Library more than books

“I didn’t know you could do that at the library…”I am amazed by how frequently I hear these words from my friends, family members and acquaintances. I really, really like my job and I occasionally find myself sharing stories about peo¬ple I help throughout the day or interesting speakers and events that the library hosts. No matter how many stories I tell, there seem to be endless instances when my friends hear something new to them. A few examples:You can access the online Consumer Reports product rating guides for free with your library card. “Seriously? I didn’t know the library offered that.”You can get individual help to improve your basic computer skills at several of the area libraries. “Really? I didn’t know they did that at the library.”You can chat with a librarian, live, twenty-four hours a day. “Are you kidding? That would have come in handy when I was up until midnight with my daughter last night looking for re¬sources about Washington state history.”My hope is that this monthly article will help spread the word about some of the services that your local library offers. Each month, we will feature a particular library program or service. We may even profile particular staff members or make book rec¬ommendations. This month: Downloadable audiobooks and e-books!For over a year, the Libraries of Stevens County have offered access to a growing collection of audiobooks (books read out loud and recorded so that the “reader” actually listens to the book being read) and e-books (books available electronically.) These books are checked out online through the library’s website using your library card. Instead of turning paper pages or handling compact discs, you download the digital book onto your com¬puter. Then, you can read or listen to the books from your com¬puter or transfer it to a device such as an mp3 player, iPod, eReader or Kindle. These books are available twenty-four hours a day from anywhere you have an Internet connection. Many people think of the Library as a place where you can simply go and get a book to read. This is definitely true. The Colville Library has over 40,000 items available for checkout and is part of a county-wide system with over 130,000 items. All of the items in the Libraries of Stevens County are available with your library card, which, by the way, is FREE for all residents of Stevens County. But the Library is more than just a building that holds books. Modern libraries are the caretakers of information in many forms. We have books, magazines and newspapers in print, and we also provide access to books, articles and other information in digital form. For many library patrons, our digital collection makes the library more accessible and convenient. If you would like more information about our downloadable collection or any of the library’s services, you can visit our web¬site at, stop by the Colville Library located at 195 South Oak St., or call 509-684-6620. We will do our best to an¬swer your questions and help you access all of our resources. You can also “Like” the Libraries of Stevens County on Facebook to stay updated on our newest services and programs. We look forward to seeing you at the library!Krista Ohrtman is the Manager of the Colville Public Library.