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Library News

By: Cheryl L. Yeatts
For: Red Rock News
Date: July 13, 2012

Arizonans Love Their Libraries!

Although much debate surrounds when the first public library was established in the United States, libraries have long been the building blocks of communities.  Many types of libraries exist:  research, school, and special libraries such as law, museum, and medical, to name a few.  There are public libraries and private libraries.  There are urban libraries and rural libraries.  In 2010 there were 218 library buildings in Arizona.

Did you know that Arizona has a state library?  The official name is the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State.  The Acting State Librarian is Janet Fisher.  While there are six library divisions within the agency, the Library Development Division takes a leadership role in coordinating statewide planning and development of library services.  A staff of professional library consultants works closely with public libraries to help define and meet the wide variety of information needs that exist in the state.  The mission statement of the Arizona State Library Development Division says it best:

"Our mission is to model best practices as a public agency division by providing consulting services, training, resources and grant funding that empower Arizona libraries to offer excellent services to their customers."

The Library Development Division supports local libraries in many ways.  They offer workshops for librarians to learn how to write grants to receive funding for libraries.  They also provide free ongoing training for librarians.  Workshops include collection development, technology implementation, and best practices for libraries. 

In addition, the Library Development Division is responsible for the Arizona Summer Reading program, the OneBookAZ program, and the Summer Library Institute for librarians.  Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a week-long Summer Library Institute at Northern Arizona University.  I came away impressed by the services provided by the State Library.

One of the most valuable resources provided by the Arizona State Library Development Division is the Arizona Statewide Databases.   Using these databases, Arizona residents may explore thousands of online resources through their public libraries.  The Arizona Statewide Databases can be accessed from Sedona Public Library’s homepage at   For more information, contact Sedona Public Library at 928.282.7714 or pick up a brochure at the reference desk. 

Another important role of the Arizona State Library is data collection. The State Library collects, edits, and disseminates statistical information on public libraries in the state.  These statistics directly affect state and national funding for public libraries.  Here are a few interesting facts from the 2009-2010   statistical report:

  • More than 50 rural Arizona communities have no bookstores, but they do have a library.
  • Arizonans have direct access to 8.9 million print materials, 727,000 audio materials, and 830,000 video materials in the state’s 218 library buildings. 
  • Arizona’s libraries hosted more than 50,000 programs, which attracted more than 1 million participants.
  • Arizonans visited their public libraries more than 29 million times a year in 2010. That’s more than seven times the total 2011 attendance for all the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Suns, and Coyotes games combined. 
  • Arizonans borrowed more than 52 million items from their public libraries.  That’s about 8.1 items per citizen.
  • Arizonans accessed the Internet 7.1 million times per year at their public libraries.
  • There were 4.27 million library cardholders in Arizona in 2010.  This compares with 3.1 Arizonans who are registered to vote, and with the 2.32 million who voted in the 2008 Presidential election. 

During these tough economic times, more people than ever are using free services provided by public libraries.  You can support your library in many ways:  join Friends of the Library, volunteer at your local library, purchase books during the library book sales, or make a charitable contribution to Sedona Public Library. You can do all of these.   Most importantly, USE the library!

Cheryl L Yeatts
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.
Cheryl L. Yeatts is Manager of Sedona Public Library in the Village.