A highlight of my year has been talking to librarians about what they do and why they love their jobs—both at the ALA Annual Conference and at the Arkansas Literary Festival. So, it was a special thrill to speak today with Sharon Saye, the Director of the Bridgeport Public Library in Bridgeport, WV, a town of 8,000 in north-central West Virginia. The BPL is a municipal library with 18,000 registered borrowers—pretty amazing considering the city's population. ("Location, location, location," said Sharon; the library is near a mall off of I-79.)
I called Sharon because she featured BookPage in her November 10 weekly "Library Lowdown" column in the Bridgeport News (see below). Sharon has been writing this column since the mid-1970s, and she will celebrate her 40th anniversary as Library Director in March of 2012!
In her column, she writes book reviews and highlights library programs. She mentions BookPage about three times a year and always near Christmas. Her patrons often ask her for recommendations for books to give as gifts, and she directs them to our holiday catalog.
It was fun to talk to Sharon about how she and her patrons use BookPage. Since she orders books for the library far in advance, she reads the publication as a reminder for what's actually coming out in a particular month. Her patrons read it, of course, to find new books to check out. (Although sometimes they get frustrated if, say, the new Ian Rankin isn't in circulation on the day it is published!)
"[BookPage] is very handy," said Sharon. "A lot of people pick it up. Patrons want to know what's new. It's easy for desk staff to hand it off. It's nice and compact and out the door. And we don't find a lot of them in the parking lot!" (That's a compliment, since apparently the same can't be said for all handouts from the library, unfortunately.)
We also chatted about eBooks—Sharon said last year she looked to see how many eBooks were checked out on OverDrive in December. Thanks to all those eReaders under the tree, the number tripled on Christmas Day.
Finally, I asked Sharon what book she's excited about right now. "The new Janet Evanovich," she said. "She certainly makes you laugh, and that's a good thing."
Thanks again, Sharon, for writing about BookPage!
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