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2011 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report
Letter from the Director
April 2012
Dear Library Supporter,

As we close the books on 2011, this is an opportunity to look back and celebrate annual milestones at Hennepin County Library (HCL).

We continued to serve the residents of Hennepin County. You checked out over 18.3 million books, movies and music, including more than 450,000 downloads of eBooks and other content. You visited the Library website over 21.4 million times, and you made more than 5.8 million library visits. Northeast and Nokomis libraries reopened following renovation marking the restoration of library service in all 41 libraries—a first since 2008. With these renovations complete, Hennepin County libraries were open 1,911 hours per week.

Throughout this report, you will see online feedback from 2011 in the form of quotes from our followers and fans. We appreciate your feedback. Together, we will continue to read, learn, graduate, work and engage in 2012.

Thank you,
Lois Langer Thompson
Director, Hennepin County Library

Commitment to Early Literacy
Hennepin County Library helps families meet the goal of school-readiness for all children. HCL storytimes incorporate four important indicators of progress: listening, speaking, emergent reading and emergent writing. Storytimes promote active parent/caregiver involvement to help families and caregivers prepare children for reading and writing. Storytime activities meet Minnesota Early Learning Standards.

In 2011, six kinds of storytimes were offered in libraries to serve families and caregivers: baby, toddler, preschool, family, world language and childcare group storytimes. World language storytimes were offered in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Downloadable Content
eBooks and eReaders grew in popularity with a 242% increase in eBook, eMusic and eVideo checkouts in 2011. In September, OverDrive, the Library's primary provider of downloadable content, announced that the Library's eBooks were now compatible with the Amazon Kindle. Bestsellers, nonfiction, horror, humor, history and mystery are just some of the genres represented in the eBook collection.

In May, the Library introduced Freegal, a music download service that allows patrons to download and keep up to three songs per week. The collection includes hundreds of thousands of songs, more than 100 genres of music and more than 50 record labels.

Family History
In October, Minneapolis Central Library hosted a Family History Fair. Genealogy experts presented information sessions on resources available, taught patrons how to gather family stories and demonstrated useful software. Ethnic and genealogy interest tables were staffed by local and national organizations and library staff led tours of Minneapolis Central Library's genealogy resources.

Technology Past and Present
In 2011, patrons visited www.hclib.org more than 21.4 million times. Fifteen years ago, both Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Library launched their websites. Also in 1996, the first Web browsers were installed on HCL public computers at 11 suburban libraries.

There's an app for that
In 2011, HCL became the first Minnesota library system to launch a mobile app. The mobile app allows patrons to reserve and renew items, access the catalog and recommended book lists, find hours and library locations, and check the programs and events calendar.

Texting reference was introduced in September. Patrons with mobile devices with texting capability can now text questions to Hennepin County Library's "Ask Us" information service.

Homework Help
Homework Hub offered study spaces, tutoring and computer labs with a scanner and Microsoft Office suite. Students can also receive online help through Homework Rescue seven days a week from 1-11 p.m. Homework Rescue offers basic skills test preparation and college test preparation resources (GED, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, Accuplacer).

Tornado Opening
In May, when a devastating tornado swept through North Minneapolis, Library staff mobilized to provide library service to citizens impacted by the tornado by opening Northeast, Pierre Bottineau and Sumner libraries. Patrons were waiting at the doors prior to opening, and more than 250 people used the three libraries. With no power or phones at home, patrons were able to use the Library's public computers to let friends and family know they were okay.

Volunteers
Volunteers served in a variety of capacities in 2011 including working as Adult Basic Education Assistants, Homework Hub Tutors, At-Home Delivery Volunteers, Computer Class Assistants, Computer Tutors and Library Material Volunteers.

Libraries Renovated and Reopened
Both Northeast and Nokomis libraries celebrated their Grand Reopenings in April. Like the recently reopened Maple Grove and Plymouth libraries, Northeast and Nokomis' renovations featured flexible spaces, green architecture and design, and updated mechanical systems for energy efficient operation.

Northeast Library added 2,400-square-feet, 24 public computers, a refreshed collection of books, DVDs and CDs, comfortable "living room" reading areas, and a larger and more inviting children's area.

Nokomis Library added 4,300-square-feet, more room for children, teens and adults, a refreshed collection, 24 more public computers and a meeting room now located on the main level.

Celebrating 125 Years
Whether delivered a century ago by a Model-T "book truck" or today by eBooks and mobile phones, public library service in Hennepin County has played an essential role in building community. To celebrate the milestone, an exhibit highlighting 125 years of library service in Hennepin County was displayed in June at Minneapolis Central Library.

Associated programs included StoryCorps providing opportunities for residents to discuss and record their personal histories. There were video tutorials on genealogy research posted to HCL's website, YouTube and Vimeo. A documentary was also created in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) featuring public art in libraries.

One Minneapolis, One Read
Read the book. Join the conversation. With this call to action, the Library joined the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Public Schools in One Minneapolis, One Read, Minneapolis' first-ever community read where everyone in town was invited to read the same book. The book, "The Grace of Silence" by Minneapolis native and National Public Radio host Michele Norris, is a memoir describing the experience of the Norrises as the first black family on the block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood.

The Library offered 18 programs, from Friends-sponsored book clubs to family tree art projects for kids to intergenerational oral history recordings. In addition to participating in a community gathering at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Ms. Norris also visited the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility in October and talked with over 60 residents about the book, race issues and her life as a journalist.

Legacy Programs and Initiatives
In November 2008, Minnesotans passed the clean water, land, and legacy amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. In 2011, the Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund sponsored an array of arts, cultural, literary and Minnesota history programs at the Library in collaboration with arts and cultural organizations, independent artists, historical societies and community organizations. Organizations included the Textile Center, the Guthrie Theater, The Loft Literary Center and others.

Additionally, dozens of early Minneapolis high school yearbooks were digitized using Legacy Amendment grant funds. Also, preservation efforts were funded to rebind and repair sheet music in the Library's Special Collections.

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