WA Secretary of State Blogs

Cooperative Projects from Library Development

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, Technology and Resources | Comments Off on Cooperative Projects from Library Development

Ft. Vancouver Regional Library downtown branch As a further recognition of National Library Week, we offer this overview of several cooperative projects that benefit libraries statewide.

The WSL Library Development staff coordinates several cooperative statewide projects which leverage the combined purchasing power of libraries throughout the state to save significant amounts of money for Washington libraries. In addition, LSTA (Library Services & Technology Act) funds provided through IMLS (The Institute for Museum & Library Services) are used to subsidize or kick start cooperative purchasing arrangements, helping libraries break into new areas such as virtual reference, eBooks, or downloadable audiobooks.

The oldest example of these kinds of projects is Statewide Database Licensing (SDL), which since 1997 has been providing a suite of research databases to public, academic, K-12, medical, and research libraries statewide. Library Development staff also coordinate library funded group purchases for other products; past examples include the online version of Consumer Reports, and an automotive repair database; a current example is Zinio, a very popular new platform for reading magazines online. It has been conservatively estimated that SDL saves Washington libraries over $20 million annually.

A more recent example is Off the Page: Downloadable Audiobooks and eBooks for Washington, which has helped libraries provide these new formats to their patrons. 31 public library systems in Washington are now able to offer both e-books and audiobooks via the Washington Anytime Library, and several more libraries are in process to join this consortium. More than 40 public and academic libraries, as well as over 300 K-12 school libraries are offering downloadable audiobooks via a statewide contract with another vendor.Ft. Vancouver High School Library

Another area in which Washington libraries are successfully working together is in providing access to 24×7  virtual reference services to their patrons. Via Ask-WA, more than 60 Washington libraries, both public and academic, are providing online reference services through chat, e-mail, and instant messaging (IM) technologies.

Just being rolled out as we write, is a brand new project, Connect with Your Library: A Mobile App for Washington, which in partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, is providing the opportunity for public and academic libraries to offer their services via a user-friendly mobile application (app). The app will let users locate libraries, place holds, renew materials, download eBooks, or check to see if the library has an item, and more, all from the mobile device they carry in their hand.

These programs and others like them are great examples of how under the leadership provided by the WSL Library Development Program, LSTA funds are used to assist in providing a level playing field, such that smaller libraries can provide their patrons with the same kinds of services and resources that otherwise might be restricted to the larger library systems, while simultaneously providing assistance to all Washington libraries, both large and small.

Anytime Library Reaches Milestone

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, News | Comments Off on Anytime Library Reaches Milestone

Recently the Washington Anytime Library celebrated the addition of its 30th member library to the group. The Grandview Library became library number 30, meaning that almost half the state’s 62 public library entities are now members of the Washington Anytime Library!

Washington Anytime Library

The Washington Anytime Library provides a substantial collection of downloadable eBooks and audiobooks to its patrons. The Anytime Library is the cooperative effort of a consortium of Washington public libraries, coordinated by the Washington State Library. A list of participating libraries is available on the Anytime Library’s web site.

Congratulations to Grandview Library, and to the Washington Anytime Library for providing this valuable service to library users throughout the state!

This project is funded in part through the use of LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds provided under the auspices of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the coordinating efforts of the Library Development Program at the Washington State Library. Additional funding comes from the participating libraries.

Other Washington libraries provide similar services to their patrons. A list of libraries offering downloadable  audiobooks is available on the project website.

Questions about the project may be directed to Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library.

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

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | Comments Off on Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Sept 2009

Ask-WA Statistics – September, 2009

September Survey Comments WordcloudAsk-WA maintained a busy service during the month of September, and chat picked up slightly over August as schools came back into session. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 3707
  • Chat sessions requested: 3457
  • Chat sessions accepted: 2993
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 848 (24.5%)

As a cooperative we maintained an answering percentage of 86.6% for the month, which is a good 2% over last month, and remains well over the goal rate of 75%. Keep up the good work! The email aspect of the service remains robust, and continues to outpace chat ever-so-slightly. Qwidget traffic remains around 1/4th of the total chat traffic.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout September.

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Join Ask-WA for Free in 2010

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Technology and Resources | Comments Off on Join Ask-WA for Free in 2010

AskWa_WSVRC Dear libraries of Washington State,

Are your users on the internet? I’m willing to bet that a lot of them are.

Do they use chat software to communicate? IM tools like ICQ and AIM have been around since 1996/1997 (respectively), and companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! all provide IM services. Chat and IM aren’t new, and lots of people use them to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues.

Chat and email are probably the two most-used methods for online communication.

So, can your users employ these methods to contact your library? To ask you questions? To tap into your expertise?

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