EBooks and Libraries (an idea)

(I'm pretty sure this idea has already been kicked around. It's new to me, so I'm sharing.)

I know that there’s bigger issues at hand concerning ebooks and libraries and much more stuff to be figured out, but as a public librarian who is trying to introduce and teach the public about these tools, my focus gets moved around quite a bit.  Right now, I’m thinking how the heck can I do SOMETHING with ebooks for my community?

At my library, we’ve been talking about ebooks for a couple weeks and the idea above has been tossed around a few times.  I dig it.  Here’s why…

Imagine being a patron who just got a Kindle and  has absolutely no idea how to use it.
Where would you go?  What would you do?  Imagine that you decide to go to the library.  You ask them for assistance…and they can’t help at all.  FAIL!

That’s why I think it is so important for libraries to obtain the tools, study them, and then be ready for the onslaught of patrons with questions.  That’s one way we can show that public that we are still very important.

You are now an ebook master.  What do you do with this knowldege?  Don’t hide behind your reference desk.  Instead, get out there and teach your community.  Hold workshops, have demo units around the library with librarians ready to help patrons out.

Hands on experimentation and the help of an educated library staff will translate into better community relations.  This is a good thing!

I’m sorry, but at some point you’re gonna have to give that IPad back.  Why?  The patrons want to borrow them!  Ereaders ain’t the cheapest things around.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $500 just lying around.  People want to see what these are all about…so let them borrow them!

Lend out the device as a unit with books preloaded on it.  Consider it less of borrowing a book and more of a tool that your patrons can borrow.  Make sure you have a sound policy if any kind of damages occur.  Think before you jump into the world of lending out ereaders.  But don’t let all the little details bog you down…go for it.  Libraries need to take the leap here.

This is where it gets tricky.  My approach to this area isn’t solid, but I’ve got an idea. Have an ebook librarian.  Keep on lending out devices, but take that approach to the next level.  Allow the patron checking out the device to request a book (or two).  Slowly, you’ll build up a library (ha!) of ebooks.

Yah, I know this ain’t the definitive answer.  But’s it an idea, a start.  And we really need to get the ball rolling.


  1. You are so right on about the ereaders and ebooks! If librarians don’t get out in front of new technologies, someone else will.

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