County's digital library growing in popularity
Washington County library users are now able to access all their digital library resources from one convenient provider.
This summer, WCCLS (Washington County Cooperative Library Services) switched from the state's Library2Go system to an independent collection called OverDrive.
WCCLS had been using both Library2Go and Cloud Library for books that can be read on a screen (ebooks) or listened to (audiobooks).
But with an expanding demand for digital library materials, WCCLS officials decided to switch to a single source that provides both more books and shorter waiting times.
OverDrive provides a total of 35,243 titles, including 7,755 audiobooks and 27,488 ebooks. Readers can browse almost any genre, including classic literature like Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities," as well as explore a collection of graphic novels and comics that includes the popular "Walking Dead" series, and even find recipe books or books on auto mechanics and gardening.
WCCLS officials plan to expand their digital collection and decrease wait times for their most popular materials. With OverDrive they will also be able to add digital titles in multiple languages, have kid-friendly ebook resources and streamline digital library access by putting everything in one place.
Digital resources can be used from any computer, smartphone or tablet with internet access. Users can choose three different ways to access OverDrive. Computer users would go to wccls.com, and smartphone users could choose either the Libby app (more user-friendly) or the OverDrive app (offers in-depth searching and filtering).
County residents will still need to visit the library to get a library card in order to use the digital resources. Once armed with a library card, users have instant access not only to digital books but to paper books, magazines, DVDs, videos, CDs, cultural passes to local attractions and more.
In addition, under the "research" tab of the wccls.org website, 135 databases are available, including Mango Languages, legal resources for immigrants, genealogy services, academic and professional research services, and even Lynda.com, which provides comprehensive tech courses and workforce trainings.
Forest Grove librarian Amy Gregory says one or two of the databases are available only in the library, but the vast majority can be reached anywhere with internet access.
With the advent of digital library access in 2006, Gregory says she's actually seen more people become involved and use library materials, partly due to the 24/7 access and because of the extensive available resources.
The digital library is growing in popularity. E-content Librarian Courtney Sheedy said use grew by 13 percent in the last fiscal year, while print ciruclation is down by 5 percent. Overall, 10 percent of books and audiobooks are checked out digitally.
Sheedy said the digital library popularity is likely to continue spiking as readers engage with stories via audiobooks, which are checked out digitally 45 percent of the time. Audiobooks allow for improved multitasking, keeping the eyes and hands free to perform other tasks like driving or exercise.