Libraries adapting to give patrons new access to information

World news at Coronation Library
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Coronation Library Manager Margo McPhail demonstrates PressDisplay, a new service available to library patrons

Residents of Coronation now have a unique way to access news from around the world thanks to a grant by the Alberta Government.

Patrons of the Coronation Memorial Library now have access to PressDisplay, a web-based news portal that offers instant access to complete digital copies of newspapers and magazines from around the world.

Margo McPhail, manager of the Coronation library says that the service is part of how today’s libraries are adapting to give their patrons access to information outside of traditional paper books.

“The way of the world is going to less paper and more content online,” she said.

McPhail was on hand to demonstrate the service at the Coronation Library on Tuesday, January 15. A few clicks of the mouse delivered that day’s edition of the Manila Times, a daily English-language newspaper from the Philippines.

Residents now have access to 1,900 publications from 93 countries in 43 languages, updated as soon as the print versions are published. The newspapers are presented in a zoomable PDF format tha

t looks and responds like a physical newspaper. PressDisplay also features an interactive table of contents and has the ability to translate foreign-language newspapers into English.

According to McPhail, the opportunities this service offers to town residents is exciting.

She said that the service is especially valuable to Coronation residents who come from outside of Canada. She remarked that her assistant, who is from Japan, enjoys spending her free time on the service reading newspapers from back home.

In addition to its worldwide content, the service features access to nearly 300 daily and weekly Canadian newspapers.

A two-year license that allows the library access to PressDisplay costs $310,000. The cost of the license is provided by The Alberta Library consortium through the provincial government.

The service is available to card-holding library patrons, either through terminals at the library or at home via the internet.

“The service gives you the ability to be current with what happens anywhere,” McPhail said. She added that programs such as this give smaller libraries access to resources that were once only

 

available to libraries in the largest cities.

“It’s not just a case of what we have here,” she said. “It’s everywhere.”

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