Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Shaker Library hosted Overdrive’s Digital Bookmobile July 18 in our newly repaved Main Library parking lot. The “Digimobile” is actually a full size semi-trailer with “bumpouts” and awning-covered entrance steps that is filled with widescreen TVs, laptops, and a variety of the latest digital devices to educate the public on the availability of downloadable e-books, audiobooks, music and videos through our library website.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 62% of survey respondents did not know whether their local public library provided access to e-books. Well, the 225 people who braved the hot weather that day now know that the Shaker Library provides e-books and a lot more! Kathy Fredrick, Director of Library and Technology Services for the Shaker Schools, was also in attendance because the school libraries will soon be offering the services of Overdrive—now based in Valley View and moving soon to Garfield Heights.
In terms of educating our library customers, the Shaker Library has also been partnering with a statewide group, Connect Ohio, through the federally funded “Every Citizen Online” or ECO program. Since the fall of 2010, classes have been held across the state, giving 6 hours of training in basic computer and Internet use to more than 23,000 people through June 2012. 82% of those who completed the work said in surveys that they intended to become broadband “adopters” by signing up for Internet service.
213 people have taken the training through the Shaker Library, or about 1% of the state total. Refurbished computers at low prices and discounted Internet service are being offered as incentives to those who complete the program. Desktops are priced as low as $119.99 and laptops as low as $189.99, plus shipping, with a choice of Windows XP or Windows 7 operating system. Our ECO classes are scheduled in three 2-hour sessions over a three week period. For a list of these classes along with other events and activities at Shaker Library this month, download our August flyer. To learn more about the ECO computer incentives, go to: Connected Nation.
Another interesting thing Shaker Library has done this summer is the beta testing of a new item, called the Playaway View, which can be checked out like a book or DVD. We have been circulating the original portable Playway audiobook devices, produced by the Solon-based company Findaway, for a number of years. The View is a similar type of portable device for video, which can be used by a customer to watch a movie with or without a headset.
Shaker Library also subscribes to OneClickdigital, a service that provides downloadable audiobooks from Recorded Books, one of the leaders in the audiobook industry. A customer can create an individual account with a library card number and begin downloading to a PC, laptop, iPhone, iTouch, iPad, or Mac. An app for android devices will be available later this year. To see what is currently available, go to: OneClickdigital.
Finally, the Shaker Library continues to be a “hotspot” for computer users, pun intended! More and more of our customers are taking advantage of our free wireless Internet access on their own laptops or handheld devices. And our new Computer Center at the Main Library continues to see increased numbers of people visiting with a 30% increase during the first half of 2012 over the same period of time last year. Use of print materials is down about 3%, but that is only about half the rate of decline in video use. Visits to the Library have held steady, attendance at library programs is up over 12%, and downloadable use is up 80%!
Luren E. Dickinson, Director