Services offered by Harrison's libraries saved residents more than $4 million last year, according to estimates from a library use calculator, much to the delight of Harrison Library Director Galina Chernykh.
The calculator takes the amount of books, magazines, music and other tools loaned from the library and multiplies them by the average cost of buying the merchandise at a store or online. For example, Harrison libraries loaned 73,969 adult books in 2011 and the average adult book on Amazon.com costs $17, so the system calculates Harrison residents saved $1.26 million by renting those books for free.
Although the calculations aren't an exact science, Chernykh said she was thrilled to see the amount of money saved by using the library.
"When we plugged our information in we were like 'oh my God, this is amazing'," said Chernykh. "I'm so proud of what we did and I'm so happy to share this information with the public."
The 2011 report was Chernykh's first as library director in Harrison. Most of the numbers used in the calculations are required as part of her state report on library use. She said she was happy to have the chance to plug in the numbers to show the benefits of using the library.
According to the total calculations, which also take into account services like children's programs, computer use and use of the library's meeting rooms, the library saved Harrison $4.17 million last year. Impressive, Chernykh said, considering the total budget for the West Harrison and Harrison branches of the library were $2.37 million.
"At this time when the economy isn't that great it's important that we provide that kind of service to our population," she said.
Since taking over as library director Chernykh has placed an added emphasis on programs for children and adults and said there are several more programs that are growing in local popularity this year.
The library use calculator was originally created by the Massachusetts Library Association, but has recently spread into Westchester County and other surrounding states. Individuals can see how much money they saved by plugging in their information to the system on the Harrison Library website.
"It just gives an idea of the services we provide and the money that is saved," Chernykh said.