Red Feather Library: Thinking Inside the Box


By Creed Kidd
Library Director, Red Feather Lakes Library

You may have recently noticed that the New York Public Library has calculated its most used book over the past 125 years (, which turns out, appropriately, to be Ezra Jack Keats’s ‘The Snowy Day’, one of many children’s books on the list.


Taking a page from this book, the Denver Public Library calculated the 10 most used titles from the last 10 years, with selections ranging from Dr. Seuss’s ‘Hop on Pop’, to adult thriller ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn.


Being on an equivalent service level with the New York Public as well as the Denver Public – we’re serious here – Red Feather Lakes Community Library (located in beautiful downtown unincorporated Red Feather Lakes Village) has undertaken to determine what you, as RFL library member, has found most of interest.


However, we’ve looked beyond books. While print (like reading) is fundamental, we’ve looked across media, age levels and genre to determine library-held items by top use. The results are interesting.


At the top of the list are the magazines, ‘Time’, ‘Real Simple’, ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Consumer Reports’ — no surprises here, ranging from 140 – 180 borrows. Many adult DVDs are top-used as well: ‘Avatar’, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, ‘Game of Thrones, first season’, ‘Frozen’, and ‘Georgia O’Keefe’ from 74 – 90 borrows.


Popular are learning toys (‘Pretend and Play Calculator Cash Register’) children’s board books (‘Ten Little Ladybugs’ and ‘Jamberry’) classics (‘Corduroy’, ‘Pollyanna’, ‘Charlotte’s Web’, and ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ (the latter two on children’s DVD)).


However, our look at adult print titles demonstrates why it’s important to think inside the box.


Nine of the top 10 adult books at the library by use are Joe Pickett series titles by southern Wyoming author C. J. Box, a regional mystery/thriller series that relates how diminutive game warden Joe Pickett gets in and out of various life-threatening pickles with all sorts of bad individuals while his family grows up, goes to college, second-income supported by librarian wife Marybeth.


What’s the 10th book? — a local history title.


The point is that these titles strike a responsive chord within local readers. Recognizing, understanding and attuning to these interests and preferences is thinking within the Box and here, pretty darn important.


That means having new releases at the library in a timely fashion in quantities to meet initial demand and support continuing use. Popular titles, including Pickett, Longmire, Inspector Garache, Harry Potter and Jesse Stone.


And, having those titles available and arranged in a logical fashion that allows you, as a user, to easily find them and easily borrow them with sufficient lending time to ponder and enjoy them while coordinating the other details of a busy life.


That’s what we do here: we trust those fine folks at the New York Public and the Denver Public do in a similar fashion in thinking inside the box.


Now, there’s always those titles, while not leaping off the shelf, we stock and consider incendiary: firing the mind of the receptive reader. We’ll discuss those just ahead.


And, we’ll address another issue: finding wonderful, entertaining, thoughtful and comedic viewing behind that one-inch wall – built by Mexico (‘Roma’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’) and other countries. Namely, subtitles.


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