The experience of reading was….relaxing, immersing, enjoyable, informative, and interesting. A quiet place in the corner and warm sunshine was a perfect environment for your book. Then, along came e-reading and……suddenly so many distractions…hard to foc….it was hard to…foc….hard to focus… on…all the incoming…email?
Recognize this experience? If so, you’re not alone according to a recent New York Times article about e-reading habits. However, though some people in the article confessed that they’re finishing books less often, industry studies show that e-readers are reading a lot more. Buying habits of e-readers seems to be changing too. In a blog post surveying 705 e-readers in February of last year almost 1/4 of respondents said they buy only e-books since they’ve used an e-reader. A 2011 study on e-reading sponsored by the book industry found that dedicated readers who bought e-readers decreased purchases at indie booksellers locally and increased, by a nearly equal percentage, their purchase of books online. Nationally, libraries acknowledged the trend toward increased e-reading by increasing offerings of digital titles 185% in 2011.
If you’re new to e-reading or thinking about buying a reader or maybe received one of the over four million e-readers sold this past holiday season and are still not comfortable with the device then stop into Northeast Library on March 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. They’re offering a class to help you navigate your device and find what you want in The Seattle Public Library’s growing digital catalogue.
For the past few months, members of the Friends Communications Committee have been hard at work designing and developing a new website. By replacing the old website, we hope to present a fresh new face for the Friends, make it easier to browse and find information, and to initiate an online membership option and volunteer forms. The new website will also have more photos, video, and charts, our events Calendar and Friends’ current news and events, as well as downloadable documents (like our publication, the Bookmark): all of which makes it easier for us to share the myriad ways the Friends are helping The Seattle Public Library.
To build our site, the Friends partnered with consulting group Visualscope, a local web design company. They were instrumental in helping us create a website that was exactly everything that we wanted. Thank you to all the folks at Visualscope!
Check us out at friendsofspl.org, and be sure to tell us what you think!
Are you at home looking at this blog? Are you at work? We’re willing to bet that almost half of you are looking at this blog from your public library. Every time we walk into a library, we see full computer stations and laptops on desktops. “The computers are always jam-packed with neighbors of all ages, it is almost like the library functions as the South Park Computer Lab,” Shawna Murphy recently told us.
Now, a new study released this week from the University of Washington Information School, reveals exactly how many of us are relying on library computer access for: job searches (75% of respondents), health information (82% ), homework (42%), and staying in touch with family and friends (64%).
In the past year, one-third of our national population over the age of 14 used a public library to access a computer or to find wi-fi.
In the past year, 50% of the population between 14 and 18 used library computers – mostly for homework.
What does this mean? It means libraries are indispensable extensions of our schools. They’re helping our kids with homework and college preparation and keeping our unemployed neighbors hopeful by offering a dependable and resourceful place to look for jobs. They’re bridging the digital divide that could separate us from one another. They’re a resource and investment that return exponential value to our communities-especially during periods of recession.
“Policy makers must fully recognize and support the role libraries are playing in workforce development, education, health and wellness, and the delivery of government services,” Marsha Semmel of the Institute of Museum and Library Services said in response to the study’s findings. Media headlines about the study also tell the story: “Web Usage up at libraries: many young, low-income people rely on public Internet access for research . . .” writes the Spokesman Review. “A third of Americans — about 77 million people — use public-library computers to look for jobs, connect with friends, do their homework and improve their lives,” writes the Seattle Times, citing the study’s findings.
What can you do to help our libraries? Get involved with the Friends of The Seattle Public Library. firstname.lastname@example.org
Longing for ultra-high speed Internet connectivity at home? Think how quickly you could log on to the Library’s Web site, search for books and check our online resources!
The City of Seattle is submitting a bid to Google, who will be building ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial location communities in the US. How fast is fast? Let’s just say speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today. How cool is that?
Support the City’s bid, and tell Google why your neighborhood, organization or business needs a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. Responses are due back to Google by March 26.
We met with Susan Evans and Jacob Sayles, owners of Office Nomads, at their 5,000 sq. foot office space on Capitol Hill. We talked about co-working and libraries in the digital age.
What’s co-working and what does it have to do with libraries?
Susan and Jacob explained: Co-working is a response to increased demand for telecommuting and people who want less isolation while working from home. In the beginning people started going to libraries and coffee shops to work but those places weren’t originally intended for business use so co-working spaces developed. Co-working is all over the world. In the U.S. there are 60-80 spaces.
And what does it have to do with libraries?
Susan: I get excited thinking about the fit between libraries and co-working. People need to get out of the house when they’re working. We’re a good fit for people who can afford a little bit for a small office space but if we’re talking about making co-working for more people then a public option is an exciting idea. There are people in business who can’t afford 25$ a day. The libraries aren’t like coffee shops where there are distractions but you can’t use your cell phone or collaborate there and that’s limiting. Wouldn’t it be cool though if there was a publically sponsored workspace? There’s a lot of value in libraries. I think that everyone can also see there could be a lot more.
Jacob: There are some parallels. Libraries have a huge role in education and they have some of the structure for renting out space. Maybe there could be an assessment of how libraries could be a casual co-working space. Maybe between the hours of x and y there could be places where, for instance, you could use your cell phone.
Susan: From a professional point of view, I think that public libraries could be a really great place to embrace the need for public business spaces (and/or job search spaces) and they’d serve a great community need by doing so. I love our libraries but if we’re going to stay home more for our work then we need libraries to be more welcoming of co-working needs. Maybe rather than libraries letting business and work happen there they could support and embrace that.
Jacob: Ballard Library has done a great job of becoming a community hub with the municipal services next door. I love the Ballard library. But people are more and more shifting to building their own content. You can get so many things delivered to your house now that, generally, libraries aren’t really the hub they once were.
Susan: Libraries are wonderful spaces. Clean, beautiful. Capitol Hill has meeting space. Sustainable Capitol Hill used to meet there. It’s one of the first spaces we think of when we need to meet. I think if we’re talking about libraries being an important place to access information or to even out the playing field then they have a huge value and they’re not a place that will diminish until we hit a day and age with free wireless all over or PDA’s in everyone’s life.
Jason: Even if we had free wireless all over and PDA’s there’s still a role for libraries. Once you have infinite knowledge you need the guidance of librarians. We see that here. It’s easy to Google everything but people often turn to us and ask questions. People go to other people for answers.
Susan: It’s a human reaction. ‘I want to talk about it.’ People like to share information. Maybe librarians are no longer keepers of information but they’re…
Susan: tour guides. Public libraries are incredibly important community assets. Sharing resources is a key way to make cities more livable and save us all money in the long run!
Before you make your next big (or little) purchase, why not check out the product reviews and ratings on ConsumerReports.org? Now you can do that online for free through the Library’s web site at www.spl.org.
If you are trying to access ConsumerReports.org from a computer outside the Library, you will need to enter your Library card numbers and personal identification number (PIN) when prompted, and then press the Login button.
This is just one more way that the Seattle Public Library is helping its patrons during tough economic times. Be sure to take a look at the many other consumer resources available on the Consumer Reports and Information database.