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Visit the library, or don’t – you can still access a wealth of resources either way

December 17, 2018 – News

A couple of decades ago, a library user would find a wealth of information at Juneau Public Libraries – shelves of books and movies, magazines and newspapers, access to forms and manuals. Today, a library user finds about the same, but thanks to advances in technology, a library user doesn’t even have to walk into a library to access most of the books, media and the other resources it offers.

Juneau Public Libraries today provides access to approximately 3 million print titles (about 450,000 of which reside in Juneau) and another 640,000 digital titles. Ten years ago, Juneau libraries had about 10 percent of those numbers. The business model of libraries revolves around sharing, and technology has enabled libraries throughout Alaska to share more effectively with each other. Now, when you look for a book – whether in print or digital format – it’s more accurate to say that you’re searching the collection of the “Alaska Public Library,” including University of Alaska campuses, rather than the Juneau Public Libraries alone.

While plenty of people prefer books in print, use of library ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, and streaming content continues to grow. If using an app sounds more in line with your lifestyle, try searching for some of the library’s apps, including Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy. Libby offers thousands of ebooks and audiobooks. Instead of checking out a CD or DVD from the library shelves, search for them in Hoopla and access the album or movie right on your phone, mobile device, or TV. Hoopla also has audiobooks, ebooks, comics, and TV shows. Kanopy allows library users to stream classic movies, independent films, documentaries, and kid programming.

Even if you aren’t an app user, there are a variety of other free digital resources available through the library that the average library user is not aware of – from simple internet access at the library for those without a computer to one-on-one online K-12 tutoring sessions. Other resources includes Alaska-specific legal forms, small business research and development tools, technology training courses, automotive and small engine repair manuals, and access to one of the best investment research databases in the country. Read newspapers from around the country and world for free, including the New York Times.

Chances are good, whatever your interest, there’s something on the library’s website you’d appreciate knowing about. Take a look at juneau.org/library – but make sure you’ve got your library card handy. If you don’t have a library card, it’s a good excuse to actually visit one of the branches of Juneau Public Libraries Downtown, in Douglas, or the Mendenhall Valley – it’ll only take five minutes!