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January 2012 eNews

Written By: Library Communications

Library Foundation Contributes Funds to Keep WorkSource Site Open

We're thrilled to announce that the WorkSource Connection site at the Downtown Library will remain open through 2012. We owe big thank-yous to the Spokane Public Library Foundation and the City of Spokane for this news. The Foundation took the lead and voted to donate $4,000 for the site, which will keep it open through May 2012.  After the Foundation approved its donation, the City added enough money to the library's 2012 budget to fund the site for the remainder of 2012.

A series of grants has kept the site open until now, and it was slated to remain open only for the remainder of the latest grant (from the Inland NW Community Foundation), which will end in January. However, thanks to the Foundation and the City, we can continue to serve Spokane's job seekers through the year.

The WorkSource Connection site provides help for people searching for jobs. It is located in the Gates Computer Lab on the second floor of the Downtown Library and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-6 p.m. An employment specialist from Goodwill Industries NW staffs the site, helping job seekers find job listings and polish their resumes. Numerous customers have used this service to get valuable--and free--assistance in their job searches. Given current economic conditions, the WorkSource site remains especially valuable right now.

We couldn't be more grateful to the Foundation for taking the lead and the City for filling the rest of the gap to preserve this important service. The Foundation depends on private contributions and was able to make its donation thanks to the generous support of its endowment. Support like that is critical--it allows the library to sustain its service levels. If you would like information about the library Foundation, please contact Foundation Director Sandy Kernerman at Sandy Kernerman at 444-5318. When you do, let her know you appreciate the Foundation's donation to the WorkSource site!

Sell Antique Books – You Can't Do That in the Library!

Actually we do, during one night only – the Library Foundation's annual fundraiser, You Can't Do That in the Library! The Friends of the Library holds an auction that night which features special items that you won't find in their bookstore. Last year there was a copy of Audubon's Birds of America Baby Elephant Folio that went for $350. This gem was donated to the library and we knew it would just get lost in the book store, so we saved it for the auction where there was a very exciting bidding war on it. All of the money went to support the Library and the Library Foundation. The Friends look for items that would be appropriate for the auction all year long and gladly accept donations. So check your bookcases – is there something special there that you think might help the library? Call us with a description of the item and we’ll let you know. (444-5307) Thank you!

By the way – it's never too early to get your tickets for You Can't Do That in the Library! It promises to be another fabulous rule-breaking evening, so mark your calendar for April 28 and contact Foundation Director Sandy Kernerman for tickets (444-5318).

pictured above: bidders at the silent auction at last year's You Can't Do That in the Library! fundraiser.

eBooks – The Whole Story...For Now, Before it Changes Again

So you got an eReader for a holiday present? And you want to know what you can get for it from the library? Well, it's complicated. Bottom line: yes we do have eBooks--not that many, but we're purchasing more regularly. What kind of eReader is best? Well, that's complicated too. Our eBooks work on Nooks, Sony eReaders, and some Apple products, but not on Kindles for now. (There's a long list of supported devices linked from our website).

Why is it so complicated? Well, it's sort of like the Bermuda Triangle of eBooks: Libraries, Publishers, and Vendor Platforms (see highly technical diagram). Here goes...

Publishers are concerned that when libraries loan eBooks, it cuts into their already slim profits. Penguin, a huge publishing company (The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Nora Roberts' books, Sue Grafton and many more) has discontinued distribution of many eBooks to libraries. They only allow them for purchase. Harper Collins limits eBook checkout of their titles to 26. After that, the library has to buy a new "copy" even though it is a virtual copy. The price is not reduced for eBooks.

Vendor Platforms present another issue. In short, the vendor platform is the program we use to deliver eBooks to you. These vary immensely in cost, service and book availability. The vendor contracts with the publishers, and then we (libraries) contract with the vendor platforms. The vendor platform has to have a lot going for it:
• ease of use for the customer
• good selection
• ability to work with many eReader devices
• affordability
Finding a platform with all those features is like finding a book for a customer who only knows it has a red cover and it was about a girl. (smile). And just when you've found a vendor that works decently, it gets sold to another company or loses a major publisher (like Penguin). Another issue here is whether or not you "own" the titles you "buy" from the vendor. Recently there was controversy when a library "bought" eBook titles and then switched vendor platforms. The library was told it was not allowed to transfer the purchased titles to the new platform. How a library buys and owns titles is still very much in flux in this fledgling industry, and it is something we have to be cognizant of when we select a vendor.

Libraries are stuck in the middle. Our job is to provide books and other materials to customers, and lately customers want their books digitally. Libraries everywhere are scrambling to do this while still providing titles in paper and CD format– suddenly having a book is not so simple. For a single title we might carry the following:
• Regular print
• Large print (when available)
• Audiobook on CD
• Downloadable audiobook (when available)
Providing all these formats makes having a wide selection much more expensive at a time when funding has been reduced.

So, what do we have? As of this newsletter – 765 eBook titles. Many classics, computer books, travel books, business titles, fiction and Cliffs notes for many important works. The list is growing. Stay tuned, we'll keep you posted!

Exhibits @ the Downtown Library

We're ringing in the new year with two new exhibits at the Downtown Library—one in the Northwest Room and the other in the first floor gallery. Beginning in early January, the Northwest Room will feature the photo exhibit "Wintry Adventures and Disasters," a collection of regional images depicting winter scenes of both fun and fright. You'll see images from the 1800s and into the 20th Century of mountaineers, hikers, skiers and more enjoying the Northwest's snowy winter weather. On the other side of that coin, the display will showcase striking photos of snow slides and avalanches.

If you stop by the library in early January you can catch a last look at Victor Prado's interesting oil paintings in the series, Face to Face. His work will be on display until January 9 when Lyn Bailey's oil paintings will fill the first-floor gallery. Her wide range of styles and beautiful use of color make this an exhibit you'll definitely want to check out; stop by anytime between January 9 and February 15 to see her work.

The first floor gallery of the Downtown Library is available for individuals or groups to display artwork though all installation and de-installation must be done by the artists. Call 444-5342 if you're interested in exhibiting work.

It’s Tax Time! And There's Help at the Library!

Did you work in 2011?
Make less than $49,078?
Single or married, with or without children, you likely qualify to get your taxes done free. Also, based on your earnings and family situation, you may get extra money back from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Spokane Public Library (Downtown) is one of Spokane County's Tax Sites which are sponsored by a community coalition under Spokane County United Way's leadership.

Open: January 31 to April 14
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10 AM-2 PM
No Appointment Necessary

Downtown Library, 2nd Floor Computer Lab

What to Bring:
• 2010 tax return
• Valid PICTURE identification
• All income statements, such as 2010 W-2s, 1098, 1099 forms for you and spouse
• Social Security cards for you, spouse and all household members
• Proof of other income from you or spouse and banking information
• Child care provider information
• Property tax information if homeowner
• 2011 Home Purchase Credit Information

Call the Reference Desk - 444-5336.
Info about additional Tax Assistance sites - Call 2-1-1


All branches will be CLOSED on January 16 for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.


 Join us for Modern Times  on January 11 at 5:30 at the Downtown Library. Free, of course!



South Hill's Heart of Spirituality book discussion group continues next month with a discussion of Robert Persig's The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on Feb. 21 at 6:30.

Job Hunt

Our WorkSource lab is open for those needing assistance with job searches, resume preparation and other employment-related work.


Did you know that a portion of Spokane Public Library's funding comes from local, City of Spokane sales tax revenue?! When you shop inside the city limits you are supporting your library!


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