logo, goto libary home 2014 Annual Report

Your place. Stories you want. Information you need. Connections you seek.

Your library card may be small,
but it is mighty.

library cardIn 2014, you showed up en mass to the physical and digital spaces where the library lives, armed with the power of your library card.

In 2014, you showed us the many ways you utilized that power to get entertainment, education, resources and services.

In a year replete with positive changes for your library, you showed up with your cards and continued to prove the library’s intrinsic value to the community.

Read on to see just how you wielded the power of your library card in 2014.

What you got with your library card

Hundreds of thousands of digital downloads!

With your library card, you took advantage of the library’s collections in a huge way. You checked out a total of 2,300,865 materials. That’s a veritable avalanche of books, movies and music.

And it’s a virtual avalanche of digital downloads. With your card, you downloaded or streamed 212,559 movies, ebooks and audiobooks. Digital downloads increased 51% over 2013. In 2014, you continued to adapt with changing technologies, and so did your library.

Checkout changes

Five days that changed the library experience

We changed everything about how you used your library in 2014, and you were adaptive. In May, we installed our self-checks and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system.

We tagged each and every item in the library for our new checkout system. We had to close the doors for five days while we made the transition, no small move for a library that saw nearly 800,000 total visitors last year.

Installing our New Checkout System Time-lapse

Checkouts increased dramatically

When we opened the doors again, you came in droves and used the easy, quick and convenient new self-checkout systems.

First Customer!

As to be expected, the number of self-checkouts increased by leaps and bounds. Around 278,000 self-checkouts happened in 2013. But in 2014, people checked out solo almost 900,000 times. That is a 219% increase! You’ve got the hang of this self-checkout business, for sure.

New bookmobile

"Sherlock" brings books to you

You don’t have to come to the library to unleash the power of your library card. The library comes to you in the Bookmobile, and in 2014, Sherlock Holmes accompanied books and materials into the community on the new bookmobile.

New 'Sherlock' bookmobile
Bookmobile staff pose in front of "Sherlock"

Affectionately and aptly deemed “Sherlock,” the new bookmobile rolled into town in 2014 wrapped in classic Sherlock Holmes scenes taking place in Topeka locales. The Library Foundation, Literacy Partner Capitol Federal® Foundation and the Friends of the Library joined funding efforts to bring the new bookmobile to the community.

Armed with your cards, you board the library’s bookmobiles on a frequent basis, making them mobile hubs in your neighborhoods. Bookmobiles saw a staggering 288,187 items checked out in 2014.

The library sprouts in surprising places

Community Centers

The library’s on wheels, yes. We’re also in the community centers. In 2013, the library brought 36 touchscreen computers into community centers. In the year following, community center visitors logged a total of 10,744 hours on library computers.

In 2014, we brought programs too. At Crestview Community Center, there’s a building enthusiasm for the book discussion group, Crestview Chapter Chat and throughout the city, storytimes are happening in neighborhoods right where kids live and play.

“We’re very pleased to be partners with the library,” said Lynn Bishop, recreation supervisor for Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Community Centers. “We’re pleased with the programs, the staff and the whole operation.”

New Smartlockers

At a Smartlocker, an item checks out as soon as you retrieve it from a locker

Smartlockers allow users to request items from the library’s digital branch, then pick them up at the Smartlocker right in their location. In 2014, Oakland Community Center received a Smartlocker, and now library users can find a Smartlocker at the Topeka Hy-Vee grocery store. Checkouts at the Smartlockers are growing. 2,831 materials were distributed via Smartlockers in 2014. Keep it up!  


Library customers spoke up about their experiences

Community Survey

In the spring of 2014, we asked you to give us some input about your library experience by taking our Community Interest and Opinion Survey. Your response was sizable, and has helped the library to continue to establish priorities for facilities, programs, collections and services in the coming decade.

We found that you think very highly of the library and want to see an emphasis on literacy for all ages, specifically focusing on getting Topeka and Shawnee County kids ready to read by kindergarten. We’ve been listening, planning and acting based on your valued input. Thank you.

