Excellence is never achieved by accident - it is always the result of vision, integrity, planning, and hard work. Excellence is the goal of everything we do in the Weber County Library System (WCLS). But in its pursuit, we never lose sight of the Library's greatest resource, its people.
This year, we celebrate our 110th anniversary. Library service in Ogden City had its beginnings in the 1860's, but it was not until 1903 that the Ogden Carnegie Free Library, the first public library building in Utah, opened its doors. In 1968 the Weber County Main Library was dedicated, and the Carnegie Free Library's rich historical collection became the core resource of this new flagship of Utah's first countywide system. This collection has since been systematically enhanced, facilities added, and innovative programs have been created and honed to continually improve services to area residents.
Today, the WCLS, like its predecessor, serves the community not as a circulating library specializing in popular reading materials, but as a community reference, information, and literacy center. The WCLS has also evolved into a regional resource center, serving residents of six northern Utah counties.
The WCLS serves a population of approximately 236,600 Weber County residents, with interlocal agreements extending access to about 422,800 residents in surrounding counties. The WCLS consists of a Main Library and a Public Law Library in Ogden, and four Branch Libraries located in surrounding cities.
The Library has approximately 100 staff members and an annual operating budget of just under $8,000,000. WCLS is also supported by an active Friends of the Library organization, a potent Development Foundation, which provides money for capital projects; and a dedicated corps of more than 125 volunteers who work side-by-side with the staff as literacy tutors, library specialists, and maintenance staff. The Library is open seven days a week, September-May, and six days a week during the summer.
All Library management and information services are automated on an Innovative Interfaces system. In addition, local area networks offer access to a variety of reference sources as well as access to Internet and wide area network resources. Computer centers in children's areas offer access to interactive learning materials. In 2012, the Library provided 177,944 hours of computer usage time to the community for job searching, research, educational, social, and other activities. Numerous computer and technology classes are offered system-wide.
Special programs sponsored/hosted by the WCLS include hot meal service for the elderly; art exhibits; public discussions and readings; film screenings; cultural programs; after school progams; health and wellness; and children's discovery programs. The Library also sponsors a Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) program in the local and migrant summer schools, and a Books and Babies program in cooperation with local hospitals. The Ogden Valley Branch serves as a community center as well as a library and has retreat spaces that can be rented for both business and personal events.
During 2012, the staff serviced over 106,000 active cards, accommodated 1,289,862 visits, answered more than 966,000 information requests, sponsored 769 programs, and hosted almost 77,000 individuals attending meetings in Library facilities. Patrons borrowed more than 2,094,199 items.
Of the 2,294 programs hosted by the Library in 2012, 1,448 were focused on children 18 months to 12 years of age. Programs ranged from toddler story hours to pre-school discovery programs, from summer reading clubs to after-school baby-sitters' workshops, and from poetry slams to America Reads literacy tutoring. The Library hosted 846 adult programs that saw an average monthly attendance of around 1,400 people system-wide. Programs ranged from cultural music and dance to gardening workshops, from citizenship classes to book discussions. The total number of people that attended programs or outreach activities for both adults and children for 2012 was 78,902.