Counting the Good Things
by Mary O. Fumento
“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.” ~ Lemony Snicket
Numbers are dominating the news these days, whether it’s dollars, cents or statistics. While much of it is not what we really want to hear, there are some positives as well.
The economy is affecting libraries both in Wyoming and nationally. The Fiscal Year 2010 Wyoming public library budget survey is in, and after a decade of increasing library budgets, projected revenues for the next year have flattened.
Weakness in the market for natural gas and minerals is cutting deeply into Sweetwater County Library System’s and Uinta County Library’s fiscal year 2010 budgets. Weakness in retail is cutting into Laramie County Library System’s 1% sales tax money, resulting in cuts to collection spending. Other libraries report salary and/or hiring freezes, and rising costs of health insurance are creating an even greater pinch. The full news on Wyoming library budgets can be found on the Wyoming State Library statistics page at http://will.state.wy.us/statistics/.
Libraries in Wyoming and elsewhere are reporting that a tightening economy doesn’t just mean smaller budgets; it also means increased use. In the latest issue of Public Libraries, the magazine of the Public Library Association, PLA President Sari Feldman points out that libraries are key to economic recovery.
Workforce programs and jobseeker assistance are part of how public libraries serve their communities’ needs. The entire July/August 2009 issue is devoted to public libraries and the economy, and it is available through the library databases at http://gowyld.net/dbases.cfm in Wilson Omnifile and eLibrary, which can be accessed on the web with a Wyoming public library card and PIN.
The Washakie County Library System remains unified between Ten Sleep and Worland. Our physical collections stand solid. We are still buying new materials, replacing outdated or overused ones, and keeping our shelves full of information for you to use and enjoy.
Our digital collections stay strong as well. There is good news from Netlibrary, one of the databases to which we subscribe, and you can access it from the library, work or home. Our subscription to the Blackstone Audio collection has been enhanced to include 50 more titles in the MP3, iPod compatible format. The number of new titles will continue to be increased monthly from 15 to 30. You can see the new titles at http://will.state.wy.us/wyld/econtent/newtitles.html
In the News
Reading newspapers online may soon start to cost you. A recent study by the American Press Institute found 58 percent of the responding newspapers are considering online fees to read web content. Of that group, 22 percent expect to introduce the fee before the end of the year.
Remember that the library system has databases you can use for free to keep up with the news. For instance, the Regional Business News database incorporates 75 business journals, newspapers and newswires covering all metropolitan and rural areas within the United States.
Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is a one-stop source for information on today's hottest social issues. This database features viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, and images.
If you are looking for old news, the Wyoming Newspaper Project is making newspapers printed in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922 accessible in an easily searchable format on the web for free.
What is news today if not reading about health issues? Since September is National Preparedness Month, consider H1N1 flu (better known as swine flu.) The Wyoming Department of Health reports 183 lab confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the state already as of September 11. Fortunately, information resources are available to help you plan:
The library system will continue to be a resource for you, keeping our hours and services as stable as possible. Visit the library and let us know what we can provide and how we can remain valuable to you.