Can’t shush this: Dayton library had a very big August

A photo of the grand opening of the new main Dayton Metro Library in downtown. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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A photo of the grand opening of the new main Dayton Metro Library in downtown. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Pools weren’t the only thing in Dayton to make a big splash in August.

The new main Dayton Metro Library, which opened Aug. 5, managed to attract the kinds of crowds better known for marching through the turnstiles at hot new amusement and water park attractions.

Library officials have long insisted that usage of the downtown library would increase dramatically once the aging and blasé facility was replaced with a new, massive, state-of-the-art building.

It’s still early, but the numbers suggest their predictions were on the mark.

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In August, the new main library had 45,523 visitors, which was up 63 percent from August 2015, according to library stats. The main library closed in September 2015.

Granted, the grand opening of the new facility was a major spectacle that was widely attended, which boosted the number of visitors.

But even when the grand opening event is removed from the equation, the library’s attendance was up 42 percent for the three full weeks of August, compared to two years ago.

The library system issued 1,055 new library cards at the main facility last month, and computer usage has increased 44 percent since August 2015.

Circulation of young adult, teen and children materials have more than doubled, and community and study and conference rooms have been booked frequently.

The length of people’s visits has also increased significantly, and many times of the day there are hundreds of people in the building studying, reading, meeting and borrowing materials, said Tim Kambitsch, executive director of the Dayton Metro Library

“While our door counts show a substantial increase, the quality of the user experience is another difference that is easy to note,” Kambitsch said. “The smiling faces, seeing people taking photos to memorialize their visit, pointing at the art work all tell a story of success that numbers cannot convey.”

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