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‘The city loves its library’: Staunton Public Library is busiest in local Valley

Rebecca Barnabi
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Staunton Public Library’s circulation total was 176,461 in 2022.

The one library is just 21,000 short of Augusta County Library’s total for seven branches at 197,942.

“The city loves its library,” Staunton Public Library Director of Library Services Sarah Skrobis said.

Skrobis came to the library in 2017, and runs reports at the end of each calendar year, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic to see how the library has bounced back.

“Historically, the city of Staunton has used its library more than in Virginia,” Skrobis said of how the Queen City’s library compares to library activity in the Commonwealth.

In 2023, the city’s library will have a full calendar of events similar to pre-pandemic activities. Skrobis said that while the library has returned to in-person events, staff continue to keep an eye on the CDC and pandemic conditions, and curbside services remain available.

“I think that’s a forever service now. I don’t think we’ll ever be getting rid of [curbside],” Skrobis said.

Skrobis said she is proud of her staff of 33.

“I think it shows that we’re a people-oriented organization and we just really strive to connect the residents with the materials they want,” she said.

The No. 1 checked out new book in 2022 across all libraries in Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro was “Run, Rose, Run” by Dolly Parton and James Patterson, a thriller published in March about a singer/songwriter on the rise to fame and also on the run.

Waynesboro Public Library’s checkout total for 2022 was 94,020.

However, Skrobis said, the totals do not include digital checkouts or renewals.

“It doesn’t paint the full picture of what the library services are,” she said.

The numbers are also astonishing when you consider that approximately 25,000 live in Staunton, 77,000 in Augusta County and 22,000 in Waynesboro. This means the per capita rate in Staunton is 7.06 items, in Augusta is 2.57 items and 4.27 items in Waynesboro.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.