Wyoming Libraries have historically worked collaboratively to bring the best possible library services to the residents of Wyoming. We are networked so that you can check out or return a book at any public library in the state, see statewide collections in the same online card catalog, or use a statewide database. Recently Campbell County Libraries strengthened partnership ties by combining our electronic collections with other Wyoming libraries to offer a statewide collection called the Wyoming Virtual Library. This statewide alliance of Wyoming’s libraries provides a collection of e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines, and e-comics/e-graphic novels—over 175,000 items—to Wyoming citizens.
This exciting partnership increases the variety and quantity of electronic books and audiobooks. The larger statewide collection has improved our local circulation from 3,800 items per month to 5,300 items per month, a 39% increase. While many prefer physical books—the sense of dimension, the location of words on a page, the heft and smell of the book—there are a growing number of people who are reading e-books, exclusively or occasionally. When it comes to e-audiobooks, however, there’s nothing but rave reviews. The e-audiobook format represents the highest growth in circulation for Campbell County Libraries, 77% in the last five years. This format is particularly popular for travelers and people who drive as part of their jobs. The e-audiobook format offers the convenience of listening to a book without changing disks, and the theatrical ability of the narrators and storytellers is engaging.
Combining statewide collections provides economies of scale in terms of purchasing e-books and e-audiobooks. The pricing model publishers set for libraries is cost prohibitive, particularly for rural libraries. Pricing models such as “metered access” requires access to expire in one or two years, or after the book has been checked out 26 or 52 times. For example, an e-book that costs $27 for one year’s access may only be read three times before the year is up, thereby costing $9 per circulation. By joining the Wyoming Virtual Library and increasing readership, the e-book is likely to be read 26 times, bringing the cost per circulation down to $1.04.
Another benefit of the partnership is the addition of e-magazines and the trendy new collection of e-comic books and e-graphic novels. The magazine collection includes popular titles, special interest titles and back issues wherever available. The comic book and graphic novel collection includes manga. This collection reaches reluctant readers but also appeals to all ages.
Even though electronic collections are shared statewide, we cater to local interests. In Campbell County, we are committed to adding requested items to the collection and to reducing and eliminating wait times for checking out e-books and e-audiobooks. If you haven’t experienced the Wyoming Virtual Library, we invite you to try it out. All you need is your library card. Drop by your library and we’ll help you set up an account, download the Libby app, or use your Kindle to access the collection.