, it picked up to more than 1000 new users, and more than 600 library patrons have been signing up almost every month since, about 37,600 Vermonters to date. Translated: about 6% of Vermont’s population uses Listen Up, Vermont. In Plainfield, more than 10% of our residents use the service: a total of 137 people.  While there are a few of us that use the service a LOT, about half the people using the service have only borrowed between 1-5 titles.  However, the 25 people who do use the service often borrowed 1475 titles between 2010 and 2014.  At this point, an average of about 20 people a month are borrowing between 30 and 80 titles a month.  Our entire physical audiobook collection has about 100 titles; Listen Up, Vermont offers access to 2034 audiobooks and 3865 e-books. 

     Does that mean fewer people coming to the library? NO! Our visits per year have almost doubled since 2010-11, to a point just slightly less than other libraries in communities our size.  In 2010-11, there were 3120 visits and last year (2013-14) 4836 visits.  When comparing visits based on the number of people in the community, we went from 2.5 to more than 4 visits per person per year, almost matching the average for other small-town Vermont libraries.  While the visitor count in Plainfield has gone steadily up from year to year, at both the state-wide and the (other) small-towns level, average per capita visits have decreased.

     While the average computer use at the small-town and statewide level have gone down each year, Cutler Memorial library’s computer use more than doubled between 2012-13 and 2013-14.  It will be interesting to see the data from the other FiberConnect libraries to compare with our experience since “turning up” the speed-of-light WiFi in 2014.  While data only goes back to the beginning of this fiscal year, we’re seeing between 150 to almost 600 hours of WiFi use per month!  We are open an average of 102 hours each month, so that is equivalent of between 1 to 5 people accessing high-speed internet for every hour we are open.  Between 35-65 people are connecting on their own devices for between around 4 hours to almost 13 hours every month.
Four more weeks of Thursday morning story time, 10:30 am!  We will continue it into summer if participants request it.  

Classic Book Club discussion, May 1st at 6 pm at the Cutler Memorial Library.  discussing Basho - The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches.  The group will likely decide the titles for the coming several months at this meeting also.

The Youth Poetry/Spoken Word workshop series invites you to a community-night-zine-release-poetry-slam-doodle on the 21st of May!  Check our web site at for all the details.
Thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library and generous individual contributions, we have some of the most-talked-about books of 2014 as well as many newer books getting attention among readers and critics. 

Don’t know what to read next?  We’d be happy to match you with a book based on your personal taste in reading.   
The Cutler Memorial Trustees are accepting letters of interest from community members wishing to be considered for the vacant seat on the board of trustees.  The commitment is approximately four hours per month, including a monthly meeting of about 2 hours currently scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday night of each month.  If you would like to join this diverse group of easy-going but dedicated and involved community members (current trustees are: Monica Light, chairperson; Bob Rosenfeld, secretary; Linda Bartlett, treasurer; Ryan Horvath; Bev Thomas; Sandra Wells), please send a letter describing your interest/background in community service and any fundraising experience you have or mail it to Cutler Memorial Library, att: Loona Brogan, PO Box 186, Plainfield, VT 05667.
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