Local libraries will participate in 'Snapshot Day'

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Jewett City, Sprague, Norwich - posted Tue., Apr. 5, 2011
Sprague Public Library patrons read to a dog during last year's 'Snapshot Day.' Photo courtesy of Sprague Public Library. - Contributed Photo

On April 13, many Connecticut library patrons can expect to become part of a state-wide library initiative known as Snapshot Day. The day-long event was planned by the Connecticut Library Association, in conjunction with the Connecticut Library Consortium and the Connecticut State Library.

On that day, participating libraries will collect data on library usage that will include how many new patrons were registered, how many reference questions were answered, how many people used library computers, whether or not classes were offered that day, and if so, how many patrons participated.

According to CLA President Debbie Herman, “The idea behind Snapshot Day was to have this one day that we would be able to capture the impact that libraries have on their communities. Libraries tend to be the unsung heroes of our communities.” Herman said that libraries exist to serve their communities, yet do not have extensive marketing budgets, so Snapshot Day helps to keep public libraries in the limelight.

Now in its second year, Snapshot Day also serves a data collection function, and in this capacity, can help defend libraries against budget cuts from the state. Herman says that this year’s budget cuts have not been as drastic as last year's, “but it's something libraries are always fighting against,” she said. “We want to remind our legislators that libraries are important.”

Herman explained that two very large proposed cuts that libraries are currently facing are the C-Car and C-Card services, which support the inter-library loan function. C-Car is a courier-type service that supports the transport of library-to-library materials, thus allowing libraries to lend to each other. The C-Card service enables any patron with a Connecticut library card to borrow from their community library, or to visit other Connecticut libraries to borrow materials.

“The State Library keeps meticulous data on usage,” said Herman, who said that C-Car delivered a greatest number of materials last year than any in its 30-year history.

Slater Library in Jewett City will participate in Snapshot Day April 13. According to Slater Library Director Meg Vantine, the purpose of Snapshot Day is to capture “a day in the life of the public library.”

According to Vantine, the term “snapshot” is used both literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, Slater Library will take photos to document the day’s activities. In a figurative sense, data will be collected and compiled in support of the library function.

“Any data we can collect right now is important. It shows the people of Connecticut how much people really do use libraries,” Vantine said.

Sprague Public Library will observe Snapshot Day on April 19, when the library will sponsor an event featuring literacy dogs. Children can read to the dogs from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Library Assistant Kristin Elliott explained that children enjoy reading to the dogs, because animals do not judge them on their reading ability. Reading to a dog also offers an excellent opportunity for children to practice reading.

Elliott hopes that Snapshot Day will capture how busy the Sprague Public Library is.

“We have a pretty busy library. A lot of people fail to see that. We offer a lot of programs... I'd like to capture that,” Elliott said.

Otis Library, in Norwich, will offer several programs on April 13, for its observance of Snapshot Day. Staff members will also distribute questionnaires, and will be taking photographs to document the day's events.

Snapshot Day results and photos will be available at snapshotctlib.wordpress.com, where last year’s information and photos can also be viewed.

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