Press Release

Press Release

For Immediate Release:
Friday, July 8, 2011



Cathy Sanford
Deputy County Librarian, Support Services
v. (925)646-6423
f. (925)646-6461

Contra Costa County Library's Circulation Increases by Over Half a Million

Friday, July 8, 2011 – The numbers show that Contra Costa County Library customers love to read and are using their community libraries more than ever. During the past year, approximately 7.5 million items were checked out from Contra Costa County libraries. This figure represents a 7.85 percent increase from last year’s circulation of slightly more than 6.9 million items. Over a ten year period, the Library has seen its use more than double.

This increased usage is a direct result of the Library’s strategic focus upon supporting recreational reading and literacy development. Contra Costa County Library Director Barbara Flynn believes that the growth is a result of “Library users’ confidence in our staff’s ability to respond to their reading needs. Library staff members communicate daily with patrons and carefully analyze use patterns to determine how to best utilize scarce funds. As a result of this practice, we have invested in children’s books intended to help kids feel confident when reading independently and have also increased the size of popular young adult, health, cooking, memoirs, and mystery fiction collections. Community members have responded to these focused investments by using the library at a greater pace than ever before."

Each Contra Costa County community library offers reading-related activities such as story times and author visits. The Library also offers a countywide summer reading festival, one city, one book programs, and book discussion groups.

Recent Library accomplishments that have contributed to the higher circulation figure are the building of a second library in Antioch and new libraries in Lafayette and Walnut Creek along with a redesigned website that includes reading recommendations provided by library staff and immediately downloadable eBooks and audiobooks. A recent customer comment received from a survey on the Library’s collections demonstrates the ease of countywide access to a wide variety of materials -- “I love placing holds online and getting books delivered to my home library. This process has changed the way I make my selections and allows me to obtain mostly anything I’m interested in reading.”

Circulation growth was supported by collaborations with numerous community groups, including Friends of the Libraries throughout the County, as well as gifts from local Foundations and other community groups dedicated to supporting library use. First Five Contra Costa contributed tens of thousands of dollars for the support of early literacy collections in the Antioch, Danville, El Sobrante, Hercules, Oakley, Pleasant Hill, and San Pablo Libraries.

Contra Costa County Library Snapshot:

Total number of items that circulated last year: 7,489,545
Total number of eBooks that circulated last year: 103,790

This year’s increase of children’s books circulated compared to 2010: 275,758
This year’s increase of children’s books circulated compared to 2003: 1,457,857

Number of copies of Harry Potter books the Library owns: 798
Percent of these Harry Potter books currently in children’s hands: 81%

Number of children’s picture books checked out annually: 978,197
Number of teen books checked out annually:  328,511
Number of adult fiction books checked out annually:  944,076
Number of travel books checked out annually: 67,938
Number of cookbooks checked out annually:  78,082

Cost of a library card: $0.00

Contra Costa County Library’s mission is bringing people and ideas together, and serves over 902,000 residents of urban, suburban, and rural communities through 26 community libraries, 3 Library-a-Go-Go book dispensers, and online library services available 24/7 at The Library is considered a leader in technology and access to information.