Libraries aren't just a place to discover a good book anymore. Utah libraries are stepping up technology services to keep up with the times.
Trish Hull, the manager of the Magna Library is pleased to offer access to e-books to their patrons. "Libraries have always been about access to information and resources, so we offer this service as an extension of our everyday work it's just one of many methods to help our communities." She gives the analogy that libraries, like banking institutions, have to accommodate the preferences of their patrons. While some people stalwartly prefer print media, others exclusively use digital media and rarely step foot in the buildings themselves. Library collections are no longer limited to bookshelves, as library websites are becoming more and more important.
"Libraries are critical to make sure everyone has access to the information they need." Says Hull, who notes that many patrons come to use the Internet. "With the increase of government and businesses requiring everything to be done online, we have seen more people coming to the library to access these sites." Many older adults come to improve their tech-skills or use the internet to contact government agencies or learn more about local services.
In addition to technologies that help patrons access information, such as apps, self-checkout and digital databases, many librarians are using technology to aid them in their work. For example, Hull orders books through third-party services like Brodart, Barker & Taylor or Ingram and all of her records are online. Their large collection of e-books is available through platforms such as Overdrive, Axis 360, and Cloud Library (3M).
Librarians are using technology in their community programming as well; for example, the Magna library started using a 3-D printer two years ago. They have done over 2,500 print jobs since that time for customers ages 4-90. They also have telescopes available for checkout.
"The changes we've made are bringing new people into our libraries," says Hull, "and I think more people are seeing libraries as places alive with activity and interaction."
"We see this benefitting our communities as we provide information, access, creativity and a chance to learn and create. We are places of connection and creation not just quiet reading. It is really a fun environment. As for books, they are our brand, and we will always have them." She says.
Libraries are changing to stay relevant and are a big part of Utah communities. To learn more about what new technology services are available to you, contact your local librarian.
Read more from the Utah League of Cities and Towns on DeseretNews.com or visit their website at ulct.org.