East Baton Rouge Library visitors, checkouts, downloads all increased in 2015 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- East Baton Rouge Parish Library paige Yu Xiang works in the rows of books in the Library's Reading Room in March 2015.

The city-parish’s library system released an annual report Wednesday that says all of the library’s measures of success — like the number of visitors, checkouts and downloads — increased between 2014 and 2015.

The system’s 14 libraries saw 2.3 million visitors who checked out 2.8 million items during 2015.

Visitors were up by 4 percent from 2014, and checkouts including print and digital material were up by 7.7 percent.

Library users became much more digitally connected to the libraries in the past year.

Logins to the library’s digital network soared by 54 percent, usage of the library’s digital databases climbed by 52 percent and downloading the library’s e-offerings jumped by 32 percent.

“These statistics reflect that we a have a population that makes good use of the library and the opportunities it presents,” said Library Director Spencer Watts in a news release. “We’ve listened to what people have asked for and they have responded to the new services and new spaces with enthusiasm. We will keep working hard to improve, by offering better collections and better services in better designed spaces.”

The annual report also notes that demand for meeting rooms and group study rooms exceeded expectations. Meeting rooms were used more than 6,600 times in 2015 and more than 32,000 visitors used collaborative study rooms at the Main and Fairwood Branch libraries.

The library system is planning to tear down and rebuild the downtown River Center Branch Library this year into the “library of the future.” Library Board members are also scouting sites for a south branch library as they prepare to start renovations to the Jones Creek and Greenwell Springs Regional Branch libraries.

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