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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 -- 10:07 AM

Library usage is up around the state, but the Neillsville Public Library is bucking that trend.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction says that, over the last five years, public library visits in Wisconsin increased by more than 10 percent, circulation of library materials increased by 15 percent, yet paid library staff per capita decreased by 2 percent. Wisconsin boasts 385 independent public libraries.

Neillsville Public Library Director Joann Gustavson says circulation was actually down 8.6% locally in 2010, compared to 2009. She says that's probably because Neillsville is one of only two libraries in the Wisconsin Valley System that aren't part of the V-CAT shared catalogue program yet. Gustavson says they're likely going to make that upgrade this year. V-CAT has several advantages, including a streamlined inter-library loan system. Computer usage at the Neillsville Public Library remained strong in 2010 with 7,300 sessions recorded.

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