‘You could put a book in everybody’s hand’
by W. Winston Skinner
Imagine every person in Coweta County holding up a library book.
That’s what Jimmy Bass, director of the Coweta Public Library System, asked the library trustees to do on Tuesday. The board’s quarterly meeting was held at the Grantville Library, and Bass said circulation during the previous quarter almost equaled a book for every person in the county.
A recent U.S. Census Bureau report listed Coweta as having 133,180 residents. In the past three months, the library’s circulation – the number of books checked out – totaled 131,621.
“We’ve had such a successful summer. I wanted to share it with the board,” Bass said. “There are a lot of people responsible for this.”
The circulation figures “amazed me in a good way,” Bass said. “You could put a book in everybody’s hand in Coweta County.”
Bass predicted an increase in circulation when the entire summer is considered. “It’s going to be even higher if you look at June, July and August,” he said.
Visits in the last three months totaled 75,678. “We have door counters at each door when you come in and out,” Bass said. The total is based on the door counter figure divided by two.
In other business:
• The trustees talked about a raise for Bass, a topic that has been raised before. Tom Dombrowski, trustee chairman, said he would talk with Hans Wilson, the county’s finance director about that possibility and contact other trustees via email.
“I dropped the ball,” Dombrowski said.
“I bet there is a resource through the state where you could find out how our system compares with other systems of comparable size,” Pat McKee, the board’s attorney, offered.
The board talked about Bass’s leadership in the libraries and his involvement in state level professional and library system groups.
• Bass gave an update on the library budget, which is part of the overall county budget. “We’re still working on the county budget, looking for efficiencies, looking for better ways of doing things,” he said. “I have a good feeling about that.”
Bass said he knows putting together the overall budget is a challenge. “You’re always trying to do the best for your citizens. Being a fast-growing county, that’s always a challenge,” he said. He said he tries to keep in mind “we’re one of 70 departments.”
• Bass reported all the libraries have spent less than 70 percent of their budgets – below projections of 75 percent for this time of year. The library administration budget is at 78 percent, but Bass said that figure will drop when the system gets state reimbursement for projects with state funding.
“We should be getting those checks any day now,” he said.
He said the cost for the CPLS courier is going to be somewhat higher than anticipated because of rising gasoline prices, but he said new fixtures at the Powell Library and better insulation at Central Library should net a savings on utilities. Bass said that after personnel, utilities constitute the top monthly bill for the system.