Weather is a funny thing – changeable, unpredictable, unavoidable and indispensable. It is a fundamental fact of existence, and one that influences our lives, moods, choices and plans. It dominates the news with headlines of torrential flooding, extreme cold, punishing heat, extended droughts, blizzards, tsunamis and hurricanes. It wreaks havoc on ships at sea, as well as crops, picnics, horse races, football games, travel plans and weddings. We talk of bad weather as if it were misbehaving, and lovely weather as if it were deporting itself properly. It’s never far from our thoughts or our conversations.
But here’s one surprising fact about the weather you may have never considered. Weather impacts the use of the public library. We’ve noticed a pattern for several years, and wondered if anyone had ever studied the effect of weather on library use. So it was with some delight that we discovered in the 1913 Annual Report of the Librarian of the Galesbury (Illinois) Public Library these words. “Many things affect the public library reading habit. Taken the year through, the weather has the greatest effect on the circulation of library books.” So my observation was not original, but had been remarked on over one hundred years ago.
What is the connection between library use and weather? According to another study by the Grand Rapids Public Library, “In general it may be said that as the temperature goes up the recorded use of the library does down, and that a temperature of 90 degrees affects the use of the library more than a considerable blizzard ranging in the neighborhood of zero.” In other words, when temperatures go down, library use goes up. We can certainly confirm that at the Raynham Public Library. During these past cold days we have never been busier. Our building has been full of people bundled from head to toe with books in their arms. And it’s not just low temperatures that send people to the library, but cloudy days, rainy days, snowy days and any other days when staying indoors is a welcome alternative to facing the weather outside.
We welcome you to the library at any time of the year, in any kind of weather. You’re sure to find something to interest you – books, movies, music or magazines that will make your day, regardless of the weather, more interesting and pleasurable.