The Ketchikan Public Library is the longest continuously operating library in the state of Alaska. This community's consistent support is what has made all the difference. The value placed on the life of the mind and lifelong learning are essential in a community and fundamental to libraries.
Ketchikan and its library have faced economic challenges in the past, such as the end of the mining era and the end of World War II, when some people were afraid Ketchikan would cease to exist. Ketchikan, however, is a special place. Our weather is mild but favors activities like reading. Families have always been a part of this community and bring a focus on the future that was missing from other boomtowns. And maybe, people who live here just have to be, by nature, more optimistic than most to survive the long dark wet winters.
Ketchikan really uses its library. More than 80 percent of the population are active library users, and annual circulation is about 13 items per person. Ketchikan is blessed with an active Advisory Board, which shares ideas for new and needed services in the community. The library also enjoys a wonderful Friends of the Library organization, which raises not only money, but awareness in the community.
The services offered by the library are numerous, and the library endeavors to be responsive to the needs of the community. Most library users know about and use the purchase request forms available at the circulation desk, and they let the library staff know what they want to read and have available. Online users like to be able to search the catalog from home and place items on hold without having to make an extra trip downtown. The Children's Library program has been going strong since the mid-'70s and is one of the best in the state. Most people are familiar with the bright blue library Outreach van, which delivers books to the homebound and people who cannot otherwise get to the library. This is an important service in a town with the highest percentage of senior citizens in the state.
It is the support of the people of Ketchikan that allows us to grow, and we are grateful to live and work in a community that places such value on the services that their library has to offer.
Monday, Oct 25, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time
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