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Washington Libraries Shine in eBook Checkouts

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, News, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


One Million Digital Checkouts Club Official Members 2013

Two Washington libraries are in OverDrive’s 2013 Million Digital Checkouts Club. The King County Library System (KCLS) actually led the way with the most OverDrive digital checkouts of any library system worldwide! Seattle Public Library (SPL) was also in the club, at position number 6. OverDrive recently published the numbers (see below) on their blog.

OverDrive is a vendor which libraries frequently use to provide access to downloadable digital content, especially eBooks and eAudiobooks. Here are the 2013 members of OverDrive’s Million Digital Checkouts Club:

Last year, only two libraries broke the 1 million mark in digital circulation, but the number one both years was KCLS. We posted the top five for 2012 here on the blog last March. SPL was number 4 in 2012.

Here at the Washington State Library we also have the privilege of managing an OverDrive consortium for a group of smaller libraries, most of whom could not afford to offer this service to their patrons on their own. Going in together, these 39 libraries provide the Washington Anytime Library, also powered by OverDrive, and partially subsidized with federal LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds administered by IMLS (The Institute for Museum and Library Services). The group calls itself the Washington Digital Library Consortium (WDLC).

The 39 WDLC libraries serve a combined population of 725,362 which is less than King County’s 1,362,870, but more than Seattle’s 616,500. But, the group has a way to go to make it into the same league as KCLS and SPL, at least in terms of digital checkouts. In 2013, the Washington Anytime Library had 380,000 checkouts, compared to 216,000 in 2012. Still, that’s a 76% annual increase, compared to the 22-25% increases shown by the larger systems. So look out big guys, the WDLC is on your tail!

Congratulations to all of these libraries for staying relevant by offering eBooks and eAudiobooks to their eager patrons, who love to read, whether in digital formats, or in traditional print. It will be fascinating to track how these numbers continue to increase in years to come!

Washington Libraries Lead in eBook Circulation

Thursday, March 14th, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, News | 1 Comment »


ALA-ebook

OverDrive, one of the most popular public library eBook and eAudiobook vendors, recently announced its “Library eBook Leaders” for 2012. Two Washington libraries ranked in the top 5!

King County Library System (KCLS) was Number 1 in eBook and other digital title circulation, with Seattle Public Library (SPL) not far behind, in the Number 4 spot. Here’s a listing of the top 5, with the circ numbers:

1. King County Library System, Wash. (1.3 million checkouts)

2. New York Public Library (1.1 million checkouts)

3. Toronto Public Library (900,000 checkouts)

4. Seattle Public Library (850,000 checkouts)

5. Hennepin County Library, Minn. (750,000 checkouts)

Congratulations to KCLS & SPL for leading the North American continent in eBook circulation!

Seattle Public Library, Down But Not Out

Thursday, January 24th, 2013 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public, Random News from the Newspapers on Microfilm Collection, State Library Collections | No Comments »


SPL 3From the desk of Steve Willis, Central Library Services Program Manager of the Washington State Library:

This week’s random article comes from the Jan. 5, 1901 issue of The Ballard News, published at a time when Ballard was an independent incorporated city. But the news itself is actually about Seattle, and the almost total destruction of the Seattle Public Library by fire on the evening where 1900 turned into 1901.

According to John Douglas Marshall’s book, Place of Learning, Place of Dreams (2004), SPL had struggled in the early years to find funding and a permanent home. On Jan. 12, 1899 the Library opened in the posh quarters of the Yesler mansion, and patron usage soared. But City Librarian Charles Wesley Smith expressed concern the enormous Victorian wooden structure was a fire hazard. The memories of Seattle’s great 1889 inferno were still fresh.

Smith’s fears were well founded. Practically the whole collection went up in smoke on the cusp of 1900/1901. Andrew Carnegie came to the rescue and in short order a fine new library was constructed. The cause of the fire was never fully explained. There was some feeling it was sparked by someone who wanted to force the issue of finding a secure home for SPL. One prominent Seattle educator even declared, “All glory to the man who applied the torch.”

