At the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, we don’t like to make a big deal about what we do. We love providing library services to the community and that’s what makes us happy. However, since we celebrated National Library Worker’s Day a few weeks ago, I want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on the incredible work performed by our library staff members.

Our library system is something to be truly proud of. Our usage statistics are leaps and bounds ahead of our comparators, both locally and nationally. They always have been, and even with our current constraints and challenges around the pandemic, our numbers continue to be some of the highest.  I’ll give you a few numbers to help paint a picture. Since January 1, 2022: we have circulated 319,796 items; 94,925 patrons have visited our locations; and we have provided over 100,000 wireless internet sessions.

These numbers used to be astronomically higher, but due to the pandemic and our innovation over these past couple years, library usage has shifted. As you all know, in April 2020, we launched a home delivery service and have continued to offer this service to all residents in our service district, even after reopening our buildings. Yes, that means we are driving all over Benton County to deliver items!

What you might not know is that this service is incredibly unique. We are one of very few libraries in the entire nation providing a service of this nature. During the height of the pandemic, when our doors were closed, we were making upwards of 2,000 deliveries a week. Right now, our weekly delivery average is 800-1,100. Grand total, we’ve made over 136,000 deliveries so far.

Every single library staff member has pitched in to make this happen. It’s taken a massive effort to create this new service and make it efficient and effective. While a lot of libraries are now returning to their old ways of doing things, we are not. We are continuing to push ourselves and reinvent services so that they meet the needs of the modern world. Delivery is here to stay. Yes, this is the hard path. Yes, it means more work. Nonetheless, we’re committed to being the best library we can possibly be, and that fuels us more than anything else!

We’ve done a lot to be proud of over the years — eliminating late fines for patrons; creating non-traditional collections like our Library of Things; collaborating with the School District to start our Book Box delivery program; providing top-notch, quality programming for all ages; and being one of the main support systems for our most vulnerable and marginalized community groups. These accomplishments are only possible because of the team we have in place at the Library.

The best way to celebrate a library is to use it! We are about more than books and have been for a long time. We’d be happy to see you at one of our locations or equally as delighted to deliver a bag full of items to your doorstep.

I can’t thank library staff enough for the passion and dedication they put into their daily work. I think the best way to end this month’s letter is by sharing the text printed on our favorite staff shirt. The front reads “Adventure Guide,” and the back says this:

Here, we empower individuals and
strengthen our community. We blaze
trails, open minds, feed passions, and
fight for access. This is Adventure.

Where would you like to go?