Public library: Where’s the love?

Public library: Where’s the love?

Maybe new renovations to the Northside Library will help the good citizens of Albemarle choose free media over $14 CDs and $50 video-games at nearby Circuit City.

It’s a fixture in every town: the public library. Just by living here (and paying taxes), you get access to a wealth of knowledge. Yet many residents aren’t taking advantage of the local library’s offerings: Total members only increased 0.4 percent in 2006 despite an overall growth rate in the area of around 2 percent. You transplants must be choosing to bleed cash at Amazon or iTunes instead of taking advantage of free stuff! With a mere library card, you can catch up on all those classics you told the teacher you read in high school without breaking the bank. With 495,165 titles, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system (J-MRL) ( might not be the Library of Congress (or even the UVA Library system, which boasts 5.1 million titles), but there is plenty to keep you busy. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers.—with reporting by Nancy Chen

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system

Total budget for 2006-07: $5,492,397

Catalogue acquisitions budget: $700,616

Catalogue additions in 2006, through November: 12,673

Total members registered in 2006, through November: 101,789

Change in registrations compared to November 2005: 0.4%

Circulation from July 2006 to November 2006: 635,249

Change in circulation compared to July 2005 to November 2005: 0.7%

Source: J-MRL