When residents of Mineola approved a $3.994 million referendum in October 1998 to renovate the Mineola Memorial Library, the vision for the library was one the community could be proud of. Figures recently released by the Nassau Library System indicate that the Mineola Library has grown in terms of its popularity so that it is becoming the library residents, village board and library board members envisioned.
"The latest figures confirm the trends I have noticed the past year," said Charles Sleefe, who became director of the Mineola Library during its renaissance. "Our library is busier than ever and our materials are going out at a faster pace."
The times when Mineola residents would need to use neighboring libraries such as those in Garden City and Shelter Rock are becoming a thing of the past. In the last few years, during the Mineola Library's resurgence, residents have come home, observed Sleefe. "For many years, our patrons traveled to other libraries to get their materials. Now that we have a first class facility, our patrons no longer need to travel and are making more use out of their own library," he said.
According to the Nassau Library System figures, Mineola moved up three spots in the county for total circulation. In 2002, Mineola was 33rd in Nassau County with a circulation of 129,185. In 2003, Mineola's circulation ranked 30th with 145,409. The circulation increase of 12.6 percent is the fifth highest in Nassau County and the highest among all medium-sized libraries.
As far as loaning materials, Mineola went up in that category as well. Mineola went up from the 42nd spot to the 41st spot. In Direct Access Loans, which represents the total number of Mineola's materials going out to the other libraries in the county, Mineola went from 6,810 to 8,315, a change of 22.1 percent. By comparison, Shelter Rock (-8.1 percent) and Garden City (-17.6 percent) saw decreases in the amount of materials going elsewhere.
Figures also show that Mineola patrons are borrowing less from other libraries. According to the data, the decrease in patrons going elsewhere from the Mineola Library is 13.7 percent.
Mayor Jack M. Martins, who was president of the library board during its renovation, was pleased at the results. "The library was rebuilt specifically so that we can get these kinds of results and provide these kinds of services to the residents of the village," he said. "There was a time when a lot of our basic library needs were being met not by our village library, but by neighboring libraries. This is a trend in the direction where the community is realizing that given all of the renovations and all of the upgrades to the library they're beginning to realize what a wonderful resource we have right here in our village."
What's most important about the figures to the mayor is that it represents the work of the staff and the commitment of the community so that residents don't have to go outside of the village for their research and library materials. "They have the ability and resources to do it in their backyard," he said.
While the data represent amount of materials that are borrowed from the library, the Mineola Library has also improved on its amount of research materials, computer and Internet access and other resources such as periodicals and databases.
The Mineola Library's summer hours are:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The library will resume Saturday hours after Labor Day.