What's bigger than Nationals baseball or Rams basketball home game attendance? Double the size of Mardi Gras? More popular by far than the Shenandoah National Park? Visited by more than do the Library of Congress?
Our Monroe Park Library.
On Friday, June 21, between 5 and 6 p.m., the James Branch Cabell "gate count"--bodies through the front door--hit 2 million for the first time. Cabell had already set an annual record coming into June with a 1,956,046 year-to-date count. VCU Libraries tracks attendance and other data on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year.
It's estimated that another 15,000 people will walk through the doors by the end of June, adding up to a 4 percent increase over last year.
In comparison, the Library of Congress gets about 1.75 million visitors each year and the New York Public Library in Manhattan, the one with the lions out front, on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, sees 2.3 million visitors annually.
In national academic library statistics, VCU's libraries loom large. A typical fall semester gate count for a doctoral institution is 28,612. VCU's "typical" fall week of October 1-7, 2012 was 60,419.
How does that gate count relate to other VCU numbers:
- About 3.5 times the annual ridership of the VCU Campus Connector
- 15 times the attendance numbers for VCU Men's Basketball home games
Here are a few other comparisons, Cabell Library's annual visitor count is:
- 78 percent higher than Shenandoah National Park (2010 numbers)
- 3 percent higher than the Washington Nationals 2011 home attendance
- Five times the attendance at Woodstock
- Roughly equal to the population of Houston
- About double the attendance of Mardi Gras
- About double the attendance at New Year's Eve in Times Square