Carver County Library closed out the decade with a busy year including a near-record circulation of 1,086,804 library materials.

The number includes materials circulated in the library, as well as the 106,620 digital items checked out through the cloudLibrary and RBDigital.

Just over 10,000 of this circulation comes from the Lucky Day collection in each library. The Friends of the Library groups purchase extra copies of bestsellers which cannot be reserved, so if you find one of the shelves, it is your lucky day. Patrons also placed 94,116 holds for materials.

But the library was busy not just checking out library materials, but also providing a wide range of services which accounted for 533,596 visits to the library and another 248,642 website visits.

We answered just under 90,000 requests for information, technology help and book recommendations. We saw 19,458 children and adults attend 690 storytimes, while another 16,639 children and adults attended 476 youth programs.

Attendance at 316 adult programs, such as music performances, author visits, and arts programs topped 3,700 people.

Over 6,200 people joined us as new library card holders while residents were actively engaged in helping the library putting in 9,175 volunteer hours.

HISTORY AND MYSTERY

Need some suggestions for some good adult reads to take part in our annual Winter Reads reading program for adults which runs until Feb. 29, then check out some history combined with mystery.

“Devil’s Half Mile” by Paddy Hirsch. Seven years after a financial crisis nearly toppled America, traders chafe at government regulations, racial tensions are rising, gangs roam the streets and corrupt financiers make back-door deals with politicians. 1799 was a hell of a year. Thanks to Alexander Hamilton, America has recovered from the panic on the Devil's Half Mile (aka Wall Street), but the young country is still finding its way. When young lawyer Justy Flanagan returns to solve his father's murder, he exposes a massive fraud that has already claimed lives, and one the perpetrators are determined to keep secret at any cost. The body count is rising, and the looming crisis could topple the nation.

“Munich” by Robert Harris. Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s but have not been in contact since. Now, when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Rikard travels on Hitler's train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course.

“Speakeasy” by Alicia Smith. Thirty-year-old Lena Stillman is living a perfectly respectable life when a shocking newspaper headline calls up her past: it concerns her former lover, charismatic bank robber Bill Bagley. A romantic and charming figure, Lena had tried to forget him by resuming her linguistic studies, which led to her recruitment as a Navy code-breaker intercepting Japanese messages during World War II. But can Lena keep her own secrets? Threatening notes and the appearance of an old diary that recalls her gangster days are poised to upset her new life. Whom can she really trust? Is there a spy among the code-breakers? And who is it that wants her dead?

CHANHASSEN LIBRARY

Tails for Reading: 10:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 1. Preschool and elementary school age children are welcome to read books aloud to specially trained therapy dogs to encourage confidence in reading. Presented by North Star Therapy Animals. Children read for a 15-minute session on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration required.

VICTORIA LIBRARY

ECFE on Wheels: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5. For ages birth to 5. Registration for each child per event session is required. Parent/guardian needs to stay with children. Parent education staff provides a free ECFE experience for families, caregivers and children ages birth to 5 to share together. There will be circle time, songs, an art activity and literacy take-home project.

STORYTIME

Lapsit Storytime: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Chanhassen. For ages birth to 18 months. Babies and their caregivers share quality time in a 20-minute session designed to encourage language development through board books and movement activities, followed by time for visiting and play.

Family Storytimes: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Chanhassen; 6:30 p.m. Monday and 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Chaska; 10:30 a.m. Monday, Victoria. For all ages, with a focus on children age 2 and up. Children, parents and their caregivers are invited to share 30 minutes of singing, playing, reading, writing, and talking that encourages the development of early literacy skills.

Toddler Storytimes: 10:30 a.m., Monday, Chanhassen; 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Chaska; 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Victoria. Toddlers and their caregivers are welcome to join us for 20 minutes of action-packed fun with stories, rhymes, fingerplays, and musical movement for this age group. Come shake your sillies out with us. For ages 18-36 months.

Patrick Jones is branch manager for the Chanhassen and Victoria libraries. He can be reached at pjones@co.carver.mn.us.

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