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New library app not meant to replace new library plans

The West Fargo Public Library now offers Hoopla, an app that allows people to stream digital content to their computers and mobile devices. Photo special to the Pioneer

The West Fargo Public Library has introduced some innovative ways to get patrons to use the library this year.

A book-vending machine was launched two weeks ago, and last week the library introduced an application that allows people to stream digital content to their computers and mobile devices.

The new innovations are not an attempt to stifle future plans to build a new library.

“As far as what we’re doing with the new things that are going on over there, that’s just in an effort to try to take care of our customer base,” said City Commissioner Duane Hanson, who is the commission’s liaison to the library board of directors. “That’s got nothing to do with if we’re going to build a new library.”

West Fargo Library Director Sandra Hannahs told the City Commission in August that a new $15 million facility is needed, but her recommendation wasn’t met with much enthusiasm from the commission. There have been no formal requests by the library board for the city to consider plans for a new library.

Hannahs told the Pioneer last year that the library was eyeing a 2.56-acre site at 550 13th Ave. E. that is for sale for $1.35 million.

A 13,190-square-foot clinic is on the site, but the building could be remodeled and added to if the commission decides to consider buying the land for the library, Hannahs said at the time.

“There’s some discussion going on internally with the library board, but there’s really been no decision as to whether they’re going to take that to the next level, which is up to the City Commission,” Hanson said.

A way to add more services

Hannahs said the new innovations, including the app created by Hoopla Digital that was unveiled Feb. 22, are not meant to take people away from the library.

“These products represent the library’s commitment to providing new resources and adapting our services to meet the changing needs and desires of our patrons,” she said. “While audio-visual products have long been very popular with our patrons, formats have shifted over time from cassette recordings and VHS tapes to CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. Digital streaming and downloads represent an additional step in the technological evolution of A/V formats.”

Hannahs doesn’t foresee the app doing away with the idea behind a library.

“Despite the growing popularity of digital resources, their use currently represents about 10 to 15 percent of our circulation,” she said. “Many people – including digital natives – prefer the physical items; not everything is available in digital format.”

“In any case, the library is much more than its collection,” she said. “It’s a gathering place, a place to learn, a place to ask questions, a place to be part of the community. It offers events, arts, technology, history and much more.”

How Hoopla works

The Hoopla Digital app allows people with a West Fargo Public Library card to rent out select content, including audiobooks, e-books, comics and graphic novels that can be checked out for 21 days; music that can be checked out for seven days; and movies and TV shows that can be checked out for three days. Patrons can check out up to 10 items per month from the Hoopla Digital service. The items are automatically returned once the checkout time is over.

“We try to offer our patrons the best possible selection of resources in a format that they want,” Hannahs said. “Hoopla will vastly increase the selection of online resources available to our patrons.”

For more information or to get a library card, visit the West Fargo Public Library at 109 3rd St. E., go online to www.westfargolibrary.org or call (701) 433-5460.

Josh Francis

Josh is a general assignment reporter for The Forum and the sports reporter for the West Fargo Pioneer. Josh previously interned as a reporter for the Reading Eagle in Reading, Penn. and worked as a freelance reporter for the Orange County Register in California. He welcomes story ideas via email or phone. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to letters@forumcomm.com.

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