Killarney's Lakeland Regional Library is seeing an increase in numbers, getting closer to the number of patrons prior to Covid-19.
Library Administrator, Krista Law, says before the pandemic they were at 15,894 patrons in 2019, and they saw a stark drop off in numbers during the 2-years of restrictions, reaching between 8,000-10,000 per year. This includes the curbside pick-up and drop off service they provide during Covid.
Patrons are returning however, as numbers show 13,613 people visited the Killarney library during 2022.
"We definitely found that there were fewer people using the library when they couldn't come in," explains Law.
"The one thing that's been really interesting is that even though the people coming through our doors has come back up, the number of people using the e-library, or the online services has remained high. So, a lot of people who switched over to e-books or an audio book, are still using them."
Law notes the fewer patrons doesn't affect the library's budget as that is determined by the community's population.
"We have a branch here in Killarney and a branch in Cartwright and those communities had a slight increase in population in the last census. So, our financial numbers are based on the population, not necessarily the number of people coming through the doors," she explains.
"Of course, we have to demonstrate that we're of use to the municipality, so it's important that our numbers come back up and are high enough that a good majority in the region are using the library."
A new program for children has been started at the Killarney Library, bringing creativity and strategy together to encourage learning and building community, with Lego.
"We've started a program where kids can come and build Lego as a drop-in program on Wednesdays after school," she notes, "and we're going to try some programs that are more casual where people can come and go, drop in and maybe go with fewer events like one-night events, because we did find that programming was tough last year. It was hard to get people out to events."