September 19, 2014
The Liberty Lake Splash
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On the April Library page: Library expands digital offerings; Book Review
3/26/2014 10:43:49 AM

By Tammy Kimberley
Splash Staff Writer

Even though a location change five years ago brought more room to house the contents of Liberty Lake Municipal Library, the facility is running low on shelf space. In an effort to maximize their resources - both in space and funds-the library continues to take steps to bolster their digital options.  

One of the more obvious ways they've made strides is an increased array of ebook and audiobook options, library directory Pamela Mogen said. The number of downloadable checkouts increased from 2,643 in 2012 to 4,155 in 2013. 

"Now that people are more used to getting information via the internet, we'd like to propose that the library is keeping pace with the times," Mogen said. "We're looking for more ways to offer resources in digital forms." 

Pat Dockrey said he's been using a Nook for several years to check out science fiction books that are hard to find in a wide selection at traditional libraries. He loves the convenience of the digital format, whether he's traveling or reading at the local Starbucks. 

"The library is only open so many hours per week, but if you want a book at 3 a.m., you can check one out," he said. "I tell everyone they need to try it and see if they like it."

Another item the library has been educating patrons about is the Library Now mobile app. Mogen explained that the app allows users to have access to everything in the library in an easy-to-read format on their phones. It can also be used in place of a card to check out books. 

There are more digital resources available "behind the scenes" that many patrons are not aware of, Mogen said. On the library's website, users can access Zinio Digital Magazines, Freegal Music, World Book Encyclopedia, reference and travel books on Gale Virtual Reference Library, HeritageQuest genealogical research along with many other resources. Although they are available for free to patrons with resident library cards, the library purchases these services and tracks how well they are being utilized.

Library staff have undergone training in how to best guide patrons to the correct databases, and they are constantly evaluating how to best invest in other digital resources. During the month of March, the library offered patrons free access to a trial package of online resources and asked for feedback from users. Mogen said that feedback and the number of site hits will help staff decide what type of online package to potentially purchase for the future. 

"Anytime the state comes up with negotiating a package for us, we'll be right in line to get it for Liberty Lake," she said. "We will keep abreast of everything that comes up and do our best to make it available."

There are other ideas of using technology to further serve those in the community, Mogen said, including the possibility of transforming the quiet reading room into a media lab to enable people to create things digitally. She's also been researching how other libraries are serving as places for people to come get their GEDs. 

"There's a lot to look forward to," Mogen said. "We're doing our best to find out about the new possibilities."

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Liberty Lake Municipal Library By the Numbers
24 Digital magazines currently available via Zinio
5 Free music downloads allowed each week via Freegal
29,735 Ebooks and audiobooks accessible via Liberty Lake Municipal Library 
57 Percent increase in digital downloads from 2012 to 2013
24/7 Time frame resident patrons have access to digital services

• • • • • 

Historical fiction shows struggle over slavery

By Daniel Pringle 
Liberty Lake Municipal Library

Chosen for Oprah's Book Club, Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings" imagines the life of early abolitionist and feminist Sarah Grimké. Born around 1800 to a slaveholding family in South Carolina, Sarah grew to see the injustices of slavery as an adolescent, and began to quietly resist it as a young woman. Eventually, resistance became her life's work, and she achieved renown, to some, infamy to others, writing against these evils. Her pamphlet "American Slavery As It Is" inspired "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the book that Abraham Lincoln credited with starting the Civil War.

Kidd juxtaposes Sarah's thwarted ambition to pursue education and a career-first in law, then the Quaker ministry-with a fictionalized slave in the Grimké household given to Sarah on her eleventh birthday. Hetty, or Handful, as she's known to the other slaves, is the daughter of the Grimkés' seamstress, a defiant woman who taught Handful about her African origins and helped instill in her a belief in her own intrinsic value as a person. Sarah teaches her to read, and in alternating chapters we see the two girls grow along parallel lines as individuals straining against the limitations of their time.

In this powerful story, Kidd presents a "thickly imagined" account of Sarah's life that she admits takes some liberties with events and conversations to serve the plot. While this ultimately makes for a compelling and moving read, in some cases the subtext is too obvious. A small criticism, I hope, that won't discourage anyone from reading about these inspiring women. 

Daniel Pringle is adult services and reference librarian at the Liberty Lake Municipal Library.

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