From issuing 8,117 library cards to new customers to re-welcoming 11,776 returning customers, Pierce County Library System’s third annual card drive was a giant triumph.
During the one-month drive in October, 8,117 people signed up for new cards. Also, for the first and only time the Library gave amnesty to people with outstanding fines and fees due to overdue books and other materials.
“Both the card drive and amnesty did just what we had hoped,” said Neel Parikh, executive director of Pierce County Library. “We offered amnesty to help respond to the economic downturn and reduce further pressure to people, while welcoming them back to the Library. Staff helped people who were ecstatic about the opportunity of amnesty, with some people so happy to the point of tears.”
Parikh said the response was phenomenal and that people were grateful, excited and couldn’t say thank you enough.
Amnesty week welcomed people back to the Library without affecting the Library’s bottom line budget, which includes projected revenues from fines and fees of $520,000. The Library appears to still be on track with its budgeted number for revenues from fines and fees for this year.
“We believe this is because we reached people who otherwise may not have returned to the library; thus we met our goal to help them without affecting out budget,” said Parikh.
Returning customers brought back 972 books and other items with a total value of nearly $19,000. Library staff will either distribute those books throughout the libraries for people to check out or sale to book buyers with the profits going toward the purchase of additional books and materials.
During the card drive, people could enter to win a laptop computer or pair of earbuds, gifts from Pierce County Library Foundation. In all 40 people won earbuds. The laptop winners were Marie Bassett of Gig Harbor and Braden Symmes of Graham.
Out of the estimated 546,000 people in the Library’s service area in October, 247,000 people have library cards, which is a 12 percent increase over this time last year. With the card people get an array of free services, including access to more than 1.3 million books, movies, CDs and more.
Adults and kids can get a card online 24/7, at one of 17 library locations or on one of three bookmobiles during open hours.