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E-Book Usage Skyrocketing at Whitefish Bay Library

With e-book usage quadrupling in the last year, the library board's incoming president says the library will look into new ways to introduce technology.

A growing number of patrons are setting down their paperback and hardcover books and downloading e-books from the library's downloadable media collection.

In a presentation to the Village Board Monday night, Library Director Linda Pierschalla said e-book usage has quadrupled since last year.

The Whitefish Bay library and other libraries in the Milwaukee County Federated Library system are among many systems across the state that are now offering e-books. Sara Gold, a purchasing librarian with Wisconsin Library Services, said 2012 will be a record year for e-books in Wisconsin.

Nationally, 67 percent of all libraries offer e-books, and 28 percent of libraries across the nation rent out e-readers to patrons, according to PaidContent.org.

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Recognizing the importance of technology, Whitefish Bay Library President Georgia Mavrinac — who recently replaced Lisa McGovern — said the library will continue to look for ways to integrate technology. Some possible examples include virtual checkouts and librarians assisting patrons in finding useful, credible information on the Internet.

"We're looking at how technology trends can and will serve our patrons in Whitefish Bay," Mavrinac said.

Library usage as a whole is high in Whitefish Bay. Almost 80 percent of residents have library cards, and circulation is up 60 percent over the last decade. In 2011, the library saw a record number of physical items checked out.

The library has also responded to patrons' requests for new and different programs, by offering options such as the summer reading program — which encourages patrons to read and review books by entering names into a prize contest — as well as book and film discussion groups and other exploratory programs ranging from drama to cuisine.

Youth programs have also doubled over the past 10 years, offering programs such as Buddies and Books, Young Adult Book Club and more.

The cost per resident for Whitefish Bay Library services is $51.26 per year.

It has been 75 years since the library was first started by the Whitefish Bay Women's Club, and in June, the library will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its new building. That celebration will be held on June 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in .

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