Advanced Search | Search A!:
Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2018

e-readers: The Wave of the Future

Several Sullivan County library locations have started checking out digital e-books. They are the size of a regular book but can contain several novels as requested by person checking out the device.
Several Sullivan County library locations have started checking out digital e-books. They are the size of a regular book but can contain several novels as requested by person checking out the device.

Library Keeping Pace with New Technology

By MAC McLEAN | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER | October 18, 2010

*** Published Monday, Oct. 11 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***

BLOUNTVILLE, TN — A local public library system has added a new device to its shelves of books, cassettes, compact discs, DVDs, magazines and newspapers e-readers that let people download books over the Internet and read them at home.

For the past week, the Sullivan County Public Library System has let its patrons check out a Nook e-reader so they can read one of the thousands of titles it has access to online.

"It's the wave of the future," system Director Theresa McMahan said Friday as she showed off one of the 12 e-readers her libraries keep on their shelves.

E-readers such as the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and the Sony Reader are hand-held devices about the size of a book that display text and images on a small computer screen similar to the way it would appear in a normal book.

The devices can display books, or e-books, that have been digitally converted to be visible on an e-reader's screen. Certain newspapers and magazines including the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report also make digital versions of their content for e-readers.

Library customers can check out the devices, which cost $250 each and come with a $50 case, for a 28-day period if their accounts are in good standing and they don't have overdue books or unpaid late fees.

McMahan said she's unsure if her library system is the first in Tennessee to offer e-readers, but they've been quite popular. So far, library users have taken out four of its 12 e-books.

And they can use these devices to download one of the many titles available through Tennessee's Regional eBook and Audiobook Download System, which serves every public library in the state, including the Bristol Public Library.

The system is one of hundreds of public library programs managed by the OverDrive Digital Library Reserve, company spokesman David Burleigh said in a Friday phone interview. The company provides digital books to 11,000 public libraries in 11 countries.

Burleigh said the library reserve maintains a database of 350,000 e-book and audiobook titles, but he wasn't sure how many can be accessed in Sullivan County because it varies from library to library.

He also wasn't sure whether other libraries that subscribe to his company's e-books database allow customers to check out e-readers.

"I'm glad to hear that they're starting to embrace the trend," said Burleigh, who congratulated the library system for trying to stay on the cutting edge.

McMahan said offering the e-readers is the latest step the county's library system has taken to keep up with new forms of technology and digital media.

"This is one of the things that we're trying to get the jump on," McMahan said. "People are going toward digital devices and we're just trying to keep up with that trend."

For the past few years, McMahan said, the library system has let its customers check out audiobooks that were available on mp3 players instead of CDs or audio cassettes.

The library also offers an Internet-based book club in which people get e-mailed the first few chapters of a book so they can decide whether they want to read the rest of the book.

A! ExtraTopics: Literature