At the Library 1/13/22

At the Library  (1/13/22)                                                                                                               

by Cary Ann Siegfried

While our library building holds a great collection of books for all ages, your Washington Public Library card actually provides you with resources far beyond what any one building can hold.  Thanks to the State Library of Iowa and the partnership of libraries all across the state there are a couple great services that library patrons can use to find almost any book they’d like to read.

The first (and easiest) way to extend our physical library collection is through the Bridges eLibrary.  Bridges is the eBook, audiobook, and streaming video buying consortium for Iowa public libraries. The State Library of Iowa facilitates the program and manages a contract with Overdrive, Inc. on behalf of the participating libraries.  The consortium owns over 90,000 digital books, audiobooks, magazines and videos.

While Overdrive is the contracted company, you actually may be more familiar with the Libby app provided by Overdrive that allows you to read, listen to, or watch content from Overdrive on your phone, eReader or computer. Libraries that participate in Bridges pay an annual formula-based fee to the State Library that covers the materials budget and the management of the system.

If you’ve used Bridges in the past you may have been discouraged by long wait times for new and popular materials since you’re sharing them with the entire state.  Here’s where your local library can help:  the consortium allows local libraries to purchase titles in high demand that can only be used to fill holds by local patrons. Through the Overdrive reporting system, we can tell when our WPL patrons have put holds on Bridges material, and as our budget allows, we’ve begun purchasing copies that will only go to fill holds from our own patrons.  So your wait time may get a lot shorter for some titles!

The second way to extend the collection in our building is through Inter-Library Loan.  If a patron identifies a book that is not in our collection (and hasn’t been recently published), we encourage you to fill out an Inter-Library Loan form. If the book is held in another library in Iowa, we may be able to get it in matter of days thanks to IA Shares, a service from the State Library to provide a method of sending and receiving library materials between public libraries at no charge to individual libraries. This courier service provides twice weekly deliveries to every public library in Iowa.

Of course, if the book you’re looking for has been recently published please let us know and we’ll consider it for purchase if it meets our collection development guidelines.  We want the Washington Public Library to be the first place you think of when you discover that new must-read book!