During the pandemic, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) kept their doors closed while still serving borrowers through the Holds to Go program and digital offerings.
Now that the libraries are open seven days a week, borrowers have returned, according to Director Anita Vassallo. The number of residents coming to the libraries will equal and probably surpass the number who did so in 2019, the year prior to the pandemic. “We are definitely seeing people return,” she told MyMCM.
The number of registered borrowers, who she described as active borrowers, jumped from about 407,000 during Fiscal Year 2021 to the current 506,000.
Vassallo attributed some of the uptick to county residents coming to their local libraries for the first time to pick up free masks and COVID-19 test kits. Quite a few also went home with a library card and some books.
Although the libraries will remain open, Vassallo said some things established during the pandemic will continue. The library averages about 150 participants to one of its more popular author talks or other events, which are located in one library. During the pandemic, “thousands and thousands” of people joined in virtual events.
Now, while in-library programs – and some held outdoors as well – will continue, so will virtual programming.
The library is beefing up its e books and digital collection, which are popular among adults. It will remain true to its print book collection, especially picture books for those five and under.