Shen Yun Contest

Enter to win two tickets to see Shen Yun April 3-5, 2015, at McCaw Hall

Fill out my online form.

*No purchase necessary to enter to win. Winner will be selected by a random drawing and will be notified by phone or email.

The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Thursday, February 5, 2009, 12:01 a.m.

Libraries' popularity rises as economy sinks

Job resources, cheap entertainment lure patrons

  • Ginette Smith, 10, searches for a book at the Snohomish Library on Saturday afternoon. Smith comes to the library with her mother every couple of week...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Ginette Smith, 10, searches for a book at the Snohomish Library on Saturday afternoon. Smith comes to the library with her mother every couple of weeks.

  • Thomas Berg, 12; Brandi Williams, 12; and Chelsea Costello, 13, hang out at the Snohomish Library on Saturday afternoon. The friends often meet at the...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Thomas Berg, 12; Brandi Williams, 12; and Chelsea Costello, 13, hang out at the Snohomish Library on Saturday afternoon. The friends often meet at the library to use the computers and spend time together in the afternoons.

  • Elliot Denker, 17, a Snohomish High School student and a part-time employee at the Snohomish Library, shelves books. He has had the job for almost a y...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Elliot Denker, 17, a Snohomish High School student and a part-time employee at the Snohomish Library, shelves books. He has had the job for almost a year.

EVERETT-- Never mind the Google effect.
In a tight economy, more people are cutting back entertainment costs by checking out books and DVDs and turning to their public libraries for old fashioned help with job hunting.
"We've had a tremendous increase in reference questions," said Roxanna Pandya, assistant managing librarian at Sno-Isle Library's Lynnwood branch. "It's like the old days here when we were really, really busy."
Libraries nationally are seeing a surge in activity, even in areas that have dipped in recent years as more people used search engines like Google, and they're pointing to the deepening recession as a reason for the uptick.
In the 21-branch Sno-Isle library system in Snohomish and Island counties, checkouts of entertainment-oriented DVDs, excluding documentaries and educational programs, were up from about 1 million in 2007 to nearly 1.2 million in 2008.
While population growth and other factors, such as the proliferation of DVD players, are at play, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest increased library use is linked to the economic downturn. Everett, which runs a two-branch city system, also has seen more use.
Washington State Library recently surveyed library use in six categories at more than half of the state's public library systems.
It found an 11 percent jump in checkouts over a six-month period between June 2008 to November 2008, compared with the same period in the previous year.
Reference requests, which had actually seen modest declines earlier this decade, a likely result of increased home Internet access, were also up substantially.
So was the number of people who used library computers to search the Internet and the amount of time people spent using those computers.
Leonard Thompson of Arlington has no computer at home. Since October, he has frequently visited the Marysville Library to apply for jobs online.
In October, Thompson, 55, was laid off from his job in quality control for a wood-products company.
"I've got some college education and right now I can't find a flippin' job to save my life," he said. "It's pretty gnarly out there."
In Sultan, the library saw so many people unfamiliar with computers filling out online job and unemployment applications, it doubled the amount of time people can use the computer from one hour to two.
Rick Scott, 53, of Oak Harbor visited his library nearly every day for a year to search for an information technology job.
The retired sailor, who earned a bachelor's degree with honors from Chapman University in January 2008, after two decades in the U.S. Navy, said he was able to search online classified ads and use the Oak Harbor library's computers to dress up his resume.
In January, he found a job in his field at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Prior to that, he had to take a part-time job as a janitor to "keep the wolves away from the door."
"It took a lot of perseverance," Scott said. "But the equipment and the resources the library had made it possible to find a job."
Kate Mossman, assistant director at the Everett Public Library, said she's noticed more people browsing the magazine selection and more people taking advantage of a library database that allows cardholders to take practice entrance exams for graduate schools and civil service jobs.
Loretta Grippando, 56, of Everett, who recently used a computer at the Everett Public Library to work on a midterm project for a class she's taking at Everett Community College, said she isn't surprised by the new state survey.
"The computers are getting busier and busier," she said.

Reporter Bill Sheets contributed to this report.

Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or dchircop@heraldnet.com.


Library snapshot

Increases in library use from similar periods in 2007 and 2008:

Attendance: 7.5%
Circulation: 11.2%
Reference transactions: 4.4%
Public Internet computer users: 13.8%

More online: www.secstate.wa.gov/library

Source: Washington State Library

Story tags » Economy, Business & FinanceSno-Isle Libraries

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...
HeraldNet Classifieds