In this technological age, even our books seem to be moving online. Knowing this, the is getting with the times in a big way by allowing patrons to check out one of the library’s three Amazon Kindle eReaders.
Maryellen Liddy, the teen librarian at Kinnelon Public Library, said the library’s interest in acquiring a Kindle began about 18 months ago, when Morris County began offering eBooks to library patrons for free. Soon thereafter, Liddy inquired about funding so the library could get in on the action.
“Last year, we asked the Center for Lifelong Learning and the Friends of the Library group, since we can ask for specific funding requests,” said Liddy. “I asked them if I can get a Kindle and if they would pay for enough downloads to do one year’s worth of circulation.”
The library began circulating its Kindle readers in June and now has three in circulation, allowing patrons to read just about anything in an electronic format.
“It’s been very popular; the people get to pick whatever book they want,” said Liddy. “It can be anything, as long as it’s available in Kindle format on Amazon. We’ve had people pick non-fiction books, bestsellers and some obscure things.”
Readers of all ages can use the library’s Kindles. Liddy herself makes sure to keep one aside exclusively for the teenage patrons of the library.
“For the teenagers, either mom or dad has to sign it out,” said Liddy. “If they can’t find anybody, I’ll sign the papers for them. I’ll take responsibility for it.”
All around, it’s a good deal for the residents of Kinnelon, as long as waiting isn’t a problem, Liddy said. Liddy said that there is a long waiting list because of the limited number of Kindles at the library, coupled with a high demand for the devices.
“The list is about 25 people and the people that I’m giving it to now probably put their names on it in early November,” said Liddy. “People are generally OK with waiting. I think, mostly, they kind of want to just try it out and see if it’s something that they want to do.”
While print books are certainly still popular at the library and in general, one thing is certain: the industry’s movement toward the electronic age is inevitable, meaning that demand and popularity of eReaders should only increase with time.
“Some people prefer print books, and some people prefer electronic format, so it’s important to be able to reach your patrons with whatever they’re most comfortable with,” said Liddy. “I think, as people migrate toward electronic form, everyone should be aware of it and have those options available. This definitely is a trend going forward.”