Librarian Adrienne Wass turns on a Kobe eReader

Library gets tech savvy

eReaders for loan

  • Wed Aug 24th, 2011 6:00am
  • Life

The Sooke Library has just gotten a whole lot more tech saavy with the addition of Kobo eReaders to its collection.

The devices, that allow users to download and read electronic versions of books (ebooks) on a portable screen, were made available for borrowing last week and all three were snapped up within a couple days, said librarian Adrienne Wass.

“A lot of (people) want to try an eReader out before making the decision to purchase one, and there are some people that also don’t have the means to purchase their own. But yeah, it’s just responding to the community’s needs, and they’ve been evolving,” said Wass.

A total of 90 Kobos were made available to 38 Vancouver Island Regional Library branches, that service areas throughout Vancouver Island and surrounding islands. Greater Victoria has its own system.

Checking out an eReader is just like checking out a book or DVD, except you need to have an adult library card in good standing. You can borrow it for a three-week period, and also put your name on a wait list if they’re all being used. It includes everything you need like a help guide and a USB computer cable to transfer files and charge the device.

“It comes preloaded with approximately 100 books, classics, even if people don’t want to bother downloading books.”

For those who are so inclined, other ebooks and related resources are available on the library website (http://virl.bc.ca/elibrary/ebooks). You need access to a computer to be able to install the required free software found on the Library to Go site, but once that’s done downloading an ebook to your device takes seconds, she said.

Up to five electronic titles can be “signed out” at a time, just like their print counterparts. You can also put up to five holds on popular ebooks. The nice thing about it is though, you don’t have run to the library on the day they’re due.

“There’s no overdue fines because when the time comes up they just expire. They disappear from your computer or your eReader so you don’t have to worry about late charges.”

Not all books in print form are available as ebooks, however. There are also limited numbers of titles because of licensing issues. That said, a vast collection for all ages can be found in the online database.

Users are responsible for looking after the equipment, and the replacement cost for damaged or lost eReaders is $130.

“We ask people to help keep these items safe. We ask that they return them to the branch rather than through the drop slot so that’s a little different, but most people understand it’ an electronic device and so they’re going to handle it with some care.”

If you need some assistance with using the hardware or software, you can call Wass at the library at 250-642-3022.

“We’ll be offering some eReader workshops in the fall, just to help people get used to using eReaders. And there’s definitely a need for it because people are coming in and asking.”