A Look at the Library’s Puzzle Collection

Three of the puzzles recently added to the collection (photo by Joan Muyskens Pursley)

Joan Muyskens Pursley

The Robson Library holds more than 3,200 books—a combination of non-fiction and fiction—but that’s not all. Equally popular (some say more popular) is its collection of jigsaw puzzles. Currently, there are 355 puzzles on the shelves, and, at all times, another 80 to 150 waiting to be added to the collection, according to library board member Gary Koenig. A super-duper numbers guy, Gary can pretty much tell you how many books, DVDs, and puzzles are in the library at any time.

You may ask why we have so many puzzles not on display. That’s because, even with the added shelving, there is not enough space for all the wonderful puzzles that residents are donating and the large-piece puzzles that board members have purchased at the request of patrons. But do not fear, all of the “stored” puzzles will be added to the collection as others are retired. Several times a month old puzzles—primarily those that are in poor condition, have missing pieces, or have not been checked out by anyone for several years—are taken out of the collection to make way for the new. Retired puzzles in decent condition are donated to area non-profit organizations so many more people will enjoy them.

If, like Gary, you enjoy statistics, here are some figures that he compiled for us. In the collection at the time of this writing, there were as follows:

• 14 100-piece puzzles

• 62 300-piece puzzles

• 54 500-piece puzzles

• 19 550-piece puzzles

• 19 750-piece puzzles

• 183 1,000-piece puzzles

• 4 puzzles with more than 1,000 pieces

Which are the most popular? Over the past 12 months, 100-piece puzzles have been checked out 42 times; 300-piece puzzles, 266 times; 500-piece puzzles, 154 times; 550-piece puzzles, 58 times; 750-piece puzzles, 53 times; and 1,000-piece puzzles, 415 times. Our over-1,000-piece puzzles have been checked out just three times.

All of the 100-piece puzzles feature large pieces. All but four of the 300-piece puzzles also have large pieces. And 31 of the 500- to 3,000-piece puzzles have large pieces.

These figures prove that when it comes to puzzles, “there’s something for everyone,” says Gary. And with new puzzles added to the collection several times a month, if you don’t like what you see today, just wait a few weeks and there will be new puzzles for your consideration.

The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on the collection and Friends of the Library, visit www.RobsonLibrary.org.