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Library circulates e-readers

Twelve Kindles are available for two-week loan period
Laura Walz

Powell River Public Library patrons have an opportunity to try out reading on new technology. The library is circulating 12 Kindles with pre-loaded titles it has purchased.

“There has been a lot of interest in e-readers here,” said Jomichele Seidl, assistant chief librarian. “This is our way of responding to that interest in the community, so people can get their hands on them and try them.”

Each Kindle has up to 75 titles and the devices are categorized by genre. Some have non-fiction titles, such as biographies, while others will have fiction, teen literature, mystery and science fiction. “When you check it out, you’re guaranteed there will be something on there that is of interest to you,” said Seidl.

The Kindles are being circulated as part of a pilot project. They are available starting today, June 29. Patrons will be able to put a hold on one once they are all in circulation, Seidl said, including through the library’s website.

One of the features she thinks will be popular is the ability to adjust the size of the text, Seidl said. “If you can buy the book you can make it into a font that you can read,” she said. “That’s going to be of lasting interest to people who have vision problems.”

The publication of large type books is limited, Seidl explained. “It’s very much best sellers. If you want to read anything that’s off the beaten track, you’re really kind of hooped.”

Seidl researched how other libraries handled e-readers and gleaned best practices. She developed a policy that reflects the library’s practices and values. “We’re treating them just like any other library item,” she said. “There are no deposits or special restrictions.”

The Kindles are being treated like a new book, which has a two-week loan period. Seidl said she recognizes it probably isn’t long enough, given the average of 75 titles on each device. “If the response is what we predict, there will be massive lineups for them,” she said. “Just to be able to keep the queue moving, we’re going to do two-week loans.”

The library chose to purchase Kindles because they are easy to use, Seidl said, and licensing through Amazon is generous. “They let you purchase one book and put it on six devices. There are cost savings to us there.”

Library staff have been trying out the Kindles, Seidl said, and so far the reviews are positive. “What they’re telling me is, once you get into a good book, you forget that you’re not using a paper book. It just becomes invisible.”

If something happens to the device, patrons will have to reimburse the library for it. Kindles cost about $150. Patrons will be able to download other titles onto the device if they wish, but they will have to pay for them and after the Kindle is returned, the library will own the title.

After six months, the library will evaluate the pilot project and determine if any adjustments need to be made to the policy.

The library is holding a free presentation and discussion about using e-books, e-readers and Overdrive, the library’s resource for downloadable materials, at 7 pm on Thursday, July 7 at the library, 4411 Michigan Avenue.

For more information, interested readers can contact Seidl at 604.485.8664 or by email to jseidl@powellriverlibrary.ca.

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