People's use of the Cochrane Public Library have jumped, according to its recently released 2023 final annual report.

Library director Monique Fiedler-Sills says since they went fine free in 2023 there's been a massive surge in usage.

The library has seen a whopping 85 per cent increase in program participants, 23 per cent jump in visits, and over 11 per cent increase in check outs.

She says they're thrilled with the response to reducing barriers to their many resources.

"You know, if you consider that Cochrane is growing 4 per cent a year, but we're doubling, tripling, quadrupling those numbers in usage," she says. "It was really gratifying to see that people responded so well to having fewer barriers to accessing our resources. our services and collections. It's great. We're glad we could make it happen."

That's all occurring, despite the library being 25 per cent of the physical size it should be to serve a community of this size.

"We're working really hard to come up with some solutions, including facility needs assessment, so we can again ask Cochrane, what do you need from a library facility, what does your facility look like in the future so we can start working towards that and hopefully getting out of our walls a bit more."

library carCochrane Toyota has gifted the Cochrane Public Library a new Toyota Rav4 Prime for 2024. From Left, Carmen Erison and Monique Fiedler-Sills. (file photo)

Fortunately, they have recently been donated the use of a brand-new Toyota Rav4 Prime for 2024 by Cochrane Toyota for their outreach programming.

SEE MORE: Cochrane Toyota gifts library new car

"We're really hoping that there's going to be opportunities for us to start getting out into the community more and serving people beyond our walls."

She says they have more up their sleeve to further expand upon sharing their resources with the community.

Library officials are slated to present some new initiatives to town council in May.