Wright County library usage remains vibrant

By John Holler

It would be logical to assume as the world transitions to becoming more paperless and information is often retrieved and dispensed digitally, that libraries would be suffering and/or closing as a result.

That isn’t the case in Wright County where the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) system is thriving and maintaining strong numbers. At the March 27 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, Karen Pundsack, GRRL executive director, made a presentation showing off the accomplishments of GRRL during 2017 and the plans and projects for the future.

Pundsack said the GRRL she came to almost two decades ago has seen significant change, but that the system has been able to keep up the with changes in technology and the morphing needs of library users.

“I started at Great River 19 years ago,” Pundsack said. “When I started, computers didn’t have a mouse, cell phones were next to nonexistent, and we had just launched our website. A lot has changed in that amount of time, but Great River has changed with those times and continued to deliver high quality library services across the six-county area.”

Wright County is the secondlargest user of the GRRL system, which represents six counties – Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, and Wright counties. Of the 132,000 residents of the county, almost 33,000 of those (25 percent) have an active library card – they have taken out at least one item in the last year. There are nine GFFL branch libraries in Wright County – in Annandale, Buffalo, Clearwater, Cokato, Delano, Howard Lake, Monticello, Rockford, and St. Michael.

Despite changes in how people access books and materials, the GFFL libraries in Wright County have remained extremely active. In 2017, more than 900,000 items were checked out – almost one third of the checked out items in the entire six-county system – and numerous programs and classes are taking place at the library, keeping them extremely active during open hours. One of the most important is the Reading By Design summer reading program. In 2017, more than 4,200 children and teens participated.

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