New Age Reading: Minot library lends e-readers to encourage technology use

Book lovers who have been thinking about going digital now have the opportunity to sample e-readers at Minot Public Library.

Whether looking to test drive before a purchase or just enjoy the use of an e-reader for a few weeks, library patrons can check out a basic Kindle, a Nook HD tablet or an iPad 4. The Nook and iPad both have Internet browsing capabilities as well as serving as e-readers.

A grant through the North Dakota State Library enabled Minot Public Library to purchase five of each of the three types of e-readers. The library began lending the devices last Friday for three-week check-out periods.

“The goal of the grant was to provide access to technology,” said Janet Anderson, adult services librarian. “The way the world is going, everything is becoming electronic and everything is available online, but these devices aren’t necessarily accessible.”

By loaning the devices, the library hopes to promote technology that encourages reading. The library welcomes parents to check out the devices for their children.

“We have had, especially with the iPad, some really great learning apps,” Anderson said.

The devices come with book-reading software and a number of books installed. The Nook and iPad also come with other applications, or apps. The devices block additional downloads of apps, books or other materials with the exception of e-books from the Library2Go collection. The collection offers more than 1,000 titles, including popular books and new releases, available through the state library system. Like regular books, a book copy can be checked out by only one patron at a time.

Also available are audio books and classic and children’s films.

The restrictions on downloading help safeguard a borrower’s personal information, Anderson said. The library also clears any Internet browsing history and added books between users to protect privacy.

A computer is required to download books, which can be done at the library, where assistance is available if needed. The devices come with instructions, but people checking out devices for the first time also can receive instruction from staff on how to use them.

“It’s nothing to be scared of. These are fun to use,” Anderson said. “We really try to make this as easy as possible for as many people as we can. There’s a lot of great material that’s available electronically.”

She said the library has been receiving a number of inquiries from the public about how to use their new e-readers or how to select an e-reader to purchase. The library offers one-on-one tutoring sessions that focus on using Library2Go but also provide other instructions to assist people with their e-readers.

The demand for that service made it clear that the library needed to begin offering its own e-readers, Anderson said. Many libraries are moving in that direction, she said.

To borrow a device, patrons must sign an agreement to accept borrowing guidelines, overdue fines, replacement liabilities and proper care and use.

Borrowers must present a library card and a photo identification and be at least 18 years old and in good standing with the library. E-readers cannot be renewed after the three-week period and fines are higher than for books, ranging from $2 a day for the Kindle to $15 a day for the iPad, up to the replacement cost of the device.

The devices come with sturdy cases for protection. People also can check out chargers.