Looking Back with Pride, Looking Forward to 2024

Looking Back with Pride, Looking Forward to 2024Dan Owens headshot
Dan Owens, Library Director, Neill Public Library

2023 has been a year of growth and service here at Neill Public Library, and we’re proud of our accomplishments and our community. We’re looking forward to 2024 with a renewed sense of purpose and Pullman pride.

In 2023, we’ve checked out more than 400,000 items- just about 300,000 physical items and 100,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks. That’s almost a 10% increase over 2022, and the first time we’ve ever passed the 400,000 mark. The record-setting didn’t stop there. More than 22,000 kids and adults have attended a youth program at the library, and another 1,200+ have attended programs just for adults. Overall library visits increased by nearly a third in 2023, as did our WiFi usage, and we created more than 2,000 brand new library cards- all remarkable numbers.

Behind all of these numbers is a staff dedicated to serving and making a positive impact in our community through books and programs that bring stories to life. I can’t thank them enough, and I am proud to call them my colleagues.

Certainly, our most visible accomplishment of 2023 was the installation of letters on the outside of our building, announcing we are “Neill Public Library”. This is a project that we’ve wanted to complete for years – we’re proud of who and where we are!- and thanks to the Friends of Neill Public Library, we were able to get it across the finish line.

In the past, we frequently received phone calls asking “Where are you again?” and we’d say “at the busiest intersection in Pullman, Grand Avenue and Davis Way,” to which we’d hear a pause, then “OH, that’s what that building is!” No more.

The Friends of Neill Public Library also funded a replacement of our main service desk this year, with particular thanks to a generous individual donor. Our new desk, built locally by Renaissance Woodworking, will allow us to shift some of our (very limited) floor space to public use. And they purchased new shelving, and painted our Friends book sale area- significant improvements. We have a few more projects in store for 2024 that will really bring it all together, and we can’t wait for you to see what’s coming.

I should note when I write, “The Friends of Neill Public Library”, I may be referring to a core group of volunteer board members but truly, it’s all of you- the supporters of the library who joined in 2023, and those who have sent in their annual membership renewals for years. It means so much to the library to be able to count on this vital support- thank you so, so much. Your support makes a difference to your community, every day. Please keep an eye out for your renewal notices in January!

Last, thanks to everyone who filled out our patron survey this fall. This helped define our 2024 priorities and we’ve already identified concrete steps we can take to achieve our goals. New shelving, new materials, big plans- we’re working hard to address the priorities you identified. So keep an eye out for Neill Public Library in 2024, through our e-newsletter, social media, or just stop by the library (our very favorite method). We’re here to help you explore, discover, and connect to Pullman, the Palouse, and the world beyond. We’re proud to be your community library, every day.
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