5 Oct 2011

Libraries in the Digital Age

Author: Jennifer Clark | Filed under: Local stories, Student Contributor

Kindle leaning on a stack of books. Source: Amazon.com

Sarah wanted to take her favorite library books along on a cross-country trip to visit family, but didn’t have enough room to pack them.  So she took her iPad to the library and got her books to-go – digitally.

This is an account Librarian Mary Boone gave to demonstrate how one of her regular library patrons is utilizing the library’s eBook lending system.

The Wood County Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio has been offering eBooks for about six years.  Patrons just need a library card and a way to read the books on a computer, an eReader device, or a mobile eReader app.

Books can be downloaded in PDF or EPUB format for use on eBook compatible computers and reading devices such as Nook, eBook tablets, iPads, and recently Kindle.  People with iPhones and other smart phones can download an app or program that will allow eBooks to be loaned on that device.

Boone explained that a patron would visit the library’s website, go to the catalogue and click on the  iDownloads tab.  They will be redirected to an inter-library loan system, the SEO Library Consortium Digital Catalogue and Download Center. They search for a book, and if the title is available, it can be checked out with a library card and is transferred wirelessly to the person’s desired reading device.

It’s very handy, said Boone; eBooks are “one more tool to make it easy for people to read things they want to read.”

The SEO program that the Wood County Library uses is a compilation of eBook collections that is shared with a number of other libraries, Boone said, so they collectively have access to quite a large collection.

According to an OverDrive press release featured in No Shelf Required, a blog about eBooks, there are 400 thousand copyrighted eBook, audiobook, music and video titles available to libraries through OverDrive, which powers digital catalogues such as the  SEO program.

Boone said there are many people who still prefer a physical book, but eBooks are gaining popularity. The library’s program “offers the ability to use the library 24/7, so people don’t have to come to the physical building to get material.”

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