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Avid Vail Valley readers

Katie Drucker
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyEagle resident George McCollum, right, and other patrons spend time at the Eagle Public Library on Monday morning in Eagle. McCollum said he regularly visits the library.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – When the economy tanks, people turn to free services for entertainment and public libraries perfectly fit that bill.

Michael Brown, Eagle Valley Library District board president, said when the economy slips into a recession there is an increased use of library services nationwide. And, he said, that trend has been mirrored in this valley.

“We are far busier now with the economy,” said Anne Johnson, assistant director of the Eagle Valley Library District.

According to Johnson, the number of books, DVDs and other items checked out has increased 18 percent throughout the district so far in 2009 compared to 2008. Computer use has gone up 17 percent, visits are up 12 percent and wireless Internet us has skyrocketed – a 31 percent increase.

“The library becomes more important when people are cutting costs. And that is our mission,” said Brown.

This week, Mark Miller, of Eagle ,took advantage of the free travel books in stock at the library. It was the first time Miller used the Eagle Library.

“I am probably here because the economy is bad, instead of at the bookstore,” said Miller. “I am going on vacation and just trying to see what is out there.”

Circulation, visits, computer and wireless Internet use are not the only increase the Eagle Valley Library District has seen. Johnson said the libraries are constantly shelving books in the resume, business and career section.

“I know people are very thankful that we have these resources,” said Johnson. ” But I think the biggest thing we’ve heard is that families are looking for entertainment for free. Not only DVDs and books to check out but programs.”

Free activities for children is why Ben Pond, of Eagle ,and Mimi Bond, of Avon, visit their local libraries.

“The main reason we come is to give her some entertainment,” Pond said referring to Addien, his 18-month-old daughter. Pond said he mainly uses the library for story time and to check out movies. “It is a great way to check out movies for free.” said Ben Pond of Eagle.

Bond agrees.

“We come at least once a week. We get mostly free CDs like Baby Einstein, Elmo, Thomas the Train and Barney,” said Bond.

To date in 2009, the number of children’s items checked out has increased 2 percent compared to 2008 and children’s programs attendance has increased from 15,902 in 2008 to 17,697 so far in 2009, a 10 percent increase.

“Summer reading numbers were way up,” said Kari Thorne, Avon library staff member.

Thorne said parents were looking for free summer activities for their kids instead of paying for camps.

Brown encourages comments and suggestions from library patrons and said the library district welcomes and appreciates the increased library use in this hard economic time.

Avon Public Library

Operating hours: Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday and Satruday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Address: 200 Benchmark Rd.

Main phone number: 970-949-6797

Reference desk: 970-949-4053

Fax: 970-949-0233

Eagle Public Library

Operating hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Address: 600 Broadway

Main phone number: 970-328-8800

Reference desk: 970-328-9015

Fax: 970-328-6901

Gypsum Public Library

Operating hours: Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday closed

Address: 48 Lundgren Blvd.

Main phone number: 970-524-5080

Reference desk: 970-524-5080

Fax: 970-524-5082

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