Gazette opinion: 5 years of loving Billings Public Library

Billings’ new library is five years old this month. If that fact is surprising, the statistics on how our new library is being used are amazing:

  • More than 1.8 million people have walked through the automatic doors at the library’s north and south entrances since January 2014.
  • The door count in 2018 alone was 382,347 people – a 40–percent increase over the 273,469 users logged in the last year of the old library.
  • In 2018, the library checked out 901,201 items, including books, videos and other media.
  • Last year, the library offered 1,365 programs, which were attended by 31,339 people.
  • In addition, the library hosted 719 meetings for outside organizations that had total attendance of 12,321 people.
  • The number of people attending library programs has doubled since the voter-approved library opened in January 2014.
  • The number of community organizations meeting at the library quadrupled, and the number of people attending those meetings grew from 2,496 in 2013 to 12,324 in 2018.

The two-story, 66,000-square-foot library stretches the entire length of the block of Sixth Avenue North between North Broadway and North 29th Street. The American Institute of Architecture and the American Library Association selected it for the 2016 library design award — one of only seven such awards presented in the United States and Canada.

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