More than 120,000 visits to parish 
libraries last year

More than 120,000 visitors made their way to libraries in St. Charles Parish last year, which was a 17 percent increase from 2022.

Leann Benedict, the director of the St. Charles Parish Library system, gave an in-depth report to the St. Charles Parish Councildetailing the stats for 2023. In addition to the increase in the number of visitors, there was also a 9 percent increase in the number of items checked out last year with a total of 239,379.

The St. Charles Parish Library system has 51 full-time employees and 33 part-time employees. There are nine full-time librarians who hold a masters degree in library and information science. Benedict holds an executive certificate from the state Board of Library Examiners.

Overall, there are 188,509 items available for check out in St. Charles Parish. Those include books, magazines, audio books and pre-loaded learning tablets. There are 92,248 items available for digital download through programs such as Hoopla, Flipster and the New York Times online.

Benedict also highlighted the library’s bookmobile, which delivered more than 55,000 items to 2,928 patrons in 2023. These items are delivered within the parish to homebound residents with physical or medical limitations that prevent them from visiting a local branch.

Additionally, the library held more than 1,100 onsite programs at its branches that attracted 15,350 attendees. There were also 261 offsite programs, including those held at schools, daycares, senior centers and community centers, that garnered 16,280 attendees.

“I think the continued growth in our circulation and attendance figures shows what a vital part of our community our public library is, and we are excited to see what the future holds,” Benedict said.

In St. Charles Parish there are currently 39,215 library card holders, with 1,191 cards being distributed last year. Library cards are free to anyone who lives, works, goes to school or owns property in St. Charles Parish.