For all you technophiles out there, there is something new and exciting at the County Library and it’s absolutely free of charge.
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We’re talking about eBooks and Audiobooks of course.
Now you can download your favorite science fiction thriller, mystery novel, tech manual, or cookbook to your phone, computer, or reading device.
The new “e” program began in December of 2010 and is the result of a collaboration between El Dorado County and 26 other libraries. Since individually they couldn’t afford the $20,000 it would have cost to buy the software platform, as a group they wrote a grant that covered their start-up costs.
Now all 27 libraries share the materials as well as the annual cost of buying eBooks and downloadable Audiobooks. As of the end of January they had purchased almost 2,900 eBooks and Audiobooks. However, El Dorado County also buys additional eBooks and Audiobooks separately for its patrons.
To access the eBooks from an electronic device, patrons need only go to the El Dorado County Website and log in. Then hit the search function. You need a library card to actually download an available book but you can get a temporary one online that is good for two weeks. After that you will have to go to the library for a permanent one. But as always, the library card is free.
Patrons do have to own their own reading device to use the “e” materials. The most common ones are Kindle, Nook, and iPad. But people can also download eBooks and Audiobooks to their cell phones, iPods, or computers.
One immediate advantage of “e” materials is there are never any late fees because you only get 14 days to read them and once your time is up you no longer have access to them.
To help library patrons use the new system, Computer Technician Deborah Raiche is available to meet with people on an individual basis. However you do need to call first and set up an appointment. With certain readers, like Kindle, the software is already installed. But other readers need the software downloaded first and Raiche helps clients do that as well as show them how to search and download the “e” materials.
“It will be interesting to see how we adapt to eBooks,” said Library Director Jeanne Amos. “Kids can learn to read over a computer but they won’t learn to love reading without a book in their hands.”
Right now the county library circulates about 890,000 items a year countywide. Of those items, about 8,000, or 1 percent, are eBooks and Audiobooks.
“Some people think eBooks will be the downfall of the library,” Amos said. “But it just opens the eyes of more people that they can get books for free at the library. We are getting a different demographic with eBooks. A new group of people are coming to the library because of them.”