APL to offer e-books service soon

Published 12:03 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

Andalusia Public Library patrons will soon be able to get their hands on e-books without ever having to leave home.

APL Director Karin Taylor said the service will be offered through the library’s new website, which should be up and running during the first part of January – just in time for those lucky enough to get a Kindle, Nook, iPad or any other device with the ability to support electronic books this Christmas.

“Right now, we’re working to determine which company we’re going to go with,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to get the best bang for our buck, in that we get the program that will be the most compatible with the most devices.”

Patrons will need just two things to get started – a library card and a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. Once the site is up and running, patrons will be able to browse the e-books website, click on a title wanted and then borrow it for 14 days.

“Once the due date comes, it disappears off your device,” Taylor said. “It’s that simple. It’s going to be so convenient, and we think, very popular.”

Starting a digital library service can cost several thousand dollars. A digital platform that works with different e-reading devices must be set up online, and there are licensing rights to be paid to book publishers. Taylor said the APL is looking to join “Camellia Net,” which currently provides e-books to nearly 30 libraries across the state – including Alabama State University and Orange Beach, Fairhope and Foley public libraries.

She said the APL will offer both adult and children’s e-books.

“I know it sounds kind of silly, but I really think of this (project) as a Christmas present to our patrons,” she said. “We’ve been working so hard on this project. I think when it’s up and running, it’s going to blow people’s minds.”

Taylor said e-books will be only one of the new website features offered after the first of the year.

“It’s going to be a multifaceted website with many, many uses,” she said. “There’s going to be a special section for kids called ‘Scout’s Corner,’ that has interactive web tools.

“And, our heritage database will also be online, which is a huge thing for genealogists,” Taylor said. “I know that will be popular as well. There’ll also be other fabulous resources. We’re very excited to be able to offer these programs of our patrons.”

Taylor said the new websites URL address has not been determined, but it will be released next month along with instructions on how to access the e-book feature.