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Number of Pierce County Library System cardholders increases
The Pierce County Library reached out to the community in October with a card drive and a week in which library fines were expunged and in the process increased the number of library users. The library system issued 8,117 library cards to new customers and re-welcomed 11,776 returning customers as part of its annual card drive. The number of people in the library system's service area with library cards is up 12 percent from the number at the same time last year.
“Both the card drive and amnesty did just what we had hoped,” said Neel Parikh, executive director of Pierce County Library. “We offered amnesty to help respond to the economic downturn and reduce further pressure to people, while welcoming them back to the library. Staff helped people who were ecstatic about the opportunity of amnesty, with some people so happy to the point of tears.”
The library system managed to grant amnesty while staying within its budget. The library’s revenue includes an estimated from fines and fees for the year.
“We believe this is because we reached people who otherwise may not have returned to the library, thus we met our goal to help them without affecting our budget,” said Parikh.
Customers brought back 972 books and other items valued at almost $19,000, according to the library's records. Library staff will distribute the books throughout the libraries or sell them and put the profits toward the purchase of new books and materials.