June 21, 2024
A comparison in the number of materials circulated by the Bangor Public Library in 2023 vs 1923 vs. 1933.

The Bangor Public Library is one of many features of our city that all residents should be proud of. In addition to the wealth of knowledge that it boasts, both on the shelves and in its dedicated staff, it also has kept the public informed of the value it has been providing.

Each year, going back to before the fire of 1911, The Bangor Public Library provides the public a report containing statistics on the library’s usage by the public. For example, they reported for the year 1910 that library visitors took home 78,657 books, and patrons enjoyed another 15,828 books in the library’s reading room.

The tradition continues today, with the BPL reporting that 202,102 print books, CDs, and DVDs were borrowed in 2023. Bangor Public Library patrons also made use of digital resources by borrowing 42,805 e-books, digital audiobooks and digital films during the same period. That’s a combined circulation of 244,907 items for 2023.

How does this compare to 100 years ago?

In 1923 the Bangor Public Library circulated 146,548 items. Based on the numbers reported for 2023, that’s a nearly 100,000 more items circulated last year compared to a century earlier!

The Great Depression’s Effect on Bangor Public Library

1933 put both 1923 and 2023 to shame. According to the annual report for that year, the library circulated 397,015 items! That’s more than 1923 and 2023 combined. (391,455)

Why such a tremendous increase? Unemployment. According to 1933’s report, circulation had been on the rise for the past 13 years.

Every year for thirteen years, there has been an increased use of the Library’s resources by the public. Now again the year 1933, shows the largest use of books in the history of the institution. Since, by general consent, the great increase in the use of libraries during the past two years has been due to unemployment, it is to be expected that the added strain and stress will appear in the Adult departments. In the report for 1932, attention is called to an increase for that year of 21% in circulation from
the Adult desk.

Bangor Annual Report for 1933

The Bangor Public Library is a Treasure

As a Bangor resident, I am incredibly thankful to have access to a world-class library. What I personally appreciate about our Library is the dedicated staff that work there. I’ve asked many questions over the years I’ve lived in Bangor, and they’ve always pointed me in the right direction for answers.

Out of the 13,313 reference and information requests made last year, a few of those were mine.
The statistic for that: 100% Satisfaction and Gratitude.