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Public Library Offering Downloadable E-books

Santa Barbara System Will Have 24/7 Access


The Santa Barbara Public Library System has expanded its downloadable collection with the addition of e-books at SBPLibrary.org. From the comfort of home or anywhere, library card holders can browse the collection, check out, and download e-books anytime.

With budgets forcing libraries to reduce their hours, there is a need for services that can be accessed when the library is closed. For several years the Santa Barbara Public Library System, as part of the Black Gold Library Cooperative System, has offered thousands of audiobooks that may be downloaded via the library Web site to a home computer, and transferred to a portable listening device.

Beginning August 16, downloadable e-books for adults and young adults, readable on a computer or compatible e-book reader, will be also be offered, with funding from a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the California State Library. The $36,179 grant will buy an “opening day” collection, with more titles to be added throughout the year. Each library will also get an e-book reader for staff and public training on the downloading process.

Training sessions for patrons will be scheduled during the fall at all library branches. Like all items in the library collections, the downloadable books are free of charge to patrons. The Santa Barbara Public Library System’s opening collection features nearly 600 titles, including the popular Stieg Larsson “Millennium” novels and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, as well as nonfiction titles such as Frommer’s Spain 2010 and Superfreakonomics.

E-books can be read on a PC or Mac using free reader software called Adobe Digital Editions. E-books can also be transferred to popular e-reading devices like the Sony Reader, the Kobo eReader, and the Barnes & Noble Nook. The e-book readers are designed to look and feel like a book and are great for users on the go. The devices feature E INK technology, a screen that reads like paper so it’s easy on the reader’s eyes.

“E-books are growing in popularity and we are excited to offer this new format, in addition to thousands of audiobooks currently available,” said Irene Macias, library director. “We have purchased hundreds of best-selling and classic titles, all of which can be read on your computer or compatible portable reading device.” Increasingly popular with library patrons, downloadable titles have helped increase the circulation of library resources.

To check out e-books, users need a valid library card, a computer, and Internet connection. Once downloaded, they can be enjoyed on the computer or transferred to any of several compatible e-book reader devices, sold at bookstores and other stores. At the end of the lending period, titles automatically expire and are returned to the collection. Up to four e-books may be checked out by an individual at any one time, and they may be returned early if desired.

The Black Gold Cooperative Libraries downloadable books are purchased from OverDrive, a digital distributor of e-books and audiobooks.

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