Most Valued Place in Town

900,000+ People Used Their Library in 2013

For every tax dollar spent, the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library provided a $2 return, with an estimated $30 million value provided to the community in 2013, according to its recently published annual report. Click the image below to be taken to the full annual report or read on for the highlights.

screen grab of 2014 annual report

Usage of our Digital Branch,, continues to climb – about 25 percent over 2012. Still, the library sees around 800,000 people come through its doors and about 100,000 on the Bookmobiles.

Last year’s highlights include the purchase of a new Bookmobile, arriving in summer 2014, and the transformed Kids Library, which features five 3D structures, lower shelving and cozy seating. Murals on the wall tie to books on the shelves in this space for kids and families, designed to spark imagination and creativity. These two endeavors were privately funded through The Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library.

“It’s the lives of the people we touch through thoughtful decision-making and innovation that really stood out last year,” said Diana Friend, Communications & Marketing Director. “And, we’re reaching more customers outside the building. A key reason is due to our partnerships, including Shawnee County Parks and Recreation’s community centers where we offer computer access and library programs.”

In 2013 the library added to its suite of digital offerings with Zinio, digital magazines, and Hoopla, TV shows and movies. Customers were thrilled they could enjoy entertainment on the go, Friend said. Check-outs of digital content increased 75 percent from 2012 to 2013, with 140,634 titles checked out.

dan-brown-infernoFun Fact: Top 5 eBooks of 2013
“Inferno” by Dan Brown
“Pros and Cons” by Janet Evanovich
“12th of Never” by James Patterson
“Never Go Back” by Lee Child
“The Heist” by Janet Evanovich

The Big Read occurred last February, and the community is still talking about it. This community read encouraged everyone to read, discuss and attend programs centered around “The Great Gatsby.” 2,775 people attended Big Read programs, and the classic novel checked out 1,114 times during this community read. It was truly a great month and a great year.

Check out for more details, images and video from 2013 at the library. An abridged version of the report is in the April/May edition of Library News, a bimonthly library newspaper and events schedule. It will be delivered in mid-March to library card households in Shawnee County.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Library features the Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery, the Millennium Café, the Chandler Booktique, multiple meeting rooms and free computer/Internet access and training 78 hours a week, 7 days a week. Our Digital Branch,, is open 24/7.  

Library hours: Mon–Fri., 9am to 9pm, Sat 9am to 6pm and Sun 12pm to 9pm. 


Lisa is a former employee and shared the library story in many of her posts.