TERRE HAUTE —
By Brian M. Boyce
With the click of a portable device, the Vigo County Public Library becomes open 24 hours a day.
Library officials excitedly showed off 40 new eBook readers now available for lending to patrons. Since making their debut last week, 20 Amazon Kindles and 20 Barnes & Noble Nooks have already circulated in and out of the brick-and-mortar facility, Jeff Trinkle noted Thursday.
Trinkle, library information and public services coordinator, said each device is loaded with up to 25 titles.
“They’ll remain static for a while, and then you can refresh them,” he said, explaining the library will determine the frequency of title changes once circulation patterns are better established.
Bonnie McNair, information and technology services manager, said the devices were paid for with a $9,981 grant obtained through the Library Services Technology Act of 1999, the goal of which is to increase technology available in libraries.
The devices are available for check-out and come in a plastic, zipped bag. Instructions and a charger are included. McNair said the library also offers training.
The e-readers offer large-print and text-to-audio features, which are well-suited for patrons with vision problems, Trinkle said.
Demand for downloadable resources at the library has exploded in recent years, according to McNair. In 2007, 1,991 items were checked out; the number jumped to 6,224 by 2008. In 2010, 42,810 items were checked out, and that number was surpassed by this July.
The Vigo library is a founding member of an 11-library consortium, Indiana Digital Media, which shares titles and resources, she said. Collectively, the group offers more than 20,000 items for borrowing.
“I’d say we probably have the biggest collection in the state, if not the Midwest,” Trinkle said, pointing out the assorted titles represent a wide variety of items.
Titles ranging from Stephen King’s “Mile 81” to “The Going to Bed Book - Boynton” are available, with a number of children’s titles that feature reader participation.
Some authors are releasing books solely in electronic versions now, but both Trinkle and McNair said they’re far from frightened by technology.
“There will always be books,” McNair said. “We would only be worried if the discussion was about not reading anymore.”
Eventually, patrons will be able to borrow the devices and download their own titles, Trinkle said, adding a waiting-list has already formed for the devices.
“Our virtual branch is available 24/7,” he said, explaining that feature at www.vigo.lib.in.us has been available since 2006, although at its onset, it was primarily used for audio books.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.