Survey infographic
Why do you visit the library?

Kids had an awesome year

FamilyPlace_IndigoLogo_tm639,275 materials flew out of the Kids Library and teen space David J’s in 2014 into the hands of babies, preschoolers, kids and teens. Parents, you’re encouraging your children to use the library. There’s a reason our Kids Library is a designated Family Place Library™. We’re here to help in your child’s literacy enrichment process with storytimes, workshops and music galore, a great collection of children’s materials, and now, even easier book browsing for little hands.

New book bins in the Kids Library

In 2014, we transformed the way kids choose picture books. Now the books face out in bins so that kids can easily see what they’re after. The library is a magical place for little ones. And kids in Shawnee County know, all you need to tap into that magic is an encouraging parent and a library card.

New book bins in kids library
New forward-facing book bins in Kids Library

Storytime with Daniel Tiger

In August, hundreds of kids roared into the library for a special visit and storytime with Daniel Tiger, from the PBS Kids and KTWU hit children’s show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. They got to learn all about what it means to become a big brother or sister, and they also got hugs. Big, furry hugs.

Daniel Tiger visits the library
Daniel Tiger visits the library

Kids had an epic summer

Summerfest 2014

Each year we encourage people to grab their library cards and get online or get into the library in the summer, especially kids, because reading levels among school-aged kids can backslide during summer months. The library’s 2014 Summerfest drummed up 72,718 total hours of student reading. That’s one EPIC summer. And it means that thousands of kids entered school in the fall ready to pick up where they left off.

Summerfest storytime
Summerfest storytime

Seniors maintained access to
lifelong reading

Red Carpet Mobile Library

The library’s Red Carpet Service, the mobile library for seniors who are homebound or living in facilities, delivered 79,325 materials into the hands of seniors and the disabled, increasing their quality of life and helping people to maintain their ties to the library although they are oftentimes physically incapable of visiting. A library card is small, yes, but mighty enough that it can lift the spirits of the elderly all throughout our community.

Red Carpet brings books to seniors
Red Carpet brings books to seniors

The library grew exponentially cooler

We added a lot of cool stuff to the library in 2014. Check it out:

  • Cake pans, craft kits, travel and fitness bags for checkout
  • Sports Neighborhood and Divorce Neighborhood
  • Monarch Waystations
  • Independent publication of two new community novels
  • Make-It Lab with a 3D Printer and a suite of tech tools for entrepeneurs

Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award

Urban libraries council award

In 2014, the library won an esteemed Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for our work in the community.

Your library is leading the way in innovative community services. Libraries across the nation are increasingly turning to us for inspiration.

Yet we will continue to turn to you, our customers, for inspiration and direction in the coming year. Thank you for your support of the library in 2014. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Numbers At a Glance


New Cardholders 12,077
Visitors to Library 797,478
Overall Check-Outs 2,300,865
Reference Questions Answered 277,118
Digital Downloads 212,559
Program Attendance 79,966
Digital Branch Visitors 1,113,146

Sources of Financial Support

2014 Revenues
Taxes $16,223,263
Fees & Reimbursements $1,076,332
Contributions $488,628
Grants & State Aid $70,220
Investment Income $48,585
Total $17,907,028


2014 Expenditures
Salaries and Benefits $11,212,745
Other Operating Expenses $2,133,528
Debt Service $1,651,775
Library Materials $1,709,491
Equipment &
Capital Improvements
Programming & Events $112,117
Total $17,934,747

It's Library Time!

"Library Time" Music Video

Library Board of Trustees

Duane Johnson
Duane Johnson, Chair
Jennifer Turner
Jennifer Turner, Vice-Chair
David Monical
David Monical, Treasurer
Elizabeth Ross
Elizabeth Ross, Secretary
Dan Guenter
Dan Guenther

Betty Greiner
Ryan Freed
Quentin Martin
Quentin Martin
Melissa Masoner
Melissa Masoner
Kerry Onstott-Storey
Kerry Onstott Storey