Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Library honors its most voracious reader

Betty Bell surpasses 4,000 checkouts in 10 years

Express Staff Writer

Betty Bell, left, with granddaughter Ebi Bell, center, and daughter Andy Bell, right, is honored earlier this month at the Community Library in Ketchum for surpassing 4,000 book checkouts in the past 10 years, a library record. Photo courtesy of the Community Library

    Ketchum resident Betty Bell set a record at the Community Library by surpassing 4,000 book checkouts in the past 10 years, an average of about 1.1 books per day.
    Bell, who has been a patron of the library since it was founded in 1955, boasts more book checkouts on her library card than anyone else, at least during the past decade, which is as far back as the library’s computer records go.
    “If we projected the checkout math backward 50 years to the library’s inception, Betty would have read about a quarter of the library’s current circulating holdings,” said Cathy Butterfield, the library’s collection development director. “All our readers rock, but Betty is in a class by herself.”
    Butterfield said the library’s collection includes about 120,000 items, of which about 85,000 are books. Of those books, she said, about 70,000 are adult titles.
    Butterfield said some patrons have accumulated more checkouts than Bell in a single year, but that’s largely due to media checkouts such as CDs and DVDs.
    “And that’s not the same thing as reading books!” she said.
    Butterfield said library staff members organized an unofficial award ceremony for Bell on Jan. 14.
    “We contributed to buy a bison roast from a sustainable farm in South Dakota, which Betty ran across in a book,” Butterfield said. “Betty’s been very forward thinking in the green movement, so it seemed fitting.”

Brennan Rego:

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