Ten-year-old Analiese Umphres has been to the Victoria Public Library many times to check out her favorite books on rainbow magic.

"I like how it's quiet," Analiese said. "So that when I come here and read, I don't get distracted."

She also has been to magic shows, robotics workshops and crafts events.

Analiese and her grandmother, Cathy Vasquez, are among the thousands who visit the Victoria Public Library each week - a growing number that goes against a trend occurring in libraries nationwide.

According to the Pew Research Center, Americans' use of public libraries has drifted downward in recent years. The Pew Research Center is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts public polling, demographic research, analysis and other data-driven research.

The number of U.S. adults who visited a library or bookmobile in the past year dropped in 2015 to 44 percent, down from 53 percent in 2012.

Even though the Victoria Public Library experienced a significant decrease in overall attendance in 2013 and 2014, the number of visitors has been increasing during the past two years.

Dayna Williams-Capone, director of the library, attributes the success to a strategic plan that involves creating events and programs to promote child learning.

These programs are called "Signature Events" and they include Maker Fest, an event in June for craft lovers; Fun Fest Summer Reading Programs that include a variety of activities in the summer, such as family crafts; performances by magicians and storytellers; and workshops on robotics and coding.

Other programs throughout the rest of the year include "Star Wars" readings in October and gingerbread house workshops in December.

Hailey Rodriguez, 29, of Victoria, is a stay-at-home mom who brings her children to the library every week because they love books. She home-schools her four children and has brought them to family crafts and computer workshops.

"My older son has been to computer programing and loves it," Rodriguez said.

The number of people attending the events is counted by the staff at each event; then, those numbers are added to come up with the annual numbers.

Programming manager Barbarajean Burton-Williams is in charge of the events. The spike in attendance began when she was hired two years ago.

"Already this month alone, we have surpassed the numbers we had last year," Burton-Williams said. "So there's always room for improvement."

Williams-Capone said the library is a highly used city-owned resource building with an average of 4,720 people visiting each week. This number is determined by how many people walk through the front doors of the library.

"Some people might come in more than once in the same day, but that's how we count," Williams-Capone said.

Andres Martinez, 34, of Victoria, said he goes to the library every day to use the public computers to search for jobs. He also uses the printers.

"It's pretty good, pretty quiet," Martinez said. "They provide everything you need."

Because of different needs of a younger generation, Burton-Williams said, library staff rearranged the display of materials to focus on what patrons are checking out.

"We changed the way we present our DVDs in the library. We had a different kind of presentation," Burton-Williams said. "We have done it a different way, and people are loving it."

The amount of materials checked out increased by 12 percent during the past five years. Even though DVDs are the No. 1 item being checked out, Betty Mercer, 87, of Victoria, still checks out books after 37 years of loyal attendance.

"It takes me about a week to read six books," Mercer said. "I like reading everything from Westerns frontiers, to love stories. I love them all."

Burton-Williams said plans are to improve the current programs and to continue with the community partnerships.

In these partnerships, the library takes programs such as story times out to the community to Head Start locations, day care centers and schools.

"Instead of sitting here hoping for people to come into the space and participate in the programs, we went out and did programs outside," Burton-Williams said.

Another way the library implements new practices and programs is through talking to community groups about what they want out of Victoria and how the library can help fulfill such needs.

"Those are a couple of things we do that I think has helped us," Williams-Capone said.

Mercedes said she loves the library because it allows her to get lost in the books she reads. She said she urges more people to attend and experience that feeling.

"I think it's a wonderful library. Cheerful and bright. It's clean and relatively quiet. It's just a wonderful place," Mercedes said. "I've come here for so long that I feel it's my home. My home away from home."

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