2020 Report to Our Community

A Message from the CEO and Library Board Chair

The past year was a year like no other.

It was one that has tested us on so many levels - our determination, our ability to change, how we interact with each other and how we serve the public. To use our favourite phrase of the year, it’s fluid!

In 2020, the library, along with the rest of the world, experienced its first long-term closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When our doors closed, we had to swiftly adapt to offering library services online. Within the very first week, we were able to find a creative way to offer Readers' Advisory on social media and had our first virtual program where our Heffner Studio experts shared about at-home resources to make music!

From there, we quickly developed a robust programming calendar that had something for everyone. Virtual concerts, play-dates, book clubs, games nights, author events - all accessible from the comfort of home! We also worked closely with community partners to bridge the digital divide for the vulnerable individuals in our community. From lending Chromebooks and wi-fi hotspots to support newcomer families, to working with local seniors' centres to combat social isolation, this was a year that really called for the community to come together.

All of these things would not have been possible without the adaptability of library staff, the Library Board’s strong and supportive leadership and our customers who we are so proud to serve.

Mary Chevreau
CEO, Kitchener Public Library

Stephanie Soulis
Board Chair, Kitchener Public Library



Mary Chevreau and Stephanie Soulis

Mary Chevreau and Stephanie Soulis


What Did 2020 Sound Like to You?

Was it the endless ticking of a clock in your home office? The ringing of your doorbell for a contactless drop off? The scrubbing sounds of washing your hands for the 100th time?

In April 2020, when it felt like the whole world was on pause, we wanted to find a way to share a message of hope and unity with the community.

With this in mind, we asked customers for sound clips of what they were hearing while at home in isolation. The idea was to capture this unique moment in history and use music to share our community's story and bring people together.



Championing Youth Voices

It was in late 2019 when 13-year-old Chase reached out with a vision of a youth-led environmental group.

Inspired by their passion and seeing a unique opportunity to empower local youth, we worked closely with Chase to bring their vision to life.

Diving Headfirst Into Digital

30+

COVID-related virtual programs to support the employment and financial wellbeing of the community.

1,412

minutes of free virtual wellness classes including yoga, meditation, tai chi and HIIT.

44,000

views across 17 Facebook Live videos featuring international authors, local musicians and storytellers.

3,000+

YouTube views across 20 videos to support adult digital literacy in areas of coding, programming, photo manipulation and design.

266%

increase in electronic reference questions answered. Expanded service to instant website chat and social media.

2,400

average monthly views across all three blogs. Published 225+ blog posts.

Supporting Our Community

By the Numbers

25%

INCREASE IN CHECKOUTS
OF DIGITAL MATERIALS INCLUDING
AUDIOBOOKS AND EBOOKS

109,146 ACTIVE

LIBRARY MEMBERS

6,870 NEW

CARDHOLDERS

44,720

ATTENDEES ACROSS

1,985

PROGRAMS

1.75 MILLION

IN-PERSON & ONLINE
LIBRARY VISITS

1,294,890

TOTAL CHECKOUTS

32% INCREASE

IN ELECTRONIC
DATABASE USAGE

41,860+

COMPUTER &
STUDY SEAT

RESERVATIONS

1,037

CURBSIDE PICKUPS
USING
CURB AND CARRY

3,744

MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTED THROUGH THE PERIOD PROJECT

3 MILLION

TOTAL REACH ON
SOCIAL MEDIA

Community Spirit Through It All

Just as we were getting comfortable in our new routine of digital programs and events, library staff faced a new challenge: preparing our spaces for a gradual re-opening of in-person services.

It wasn’t as easy as just re-opening our doors and inviting customers back in. There were lots of details, big and small to sort through to ensure everyone’s safety. While there were certainly a lot of challenges, one of the things that stood out was how much community spirit there was. Much of the supplies and personal protective equipment ended up being sourced through referrals and personal connections from people who just wanted to see the library re-open safely.




Connecting with Technology

Supporting Local Musicians

If you want to make music, Heffner Studio is the place to be.

Just ask Christian. He recently moved to the area and being an aspiring musician, he was looking for a place to record. Needless to say, Christian was ecstatic when he learned about Heffner Studio, the library’s audio and digital media space. Beyond being a physical place for him to record in, he was also able to receive guidance from library staff on how to use various recording tools and software.



What's Next in 2021

Here's what you can look forward to in 2021 from us:

NEW LIBRARY LOCATION

A new community library will be opening in the Rosenberg community, at the northwest corner of what will be Rosenberg Way and Abram Clemens Street. Design work is scheduled to take place in 2021, with construction starting in 2022 and a potential opening timeline of 2023.

HEFFNER STUDIO SESSIONS

Get ready to jam with us. Using the recording studios, equipment and expertise of our Heffner Studio team, we will be launching an intimate video concert series recorded live at Central. The performances will connect you with local musicians in a way you've never seen (or heard!) before.

DIGITIZATION OF LOCAL HISTORY

A new website will be launching to make discovering our digital collections easier. The new site will include digitization of items in the Grace Schmidt Room, such as historic photographs, postcards, soldier cards and oral histories.

LIBRARY OF ALL THINGS

We're dedicated to ensuring our collection continues to grow and meet the needs of our community. Look forward to surprising additions in 2021, like skates, vinyl records and even sports equipment!


2020 Financial Statement

REVENUES
City of Kitchener
Operating$11,297,620
Capital$579,940
Province of Ontario$306,980
Special Grants$54,473
Fines, Fees & Misc$159,005
Total Revenues$12,398,018
EXPENDITURES
Salaries & Benefits$8,078,109
Library Materials & Processing$1,342,913
Public Programs$63,914
Building & Equipment$1,808,477
Administrative$216,583
Capital Projects$579,940
Special Projects$54,473
Reserve$253,000
Surplus$609
Total Expenditures$12,398,018