April 2017

The 21st Century Library Never Sleeps

I love it when patrons come in and talk shop about a new book or author they have recently discovered. As a bonafide book geek this is the fun part of my job and I have lists and lists of books on my MUST READ agenda that I am slowly checking off. Recently a patron visited the library and shared with me that he had finally broken down and checked out an electronic audiobook from our Camellia Net collection, and that he was hooked. It had been 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, prime reading time in my opinion, and he found himself fresh out of something to read. A quick visit to www.spanishfortpubliclibrary.org and a click on the resources tab, and within moments, he was browsing Camellia Net, our collection of electronic books and electronic audiobooks. Once there he was able to find an author and title to his liking, and just moments later, was listening to his new book, all without leaving the comfort of his recliner.

This is the beauty of the 21st century library. While our library roots are grounded in the traditional and physical, the 24/7 ease of accessibility to library materials is a new found freedom, that for many, can still be a bit surprising, yet addicting, once you discover them. These features are especially handy when the library is closed or in the extreme event that the library has to shut down due to unforeseen circumstances, as in our mishap, that took place on Monday, February 13th, 2017. Thank you for your patience as we work to get the library computer lab and children’s area back to full working status. Thankfully no books were damaged and the library was only closed down a day and a half during the entire ordeal.

This month I would like to remind you about the growing collection of electronic materials available to you simply by having a Spanish Fort Public Library card. These resources are all free and available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

  • OverDrive, also known in Alabama as Camellia Net, provides access to ebooks/eaudiobooks and even a growing number of streaming video. This collection is shared with all participating libraries across the state of Alabama. Materials are checked out to a patron electronically, and just like a physical item, only one patron can access the item at a time. Ways a patron can access the electronic item include via your personal computer or through the OverDrive app which can be accessed on most tablets and smartphones. Ebooks can be accessed through both the Nook and Kindle and are also available through the Kindle app on a smartphone.
  • Chilton Library offers an easy-to-use auto-repair resource for do-it-yourselfers, and is now available to you from Alabama Public Library Service with federal funds issued by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Chilton Library provides quick online access to repair, maintenance, and service information on seven decades of the broadest range of vehicles available, including cars, trucks, vans and SUVs.
  • Learning Express Library can be used to take practice tests for GED, ACT, citizenship, nursing, police officer, firefighter and EMT just to name a few. Create an account and track your progress. Learning Express has more than 1,000 practice tests and skills tutorials for elementary school through adult learners. Creating an account is NOT required, but a Learning Express profile will record your test scores, track progress and provide recommendations for improvement.
  • Alabama Virtual Library provides all students, teachers, and citizens of the State of Alabama with online access to essential library and information resources. It is primarily a group of online databases that have magazine, journal, and newspaper articles for research. Through the AVL, an equitable core of information sources is available to every student and citizen in Alabama, raising the level of excellence in schools and communities across the state. If you enjoy the benefits that AVL brings to your school, college, library or home, please take a few minutes to thank your local legislators for providing this resource for the State of Alabama.
  • Homework Alabama provides free online tutoring, job search assistance and academic & career resources.

The 21st century library never sleeps. Libraries serve double duty. On one side, the library is a destination and community space, while the other side is 24/7 accessibility to library resources. The library is community space, place and programs, physical books and good old fashioned face to face interaction, while at the same time providing accessibility to resources, information, electronic books and electronic audiobooks and social media fun from anywhere in the world. In both cases, whether here in the physical, or virtually, it is important to remember that each experience is personal to the user’s needs at that exact moment. Spanish Fort Public Library is a 21st century library because it offers our community both options, the physical and the virtual. We hope you will explore all the options available to you. If you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach us by calling 251-410-READ (7323) during regular library hours or visit our website www.spanishfortpubliclibrary.org for more information.

We look forward to seeing you in April. Keep in mind that public libraries around the country will be celebrating, “National Library Week” April 9th through April 15th, with the theme, Libraries Transform. National Library Week is observed each year in April, generally the second full week, and has been celebrated since 1958. April is also National Poetry month. Information about The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress can be found at https://loc.gov/poetry/laureate.html.

Don’t forget our new extended library hours that have been in place since February of this year.

  • Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Stay curious out there Spanish Fort and meanwhile, see you at the library!


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