News

Library features services for the iPod generation

By Brian Beckley The Courier-Herald

Voters in Bonney Lake are starting to reap the benefits of last year's levy lid lift election in the form of new services available throughout the county and specifically at Bonney Lake.

Along with funding that will keep the library open longer, the Bonney Lake branch is one of five branches to feature playaways, small portable audio devices with full recordings of books that can be checked out from the library.

“It's for the iPod generation,” Bonney Lake Branch Supervisor Linda Case said of the small, digital devices.

Stored near the library entrance on the “Books to Go” display, Case said the playaways have already proved to be popular. Within four days, most of the two crates had been checked out.

“They've just gone,” Case said, adding that though the library is “concentrating on the classics” for the Playaway collection, bestsellers are also available in the more than 125 titles.

The library is also increasing the number of audiobooks available online. Within the Pierce County system, a library card entitles the holder to download any of the more than 1,700 titles available, including bestsellers.

Case also said the extra funding will allow the library to reach WorldCat, part of the Libraries Nationwide Network, which will allow readers in Pierce County to find books from all over the world.

“This will be the tool the public uses,” Case said.

Another new feature waiting online for library users is access to Newspapers Direct, which provides access to more than 340 downloadable newspapers from around the world.

“You actually get the full paper with ads,” Case said.

For Gemma Tate, who works at the Bonney Lake branch, Newspapers Direct has allowed her to catch up on news from back home in Ireland.

“The very idea I could go online and access the paper back home and see everything is just amazing,” she said. “This site is just one of the best sites for me.”

Aside from new features, Bonney Lake Library patrons will also notice reduced reserve times for bestsellers as the library uses some of the extra money to increase the number of available books.

“We are investing in the collection,” Case said.

Case said the wait length for a bestseller can be up to 19 weeks, but should be reduced to 12 weeks in many cases.

“Buying more copies really speeds up the wait,” she said.

Bonney Lake will also be one of several Pierce County branches to be open seven days a week starting this spring, allowing more people to access the many services available.

“That's what this area needs because this community has outgrown the library,” Case said.

Brian Beckley can be reached at bbeckley@courierherald.com.

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