The Utah State Library develops, leads, and delivers exceptional library services, while optimizing Utah’s investment in libraries. The Utah State Library provides funding, training, professional expertise and technical advice to library directors, library staff, and trustees across Utah. Through Grants, Interlibrary Loan program, Bookmobiles, Utah’s Online Library and services for the Blind and Disabled, the division ensures access to library materials and state publications for all Utahns. In FY20 the love of reading by Utah residents maintained the state’s top-ranking for the number of children’s books checked out per capita. Digital readership also thrived, as the state had more than two million and growing downloads of electronic books.
Programs run by the Utah State Library serve people statewide. Even those living in the most remote corners can download digital materials through Utah’s Online Library or simply browse in a Bookmobile, find inspiration through the youth reading programs, and even review state publications. The State Library also serves Utah's 2,200 libraries, which includes academic, school, and tribal libraries as well as public libraries by offering grants, training, networking, and certification opportunities.
"[The book club for inmates] keeps my interest in life and I am learning to move forward." — Inmate at Wasatch County Jail
What a remarkable year, brimming with both challenges and opportunities. The public, school, and academic libraries all shuttered their doors due to Covid-19, and then the vast majority reopened in one way or another. Everyone was charged with figuring out how to reopen in both healthy and safe ways. What is amazing is that even in this COVID-19 pandemic, and an earthquake resulting in a flood in the (USL) Utah State Library stacks, progress at USL has not stopped, nor has it stopped the Utah libraries. Sure, there have been substantial slowdowns and speed bumps, but we’ve learned a lot and we’re moving forward.
In this time of crisis, the USL Blind and Disabled program has not missed a beat. Some staff stayed in the building and continued to serve patrons in 23 states - they even filled requests for books from patrons in states we don’t typically serve. USL employees in the Development and Resource programs have worked more than efficiently from home. In the meantime, Utah libraries have worked with USL to arrange Cabin Fever Storytelling daily, and to provide curbside lending. Libraries around the state are beginning to reopen now, slowly and cautiously. So, hats off to my staff and library associates! As you can see from the following 2020 Annual Report, we have all been very busy. Thanks for the generous support from our Department of Heritage and Arts, and from communities and leaders throughout the state.
Reading for the Blind
- Staff of USL’s Blind Library Program remained working onsite during the COVID-19 pandemic and earthquake, taking book orders and shipping reading materials to our patrons. This continuance of service received recognition from Gov. Gary Herbert in a wonderful letter of gratitude, now framed and displayed in the USL board room.
- The Multistate Center West (MSCW) was able to fulfill Interlibrary Loan orders and ship reading materials to patrons of regional libraries serving the blind and disabled that were closed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These libraries are usually served by the Multistate Center East, which also closed for several months due to the pandemic. Patrons and libraries responded with gratitude and accolades for the great service provided by MSCW during difficult times.
- USL is one of four libraries in the country involved in the first phase of the e-reader pilot, testing a device made by HumanWare. The e-reader is designed for reading electronic braille files. The e-reader itself is a compact and portable device that reads braille files via a 20 cell refreshable braille display. Part of the pilot is to discover the best access for users, whether the user downloads braille files from an online database, or the library provides the braille files on media that is plugged into the device. In addition to internal and external memory capabilities, the e-reader is able to connect via wifi to the BARD audio and braille site to download books. The e-reader is also bluetooth enabled, to connect to a smartphone or tablet to read files via the BARD app.
- The organization of the Beehive Library Consortium shifted OverDrive from being a State Library led and funded resource to a member-library led and funded resource, which dramatically improved the resources' long-term sustainability, while at the same time, will end up saving the State Library more than $200,000 per year.
- Added 20,287 new users to the Beehive Library Consortium's OverDrive in the first 4 months of the pandemic, a 95% increase from the previous 4 months.
- In FY2020, the State Library signed a 5 year contract with Creativebug, an online learning platform containing high-quality, on-trend arts and crafts instructional videos. Included are award-winning HD instructional videos on drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting, jewelry making, baking, crafts for kids, and more.
