Local libraries participate in 'Snapshot Day'

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Fri., Apr. 15, 2011
The goal of 'Snapshot Day' is for local libraries to collect data about how patrons utilize library resources. Photos by Lauri Voter.
The goal of 'Snapshot Day' is for local libraries to collect data about how patrons utilize library resources. Photos by Lauri Voter.

On April 13, many Connecticut library patrons became part of a state-wide 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 collected data on library usage, including 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 greater number of materials last year than any in its 30-year history.

The Stafford Public Library participated in the April 13 Snapshot Day event. Debra Galotto, program coordinator at the library, said, “I think it went very well. I don't think more people showed up because it was Snapshot Day, they just were prepared when we asked if we could take their picture or asked them to fill out the questionnaires. All of the data is being sent to the Connecticut State Library to show how useful the libraries are, and all the different reasons people use them.”

In conjunction with Snapshot Day, the Stafford Library held an event featuring reptiles. Galotto said that nearly 65 people attended the event.

The Willington Public Library also participated in Snapshot Day. Margaret Gankofskie, library assistant at the Willington Public Library, said, “It went great. We had a lot of people come in and we took a lot of pictures. We had a variety of people.”

According to Gankofskie, visitors to the Willington Public Library on April 13 included members of the VFW and local residents who came in for new library cards. The library staff even captured the UPS delivery person on film as he delivered a box of books.

Gankofskie said the library did not have any particular events that day to draw people into the library, since the real purpose of Snapshot Day is to capture a typical day at a local library.

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

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