November 24, 2011

Library to Add Downloadable Materials This Spring

With the growing popularity of electronic readers it was just a matter of time until public libraries grasped the technology. For the Scotland County memorial Library, that time will come in March 2012, when the facility will begin to offer downloadable books to be checked out for e-readers.

"There are so many more e-readers out there, now is a good time for a library of our size to make the move to begin offering content," said librarian Melissa Schuster. "A lot of people have been asking for this."

The SCML board recently agreed to enter a three year agreement with the Missouri Library Network Corporation (MLNC) as part of 32 libraries that will be contracting for the services through the Missouri Libraries 2 Go Consortium.

The MLNC Overdrive program will offer downloadable audiobooks in addition to eBooks to patrons of the member libraries. The libraries annual membership dues helped purchase a new shared digital collection.

Scotland County library patrons can browse the Missouri Libraries 2 Go website and check out titles with a valid SCML library card.

"Patrons will be allowed to check out up to three eBooks at a time, with a two-week checkout," said Schuster. "Three days prior to the due date, the patron will get an e-mail telling them it's time to return the selections."

The selections are compatible with a wide variety of eReaders, including the most popular brands such as Kindle.

"I think we have lost some patrons to eReaders, so hopefully this program will bring them back to the library," said Schuster.

The audiobooks are downloadable to a computer where they can be placed on an audio CD for replay, or they can be downloaded directly to a variety of MP3 players and other instruments.

The library's website will feature a link to the Missouri Libraries 2 Go Consortium beginning this spring when the service goes live sometime in late February or early March.

With an anticipated cost of $1,750 a year for the three-year contract, Schuster noted the library is seeking financial partners to help offset some of the costs.

"We're always looking for sponsors to help the library expand its offerings to the community," she stated.

The library has already expanded internet offerings via the website. Patrons are now able to renew materials on the website (as long as they are not overdue) as well as reserve books from their home computer.

"You just need to come into the library and establish a personal pin number to go with your membership card," Schuster stated.

The new service also allows patrons to check the status of their account and to view items they currently have checked out to refresh due dates. These improvements were part of a software upgrade undertaken by the library this summer.

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