“Wayfinder” connects Washington libraries’ millions of items


A new online program offered by the Washington State Library is allowing people to search for materials among nearly 18 million items found in 250-plus Washington libraries.

“Wayfinder” is an online catalog that provides a single search for locating materials owned by most of the libraries in Washington. The State Library’s goal is to eventually involve all of Washington’s libraries with Wayfinder.

Will Stuivenga, Wayfinder project manager for the State Library, said it will help Washington citizens use their library resources more effectively by providing links to local libraries that hold specific items found in a search.

“Wayfinder is a great tool because it will allow people to find any of the millions of items found in the libraries connected to this service,” Stuivenga said. “If you’re looking for a rare book, a magazine or a CD that isn’t available in your local library, Wayfinder can help you track down its location and help you figure out how to get that item into your hands.”

The catalog contains information on the collections of more than 250 public, academic, government, law, medical, corporate, special and tribal libraries throughout the state. Combined, these libraries hold more than 17.8 million items in various formats: books; newspapers, magazines and journals; movies; CDs; DVDs; digital objects such as electronic documents, subscription research databases, or historical items that have been scanned and made available on the Web; books in audio and large-print formats, and much more.

“If you’re a researcher or a student looking for a tough-to-find item, the Wayfinder catalog will be especially useful by helping you pinpoint where you can find it,” Stuivenga said.

To search Wayfinder, visit: http://wayfinder.worldcat.org. Several search scopes are available in Wayfinder, including by geographical region within the state and by type of library.

Wayfinder is a subset of the larger WorldCat library catalog search site. WorldCat has 1.4 billion holdings and more than 142 million unique bibliographic records. All of WorldCat can be searched from Wayfinder by choosing “Libraries Worldwide” from the pull-down menu where it says “Washington Libraries.” WorldCat can be searched directly by going to http://www.worldcat.org/.

To visit the State Library’s Wayfinder page, go to: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/quicklinks/Wayfinder. The link also provides information about Wayfinder that is geared toward librarians.

For more information about Wayfinder, contact Stuivenga at (360) 704-5217 or wstuivenga@secstate.wa.gov.