Your Local Library and eBooks

The local public library is often a backdrop for cherished memories for those of us in our “seasoned” years. Whether looking for books for school projects as kids or stopping by for a visit later in life, lots of us have spent countless hours in a library. Many still enjoy visiting a library and feel comfortable among the seemingly endless rows of bookshelves.

Libraries have changed a bit over our lifetimes. They still offer an extensive supply of reading materials, but advanced technologies have taken the local library far beyond anything we ever could have imagined as children. Walk into a public library today and you’ll find some sophisticated tools and resources that make the Dewey Decimal System and card catalog seem like ancient relics.

One of the technical advances that has really changed the library experience has been the emergence of the eBook and eReader. With the emergence of eBooks and eReaders, it became possible for library patrons to borrow library materials without leaving home.

“Borrowing” an eBook (an electronic version of a printed book) from the library is really quite simple. All you need is a way to access the Internet, your library card, usually a unique “pin” number that identifies you, and a device on which to download and read the eBook, such as an eReader, laptop, tablet, cell phone, or desktop computer.

Just visit your library’s website, log on to the library’s system with your library card number and pin number, browse the selection of eBooks available, make your selection, download the eBook, and start reading. If the process is different for your local library, library staff will be able to fill you in on the details of their system.

Most libraries have quite impressive collections of eBooks, but that doesn’t mean they have unlimited digital copies available to lend. As is the case when taking out a print book from the library, you may have to wait your turn if other folks have already checked out the eBook you’d like to borrow.

If you prefer or need to listen to audio books rather than reading text, most libraries also offer a selection of downloadable MP3 format books, which can also be downloaded from home and played on most computers and smart phones as well as on many eReaders.

There are many benefits to borrowing eBooks from your local public library. Here are a few.

A few benefits of eBooks…

  • eBooks can be borrowed and downloaded using your home computer or other devices with Internet access, which makes the process especially convenient if you find it difficult or impossible to travel to the library.

  • Numerous eBooks can be stored on just one device (eReader, computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.) so they don’t take up the physical space of the same number of printed books. Most libraries allow patrons to borrow quite a few eBooks at a time.

  • eReaders, tablets, and cell phones are lightweight so they’re easy to hold and/or transport, which is especially helpful for those of us with arthritis, pain issues, or other limitations.

  • eReaders provide the ability to adjust the size of text for those of us who prefer larger print. Background color can also be adjusted for better viewing. In addition, many eReaders have backlighting, which can be easier on the eyes.

  • eBooks are automatically returned to the library at the end of the loan perios. You don’t have to worry about watching the calendar for the return date or paying overdue fees.

  • Many libraries offer instructional classes on eBooks, including how to find, borrow, and download them.

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