Library patrons can now borrow books from the library whenever and wherever they want.
Thanks to a donation from The Friends of the Hall County Library, the system now offers e-books for patrons to check out and download onto their personal e-readers through its website.
“We could not have purchased any of this without the Friends of the Library. This is their baby and they are sponsoring this program. Our program would not sustain a new program like this without them supporting it financially,” Assistant Director Lisa MacKinney said.
To check out an e-book, patrons with a library card in good standing can visit the library’s website, click on the link for the webrary and browse the selection of titles on the Axis 360 Magic Wall.
The Magic Wall allows patrons to browse books by subject or select a title from the most popular or hidden gems lists. With around 75 books, the selection is still limited but MacKinney said there is something for everyone.
“It is a small start-up collection and we will continue to add to it but right now we’ve only placed one order for e-books so the selection is still kind of small,” MacKinney said.
The system will download books to most e-readers including iPads, Nooks, Kindle Fires, Windows tablets, Sony Readers, Android and Kobo devices. Most patrons will need to install Blio, a free app, on their device to download books.
Once a book has been downloaded, patrons can access their reading material through the app from any e-reader, smartphone or computer. Patrons can use a personal device or one they borrowed from the library interchangeably to access e-books.
Jarvis Sims, head of IT for the system, said the new e-book lending program is an improvement over the previous service. That system only offered classic titles in a digital format.
“It’s much better than what we had. It’s 10 times better than what we had. The fact that it will actually let you check (books) out and then go to any device with the app — I think that’s a plus,” Sims said.
MacKinney said patrons have been requesting downloadable books for years and expects the program to be very popular.
An e-book can be checked out for a maximum of 14 days and can’t be returned before the time period has expired. However, patrons have the option to reduce the amount of time they would like to keep the book at the time they check it out. Patrons are limited to check out two e-books at a time and can place e-books on hold.
Just like with real books, if there is only one digital copy of a book on the shelf, only one person can check the book out at a time.