Ebook and audiobook checkouts are up at public libraries, but librarians say they need better access to digital titles and prices that are set at "reasonable terms." American Library Association executive Alan Inouye says "there needs to be a coming together on a discussion on what are reasonable terms."
New public libraries in the US and other countries are distinguished by their natural light, unique designs and amenities such as recording studios and teaching kitchens, writes The Washington Post editorial board. These libraries are well-positioned to serve their communities during the pandemic and in the future, the board writes.
Numbers were up across the board at Nebraska's Keene Memorial Library in fiscal 2021: 122,400 items were checked out, up more than 12,400 from 2020, and children's book checkouts increased by more than 7,000. Also, visits were up, Wi-Fi use was up, and days open were up; library director Laura England-Biggs noted that online learning sessions more than tripled.
The Worcester, Mass., public library demonstrates how it serves the entire community during the pandemic by serving teens, people experiencing homelessness and others in need while also making digital options such as e-books available. City Manager Edward Augustus says "nothing makes me prouder" than the library's recent renovations.
Canadian libraries shut down as the pandemic hit, and when they reopened, patrons returned -- some after decades away, notes Kitchener library executive Mary Chevreau. Toronto Public Library head Vickery Bowles noted that people still use libraries for the books, but that libraries have also expanded nonbook offerings including access to cultural groups, movie screenings and human contact for people who are lonely.
Army post libraries, such as the locations in Belgium and the Netherlands, help servicemembers connect with their new communities. "It is such an amazing experience for me personally to have the ability to work with and engage with so many people from so many different countries," said Lisa Steinacker, the director for SHAPE International Library and Chievres Branch Library in Brussels.
Waterford Public Library, in Connecticut, is connecting with younger patrons via Grab & Go, in which parents go to the library for a bag of craft supplies their children can use to make a craft by following a video a librarian posts online. The library hands out at least 100 bags per activity, and librarian Jennifer Smith said the activity helps children to develop fine motor skills and to boost creativity.
The Federal Communications Commission doled out another $361 million in broadband subsidy dollars to libraries and schools, making its to-date total nearly $4.2 billion. Forty-nine libraries were among the recipients in this latest round.
This release provides staff with enhanced features to track in-house usage of materials, support check-in from book drops and remote returns, and update additional fields in item records. Learn more in our blog.
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