The Washington Times-Herald

April 3, 2012

Carnegie Library now has eBooks

Special to TH
Washington Times-Herald

WASHINGTON — Looking for an eBook to download and read? The library can help you with that.

Don’t have an eReader or compatible device of your own? The library can help you with that now, too.

Last October, the Washington Carnegie Public Library received a grant from the Daviess County Community Foundation to increase the titles in its eBook collection and to purchase eReaders  to loan to library cardholders, as part of a library’s digital book program.

“May 2012 will mark our first complete year lending eBooks as part of the Indiana Digital Download Center powered by OverDrive.  When registered last May, the consortium consisted of 23 public libraries and now there are 36 public libraries strong,” said library Director Teresa Heidenreich.  

What this means to the public is that 36 libraries share a catalog of over 8,000 eBook selections and that number is continually rising.

The four readers totaled $600 and were paid for with grant money. The library staff discussed which eReaders to purchase and decided upon the Nook Simple Touch and the Nook Color, both products of Barnes & Noble.  

“We chose the Nook because they are  dependable products and offer easy functionality. Barnes & Noble offers face-to-face customer support at any of their locations and this was a huge selling factor to us. In addition, the Evansville store has been kind in traveling to Washington to present free eReader demonstrations to the public,” said Rick Chambon, programming manager.

Other well-known models on the market include the Kindle by Amazon and the Sony Reader.

When patrons check out a Nook, they are also given the device’s power cord and a carrying bag. If the Nook is lost or damaged, or if the power cord is missing, the patron will have to pay a fine up to and including the current replacement cost. Users are also forbidden from trying to download other content onto the devices.

The use is restricted to WCPL cardholders aged 18 and up who have held a library card for at least 3 months and have an account in good standing.

The Nook may be loaned out for a 14-day period with no renewals, and the overdue fine is $5 per day. Patrons will select three titles from the eBook catalog and a staff member will download the selections onto the device.

In 2010, Library Journal and School Library Journal conducted a survey about eBook use among public and school libraries in the United States. Of the 781 libraries that were surveyed, about 72 percent of them offered downloadable eBooks to patrons.

A small number of those libraries, 5 percent, also offered pre-loaded eBook readers for checkout. Ebook use makes up a fairly small percentage of WCPL’s total circulation, although the number check outs have increased 150 percent since December 2011.  

The program’s success will also determine whether the library will look into buying additional eReaders, either Nooks or other models.

“We look forward to continuing our progressive outlook in providing the materials and services desired by the library patrons in our community and we want to thank the community foundation for their support of our efforts,” said Heidenreich.

--- Special to TH