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Activity at South Central Regional Library branches remained fairly steady in 2017.

The year was highlighted by the opening of a new branch located in Manitou.

Head Librarian Cathy Ching says all their branches were busy last year.

"We had 326,000 check-outs of library materials. That's the physical material and doesn't include the online books that people can access through their library card. Loans from other libraries are probably close to about 3,000 items, which is something our homeschoolers have really taken advantage of."

When it comes to the kind of material people are reading these days, Ching said their young adult and the teen section is becoming quite popular along with audiobooks.

"The playaways, those audiobooks which you can put in your pocket and listen to on your earbuds while going for a long walk are really popular because you don't have to fiddle with a bunch of disks and it's an individual program so no one has to hear what you're listening to."

Library membership remains strong with about 1,200 new patrons added to their registry. Library membership now totals 24,500 patrons, which represents about 65 percent of the population in the region, according to Ching.

In breaking down the individual gate count for 2017, almost 39,000 people entered the library in Altona, 44,000 people came through the library doors in Morden, 73,000 in Winkler and in the smallest library branch in Miami about 8,000 people entered the local library.

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