Library expands eBook titles

The Okanagan Regional Library has added more than 1,400 new titles to its digital book collection free to all library members in the region.

With the ever-increasing interest and demand in eBooks, the Okanagan Regional Library has added more than 1,400 new titles to its digital book collection free to all library members in the region.

The ORL had been part of a consortium of B.C. libraries that shared in a collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks called Library to Go, but changes to the software distributor’s contract required the library to start its own collection called ORL eBooks.

Access to both collections of digital books can be found on the ORL’s homepage www.orl.bc.ca by clicking on the Library to Go or ORL eBooks buttons.

The new ORL eBooks collection includes 1,380 titles of digital eBooks that can be read on compatible computers, eReader devices, and mobile smartphones, and 47 eAudiobooks that can be listened to through an mp3 player.

New content is being added each week. Since the service went live a month ago, members in the ORL region have already checked out items over 2,000 times.

“We’re really starting to see that shift to our members using digital content, especially a spike after the holidays when many people get eReaders as presents,” said Lesley Dieno, executive director of the regional library.

The eBook and eAudiobooks can be requested and borrowed just like physical books for up to three weeks. The files include digital rights management coding to ensure they cannot be shared and they are automatically returned to the library when the loan period is up.

“It can take a bit of patience to learn how to use the system and download the initial software needed to work with the files, but once that’s done customers can place holds, download content, and read or listen for free,” explains Dieno. “And one great advantage, especially for customers who live a distance from one of our branches, is that the content can be accessed at any time from a home computer.”

The ORL has been part of the province-wide Library to Go service since 2009, and saw an 82 per cent increase in downloads in 2010 and a 151 per cent rise in 2011.

Library customers will still have access to Library to Go materials purchased before the end of this month as well as its new ORL eBooks collection.

“When building our own collection, I wanted to focus on materials I knew would be of interest to people living in our region,” says adult collections librarian Barbara Jo May, who oversees the purchase of items for the regional library’s catalogue.

“I also wanted to include some content that was always available with no limits on the number of copies borrowed or waitlists. These ‘maximum access’ licenses are much more expensive and not an option with all titles, but we were able to include some for our members.”

Always available titles include the collection of Disney digital books for children and Lonely Planet travel guides. The regional library also has other digital content available to access from its homepage, including freegal free music downloads and TumbleBooks animated online books for children.

If you have questions about getting started with eBooks, visit your local branch to talk to staff and pick up the Getting Started with eBooks and eReaders pamphlet. You can also find information online at www.orl.bc.ca or email info@orl.bc.ca.