Borrowing e-books from the public library is an increasingly popular option amongst New Zealanders, according to figures released by The Association of Public Library Managers (APLM). The end of last year saw a number of new e-book lending options launched in Public Libraries throughout New Zealand. "Although it is still early days for e-books in libraries the lending numbers paint a clear picture", said APLM spokesperson, Paul Nielsen of Hauraki District Libraries. "Since November there have already been over 13,000 e-books checked out across the country".
Many public libraries have adopted a consortia approach to e-book lending, making a wider selection of e-books available to library members to borrow. In many cases this has meant that ebooks can be borrowed free of charge. This collaborative approach not only benefits library patrons, it also ensures the best value for money from rate-payers' dollars.
With e-books available at over 70% of New Zealand public libraries to date, there have been some dramatic increases in borrowing. Since the service was launched a few months ago, some areas are seeing increases in borrowing of up to 400%. Downloadable audio-books have also proved popular with nearly 2,500 checked out over the same period.
"There is keen interest and appetite for digital content out there", says Mr Nielsen. "Many of the communities served by libraries with increased digital borrowing are small and predominantly rural, so this usage dispels some myths about e-books only being for the richer, city types".
This demand was evident during 'Travel Light this Summer with Library e-books' roadshow events in the Wellington and Wairarapa region last December. These hands-on education sessions were designed to introduce readers to their library's e-book collections and help decipher which of the myriad e-reader devices best met their needs. Nearly 200 people of varying age and digital ability turned out across the region to get the e-book lowdown.
Library staff are currently undergoing training to up-skill in this area in order to deal with the influx of customers and technological questions. Many libraries are also planning to launch their own public education sessions on e-books and e-readers in coming months. Public librarians will play a key role in demystifying digital books and audio by offering knowledgeable, practical and impartial digital services and advice.
Contact your local library to find out more.
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