- The Digital Services team has added 4,180 new publications to the Utah Government Digital Library in FY20, totaling more than 86,000 state documents made accessible to Utah residents.
- The Book Buzz program expanded its collection and reach by partnering with two outside organizations, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and Division of State History, to add and distribute more than 30 new titles dealing with a variety of health related topics and issues and local archaeological content respectively.
- New websites were launched for the Bookmobile Program and Utah’s Online Public Library.
- The Utah State Library Division received $289,686.00 in CARES funds to address digital inclusion and other efforts to respond to COVID-19. These funds paid for improved access to wireless connections in rural and tribal communities, digital inclusion efforts, and PPE for libraries and their staff.
- Mini-grants provided $100 or $400 for 24 libraries to expand their network into their outdoor spaces to maintain connectivity while public buildings are closed.
- The Utah State Library granted $1.3 million to 59 public libraries, 61 libraries and a professional organization.
- The State Library created materials for public and tribal libraries to engage patrons in the 2020 Census. A mini-grant helped public and tribal libraries purchase resources to support their community in responding to the Census.
- The State Library awarded Virtual Reality headsets, Augmented Reality cubes, funds to purchase apps, as well as a day of training, to five rural school libraries and five rural public libraries.
- State Library provided books and Better Days 2020 merchandise, such as bookmarks, trading cards and pencils, for a display at 10 Utah libraries.
- From March to May 2020, the State Library hosted Cabin Fever virtual story times from Utah libraries to patrons through USL’s Facebook page. Cabin Fever received over 40,000 views.
- All bookmobiles closed beginning in March, but offered curbside services and delivery.
The Utah State Library measures its performance to gauge the engagement by the public with its library services, as well as the impact of the professional development and training opportunities provided to librarians.
Number of online and in-person training hours provided annually. GOAL: 11,700 hours
Total Blind and Disabled circulation annually. GOAL: 328,900
Total Bookmobile circulation annually. GOAL: 413,000
Digital downloads from Utah’s Online Library annually. GOAL: 1.3 million
Blind & Disabled
The Program for the Blind and Disabled provides library services and braille, audio, and large print reading materials to blind, visually and print impaired, and physically disabled individuals in Utah. The program also brailles and records materials of local and regional interest, or materials written by local and regional authors. The program partners with the Utah Department of Corrections to utilize inmates to produce these audio materials. In addition to serving Utah patrons, State Library contracts with 21 states nationwide to circulate braille materials. The braille collection is the largest in the world. The State Library contracts with the Library of Congress, National Library Service to house the Multistate Center West.
The Library Development Program supports library services throughout Utah. The specific focus is on public library services provided by Utah’s cities and counties. Program consultants are experienced professional librarians who work directly with the staff and boards of established, new, and emerging libraries to meet quality standards in all areas of library operations. The program administers and coordinates federal and privately funded statewide grants to all types of libraries in Utah.
The Bookmobile Program provides cooperative development of local public library services. Bookmobile service is funded primarily by county governments and partially by state funds. The Utah State Library provides administrative and organizational support needed for basic library services for each entity with which there is a Memorandum of Understanding. Throughout the state in FY19, there were eight trucks serving 10 counties. One librarian and one technician work as a team to prepare and provide service from each truck. A fixed-site headquarters also serves local community users. The Bookmobile Program plays an integral role in rural Utah and has been in service since 1947.
The Library Resources Program delivers magazines, newspapers, business resources, and downloadable e-audio books to Utah residents and support services to Utah’s libraries. The program facilitates inter-library loan to many of the smaller libraries around the state and administers the state's Book Buzz program, which is a service that provides book sets to book clubs and groups around the state. Library Resources also partners with the Utah Education Network and Utah’s Academic Libraries to provide additional resources and has cooperation agreements with State Archives, the State Law Library, the Department of Transportation, State History, and Administrative Rules.