This article was apparently originally published in the Seattle Mail and Herald. It is interesting how many of the points made in promoting the local library in 1901 remain valid over a century later:

SPL 2

 $35,000 WORTH OF BOOKS

 That Was Seattle’s Loss in Tuesday Night’s Fire

 “Ever since Seattle’s great fire the city has been learning to turn apparent evil into good and to make the most of her calamities. The same spirit which prompted her to rise up in the ashes of 1889 and build on new foundations the basis of a greater city than could ever have sprung from the old, will not desert her now, as she stands and looks in the ashes of what was, a few days since, the pride of every man, woman and child on Puget Sound,– the Seattle Public Library.”

“All are by this time acquainted with the fact that on New Year’s night the library, consisting of $35,000 worth of books and  paraphernalia, was destroyed by fire.”

“Until this calamity few people had known in just what an exalted position they held this institution; but the calamity has appealed more directly to the people than would the destruction of any other institution, public or private, in the city, with the possible exception of the University.”

“A public library such as this, is of incalculable value to any city in which it is located. A public library operated in such a satisfactory way as was this one is, we believe, of as much value to the city as the churches combined.”

“The Seattle Library had 8,200 patrons, and it may be safely calculated on the basis of five readers for every card– more than 40,000 readers.”

“It had an average of 2,500 visitors daily. The number going in and out of the library building on last Thanksgiving day, aggregated 3,000.”

“There is another fact– and it is important– that hundreds and even thousands of men and girls, who had not decent rooms or apartments, spent all their leisure time in the library. Now that the establishment is destroyed and temporarily inaccessible, they are seen walking listlessly about the streets or lounging in clubs or saloons– for they are out of a home. These, and the further fact that education and high ideals are the acknowledged solution to the problem of crime, are some of the reasons urged why the Seattle Public Library was of such vital importance to the city. Outside of all other argument there is the fact that no other city of Seattle’s size could afford to be without a well equipped complete library.”

“We desire to commend the Library committee of the city council upon their prompt and decisive action. It seems that they have no other thought in mind than that the city must at once proceed, not only to place the library back in even a better state than before, but more important than all else, to purchase a site, forthwith, and construct a fireproof library building that will answer for all time.”

“This is as it should be. Seattle is not a city of ephemeral hopes and iridescent booms. She is building for all time. Mr. Smith, the man who has conducted to such perfect satisfaction, the affairs of the City Library for so many years, has been working for two years past to this one end– a permanent library building for Seattle. The city can afford to take up the matter at once,– rather, it can not afford not to, and we are glad to be able to inform our readers that the committee will report to this effect to the city council.”

“The locations being considered as most desirable are, we are informed, the present site and the old University grounds. It is not known that either of these is available at reasonable figures, but they, together with others, are under contemplation of the committee.”

WSL Updates for October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 Posted in Digital Collections, For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 6, October 7, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) NEW DIGITAL COLLECTION – SKAMANIA COUNTY HERITAGE

2) WORKPLACE BULLYING SURVEY

3) EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY LITERACY PROGRAMS RECOGNIZED

4) FREE BOOKS FOR DISCUSSION KITS OR COMMUNITY READS

5) PLA AWARD AND GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

6) ALCTS LIBRARY METADATA POLICY E-FORUM

7) EVALUATING MEDICAL INFORMATION ON THE WEB

8) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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Ref22: When Teens Attack!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Ref22-Logo Did you miss out on the live Ref22 webinar last week? Never fear! All Ref22 sessions are archived and available on the website at Ref22: Archived Sessions.

Last week we had Jen Robinson from the Seattle Public Library talking about serving teens (and other “difficult” patrons) via chat. Check it out!

The September edition of Ref22 is proud to present, “When Teens Attack!: Tips for dealing with 12-year-olds and other difficult customers on chat reference” (presented in High-Definition PowerPoint).

Jen Robinson of The Seattle Public Library attempts to explain the reasons why teens (and tweens) are the way they are, and presents some clever ways to best help the under-18 set via online chat.

