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Waco-McLennan County Library sees increasing circulation

Unique trend compared to rest of country
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Posted at 4:15 PM, Oct 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-24 08:36:35-04

WACO, Texas — It's a unique story being told with pictures and words at the Waco-McLennan County Central Library.

"These are our pictures books, we have them beautifully displayed and we talk about just about everything under the sun."

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During a tour of the Waco-McLennan County Public Library, Director Essy Day picks up a picture book in the children books section.

Here, Essy Day has served as the director for the past six years.

"Down here we have our Spanish books and our young adult books."

In a tour of the Waco-McLennan County Central Library, she helps tell this unique story, taking place in worlds far away.

"Here's a book on space travel, people love to read these books."

Or sometimes, taking place on worlds, we make up with our imagination.

"Here's something on wizards and spells."

It's the story of us.

"We have anything from the beginning of Waco history to current and modern."

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Essy Day is the Director of the Waco-McLennan County Library. With enthusiasm and a smile she explains what makes the experience for readers special. "One thing i tell people is were not your grandma's library anymore."

With enthusiasm and a smile, Day shows the magic you find at the Waco-McLennan County Library. A place she says has changed.

"One thing i tell people is were not your grandma's library anymore," she said. "They expect us to tell people to shh, and we expect them to be quiet, and we're not. It's a community."

In this community, you'll find Jessica Emmett-Sellers. She was one of Day's first hires here at the library and is the community services supervisor.

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Jessica Emmett-Sellers is the Community Services Supervisor at the Waco-McLennan County Library. Here, Emmett-Sellers holds up one of her favorite books. The autobiographical comedy book "Bossypants" written by Tina Fey.

"One of the biggest things that people maybe don't know about libraries, is just that they're open to everybody," Emmett-Sellers explains.

Not everybody is reading, though.

New data from the Pew Research Center shows about a quarter of American adults haven't read a book in the past year. This includes books in print, electronic, and audio form.

You can view the results of the survey in its entirety here.

Researchers also found the demographic traits that characterize non-book readers often apply to those who have never been to a public library.

While it's hard to characterize exactly how the results of the recent survey compare here at home, Emmett-Sellers said there is a positive trend here taking place here. A difference when compared to other places across the country.

"So over time every year, library visits have increased, circulation has increased," Emmett-Sellers explained. "That's not typical of the country. Countrywide, library trends are in kind of a downward or kind of static, and we've been able to see an increase every year."

While the trend of Americans who report not reading books has fluctuated over the years, it resembles the same numbers seen in a previous research effort conducted in 2014. Some readers may find the results of the survey surprising giving the increasing popularity of streaming services and shifting ways in which people consume information and stories today.

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Young adult reader Dale Riser discusses why he enjoys coming to the Waco-McLennan County Library.

Why hasn't the percentage of non-book readers significantly increased just in the past few years? Haven't they heard of Hulu, or Netflix? Why aren't they watching 'Squid Games' instead of reading a book?

Well, for young adult readers like Dale Riser, he said reading stories at the library is a better way of experiencing him.

"I like TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I'm reading this one," Riser said as he picked out a Buffy the Vampire Slayer book.

Riser explained, reading a story right here at the Waco-McLennan Public Library gives him the feeling he's living in the story rather than watching. And that here, he's found a place where he can go anywhere he could on an iPhone or through a streaming service.

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Young adult reader Dale Riser said he enjoys reading books about TV series, like this Buffy the Vampire Slayer book he picks up at the Waco-McLennan County Public Library.

"You can go anywhere you want to go," he said. "Just depends on what your forte is."

For more information on events, information, and public libraries in the Waco-McLennan County area visit here.

Oct. is National Book Month.

A month-long celebration focused on the importance of reading, writing and literature. It's also a time to honor some of the country's best books and authors.

For more information on how to celebrate National Book Month visit here.