“A Community Service Organization to Promote Literacy” – the Library’s second most important role
A recent survey of library cardholders netted a great response rate and some interesting data. 20% of those asked completed the survey - 4,777 responses! Thank you for taking part; the terrific response rate alone tells us that our customers care about the library enough that they want to share feedback with us. The data also told us some interesting things about the system and how customers use it. We will put this information to use in the next couple of years as we continue to improve the library according to customer needs.
Not surprising, the majority of customers use the library for books – of all sorts: adult, youth, teen and audiobooks. Our customers are strong readers – over 87% reported reading more than six books a year with more than a quarter of respondents saying they read over 40 books a year. We also heard that, other than borrowing and browsing books, they see the library's most important function as "a community service organization to promote literacy." We're glad that people see us this way since promoting literacy in our community is a big part of the library's mission. Early exposure to books and stories helps children on the path to successful literacy which leads to success in life. Our annual report will focus on this subject; look for it in the next month in your library.
When asked what the library could do to encourage people to come more often, the highest ranked response was "increased availability of newer/current materials." Following close behind was a request for consistent/regular hours systemwide and requests for more downloadable formats – music, audiobooks and ebooks. This feedback couldn't have come at a better time since we were considering a downloadable music service (see article below) to increase access and alleviate some issues in the library's music collection.
Over 92% of respondents reported satisfaction with the library as a whole and we're glad to hear that. The specific feedback about which services were heavily used and which services customers would like to see more of was very valuable and will help us in planning for the future. Efficient stewardship of the tax dollars that support the library includes tailoring our services to fit the needs of the customer and your feedback in this recent survey helps us do the best we can with our resources. Thank you for your participation.
Northwest Room Showcases Historic Pamphlets in "Literature of the Masses"
Years ago, if you lived in America or Europe and owned a book, you were probably a nobleman, a church dignitary, a scholar, or just rich. That&'s because books used to be too expensive for most people. Instead, many readers bought pamphlets—sometimes known as street literature—which were cheap and plentiful. And guess what? The Northwest Room at the Downtown Library has some authentic, vintage examples of historic pamphlets, and we're putting them on display in "Literature for the Masses."
You'll see pamphlets from the 1600s through the late 1800s with famous speeches, stories, and arguments on controversial topics like slavery and religious persecution. Pamphlets like these strongly influenced popular opinion—so much, in fact, that many pamphleteers were hanged and tortured for printing subversive material. Not all pamphlets were inflammatory, though. They also featured things like stories and almanacs for entertainment and information. Stop by the Northwest Room for this rare peek back hundreds of years into the pleasure reading of the past.
New Music Service Increases Options, Eliminates Overdues
Starting in mid-July the Library will greatly expand its music offerings by providing digitally accessed music. Freegal (rhymes with legal) is a new music service that the library is subscribing to which provides the entire current and historical Sony music catalog (500,000+ tracks, over 50 different labels). It includes a variety of musical styles such as classical, jazz, rock and pop. You'll find Adele and Britney Spears as well as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. There's Duke Ellington and Miles Davis in addition to the likes of Bartok and Beethoven. With the large number of tracks and labels there really is something for every music fan.
Customers will be able to download three songs a week for free, to keep. Because there are no digital rights management issues the songs are not loaned, they are just available. We pay for the service, just like we pay to buy books, DVDs and CDs in order to provide them to customers. One of the reasons the library selected this service was because it is very customer friendly.
Some of the aspects of the service that make it customer friendly:
- mp3 format (no confusion about competing formats)
- web-based (no software to download)
- use in library or your own computer
- works on PCs AND Macs
- vast collection increases offerings to customers
The digital nature of this collection provides additional benefits which will help the library and provide better access to customers. Currently, our music (CD) collection comes with a variety of issues. If you're familiar with the music collection you know that each CD is housed in a security case-- a security case that is bulky and expensive. The security cases help prevent theft but they also limit the number of CDs we can offer because of the space they require. There is a fair amount of staff time involved with each physical CD including barcoding, labeling, putting into a case, shelving, resurfacing (when they are scratched), reshelving, pulling for holds, etc. – all this adds up to a lot of time the music is not available to our customers! Freegal eliminates all of these issues.
Log in to our website or stop by the library and download some music from Freegal starting in mid-July.
Special programs at the libraries are underway (click the picture
for the schedule). Make sure to sign up and attend the programs. The
programs are a lot of fun and remember, reading during the summer is not
only a great, free activity but it's good for your brain and puts you
at an advantage when you start school in the fall!
Not sure what to read? Ask our librarians or check our website for tons of recommended reading lists.
Spokane Is Reading Features (Funny!) Author Mary Roach
How funny do you think space travel would be? Well, author Mary Roach found plenty of humor in it—enough to write an entire book. And on October 20, you can see her speak, in person, right here in Spokane. That's the day Spokane Is Reading brings Ms. Roach to town for two free presentations. In this year's book selection, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void , Ms. Roach, who has a knack for blending science and laughs, has fun with some of the lesser-known absurdities of space travel. Everything from the less serious in-helmet snack bar for astronauts to what happens to your body in zero gravity or in increased gravity situations. We recommend the book, but even if you don't read it, join us October 20 for a fun time with a witty author.
Spokane is Reading is now in its tenth year and is a collaboration between Spokane Public Library, Spokane County Library District and Auntie's Bookstore. We're very grateful for funding from the Friends of the Library groups as well as Humanities Washington for support of this program. For program details go to www.spokaneisreading.org.
A note for finding the book in the library - if all the copies listed in the catalog are checked out be sure to look at the Star Collection shelves in each branch - we have placed copies there as well that cannot be placed on hold so you just might get lucky and get a copy!
Join us for The Left Handed Gun on July 13 at 5:30 at the Downtown Library. Free, of course!
See you in the library for some great programs this summer! Sign up online at summerreadingspokane.org.
Was this your favorite book of 2011? Teens can exercise their right to vote...for their favorite book. Which of the 25 nominated books will make it to this year's top ten?! It's really up to you. Find out more here .
Our WorkSource lab is open for those needing assistance with job searches, resume preparation and other employment-related work.
South Hill's Heart of Spirituality book discussion group is on hiatus until the fall, but you can get a head start on the reading if you'd like.
F stands for "Friend." Be our "Friend" or "like" us or
whatever - it's a good way to hear the latest about the library. "Share"
us with your "friends" so they'll "like" us too.
Reading is exercise for your brain. Walking or cycling to the
library is exercise for your body. We have bike racks outside all of the
libraries; please remember to bring a lock. Also good to know is that
helmets are the law in Spokane and there's also no sidewalk riding in
the downtown core.