Virtual and physical reference librarians and any library staff that regularly serve teens will find this session of interest.

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WSL Updates for September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 6, September 9, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) APPLY FOR A POSITION ON THE LIBRARY COUNCIL OF WASHINGTON

2) REF22 PRESENTS CHAT REFERENCE WITH TEENAGERS

3) HANDS-ON EAUDIOBOOK ORIENTATION SESSIONS

4) IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER FOR EARLY LEARNING SYMPOSIUM

5) MY SKILLS MY FUTURE

6) ALCTS RDA E-FORUM

7) YOURS, MINE, OURS – LEADERSHIP THROUGH COLLABORATION

8) FREE ONLINE TRAINING NEXT WEEK

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WSL Updates for May 27, 2010

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 6, May 27, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) NO LIBRARY IS AN ISLAND – THE 2010 PNLA/WLA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

2) WASHINGTON LIBRARIES RECEIVE FREE LYRASIS TRIAL MEMBERSHIP

3) BRUSH UP YOUR PR SKILLS – JUNE FIRST TUESDAYS

4) FREE BOOK – GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES

5) TECHNOLOGY AND ITS IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF LIBRARIES

6) POWER TO THE USER – INTERACTIVE ONLINE REFERENCE SOURCES

7) RE-TOOLING FRONTLINE STAFF WITH E-GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

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WSL Updates for May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, Hard Times, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 6, May 20, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) RENEW WASHINGTON GRANT CYCLE RE-OPENS

2) THE USER EXPERIENCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY LIBRARY

3) GET INVOLVED IN WASHINGTON’S FUTURE

4) BOOKS FOR CHILDREN GRANTS

5) MISSION CRITICAL – SERVICES TO SPANISH SPEAKERS

6) USING WEB 2.0 TOOLS TO ENHANCE TECHNICAL SERVICES WORK

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Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Dec 2009

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | 2 Comments »


Ask-WA Statistics – December, 2009

December Survey Comments WordcloudDecember tends to be a slower month for Ask-WA, mainly because academic traffic drops off so sharply during the holiday breaks. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 3319
  • Chat sessions requested: 3474
  • Chat sessions accepted: 2883
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 791 (22.8%)

On a positive note, our answering percentage rose from its dangerously low 74% last month up to 83% in December, which is ideal. The best part is that this higher ratio is due to every cooperative maintaining a good ratio in December (as opposed to one group doing super-well and raising the rest up). Qwidget requests, as a percentage, rose from November to come back up to their average 20-25% level.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout December. Some great words this month include: amazing, awesome, prompt, kind, helpful, useful, and wonderful.

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The Gift of Reading

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For the Public | No Comments »


I’ll avoid any cliches about gifts that keep on giving. Instead, I’ll jump straight in and admit that I, like many librarians, am an NPR nerd. I adore NPR for a number of reasons (though I will say that it was Ira Glass who first got me hooked). I also particularly enjoy their segments with librarian Nancy Pearl on book recommendations.

Nancy Pearl was once-upon-a-time the Director of Library Programming at the Seattle Public Library. These days she reads and recommends books to people, on the radio and through her book series, Book Lust. She’s also the only librarian I know of who has their own action figure (side-note: where are the Ranganathan pull-string toys where he recites the 5 laws of library science?).

Nancy Pearl was on Morning Edition this morning with more great recommendations, and all of them look great. There’s something there for everyone, and I recommend taking a look. Don’t stop there, though. While you’re on the site, check out the Best Books of 2009 section. This section has numerous stories and book recommendations, including the best young adult fiction of 2009, top picks from indie booksellers, best five books to share with your friends, best gift books, and more.

And sure, it’s Christmas, and maybe you’ll buy some of these as gifts. Me, I like to use these lists to fill up my reserves at the local public library – something I recommend everyone try. And hey, maybe instead of giving your reader friends books for the holidays, this year you should give them a library card application instead. Because cliche or no, libraries really are gifts that keep on (and on and on and on) giving.