Participation in the eBooks program through the Mexico-Audrain Library District has increased in the first six months of 2013. There have been 1,908 titles checked out electronically this year (January-June), compared to the 1,978 checked out February-December 2012.
"The growing popularity of the program seems to be primarily due to the convenience," Christal Bruner, assistant librarian, said. "Patrons who participate can check out books from anywhere wifi is available. They don't have to come to the library."
There are 310 users registered through the Mexico-Audrain library. Any patron who has a valid library card and pin number can log into the account and download a book. The site is accessible through any electronic reader device.
The program, called Mo Libraries 2 Go, has 75 member libraries which participate in the consortium. Patrons at any of these public libraries can access the titles. Each individual library pays an annual fee which allows the consortium to purchase the licensing rights to the books.
Most of the books purchased are bestsellers. "However, sometimes best sellers are not available because the licensing is difficult for libraries," Bruner said. "At Mexico we also buy some of our own electronic books which are only available to our patrons."
The approximately 100 books which are available only to Mexico-Audrain patrons are called "advantage" books, and are designated by a symbol consisting of an "a" and a checkmark.
Each month librarians at the individual libraries in the consortium can see what the proposed purchases are for that month. "We have the opportunity to look at what they plan to purchase and make suggestions," Bruner said. "We have a say in the books which are purchased."
Bruner reminds patrons that most classic books are available for no charge. The classic books also do not count against checkout limits, and never have to be erased from the electronic readers.
Other sites which offer free electronic books are Manybooks.net and the public domain books at Feedbooks.com.
Books from the program are available for seven or 14 days, just like checkout rules for traditional library books. At the end of the designated time, the books will no longer be available to be viewed on the devices. Owners will have to delete the titles at that time.
Another advantage of the eBooks program is the ability to change the format on the electronic readers. "You can make the type as large as you need," Bruner said. "This can make the books easier to read."
Any electronic reader device will work with the eBooks program. "We have patrons who use lots of Kindles and Nooks, but also some who have purchased just the basic reader to participate in the program," Bruner said.
There is information at the Mexico library and all branches which will help patrons log on to the eBooks system. Residents of Audrain County who are in good standing with the library district (no fines, overdues, lost materials or expired library cards) are eligible to participate.
Page 2 of 2 - Employees at every branch can assist patrons with logging on to eBooks. At Mexico, there are a variety of electronic readers available to show patrons how to log on.
"The eBook program is a good way to get patrons who have not been in the library for awhile to begin to use the library again," Bruner said. "The convenience of being able to obtain a book any time and at almost any place is wonderful."