Looking ahead with Larry
By Layton Norris and Taylor Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – Portage County Public Library Director Larry Oathout sat down with Portage County Gazette staff to give a monthly update on local library operations. This month Oathout talked about the library system’s 40th anniversary and more.
Oathout said that COVID-19 caused staffing issues at the Stevens Point branch during the week of Jan. 10. The facility was understaffed, so staff closed down the interior, filling only curbside pickups until Jan. 14, or until announced.
The Portage County Public Library system was formed in January of 1982, and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
“The county board proclaimed January as PCPL month and so has the Stevens Point city council,” Oathout said.
Each branch in the county has plans to create a small display focused on the history of the libraries in the county over the next year. The Stevens Point branch already has an installation showing off vintage library cards from over the years.
Looking back at 2021
Throughout 2021 the library lent 408,351 copies of material to people, which is up 27 percent over 2020. Of those 408,351 copies of material, 74.9 percent were books, 16.9 percent were DVD’s, 5.6 percent were audiobooks, 1.5 percent were miscellaneous checkouts, and 1.1 percent were periodicals.
Additionally, the PCPL provided 252,425 wireless connections in 2021 along with 8,362 PC computer sessions.
Apart from the library’s reading, listening, or viewing materials, the PCPL hosted 939 adult and children’s programs. 16,669 of the individuals attended the programs in person or online, whereas 8,317 people engaged through social media and 8,060 people watched recorded versions of programs.