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Downloadable Book Usage Rises at Lewisboro Library

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Lewisboro Library patrons’ foray into the Digital Age continues to grow as more and more are taking advantage of the technology that provides downloadable e-books and audiobooks.

From 2009 to 2010, the number of patrons downloading titles grew from 987 to 1,409, an increase of 30 percent. The first nine months of 2011 saw an increase of 22 percent compared to same period in 2010.

“It’s not huge yet, but for our library it’s being utilized more and more every month,” said Library Director Cindy Rubino. “Usage is increasing as people buy more digital devices like e-readers and iPads. You really see an increase in January because so many people get them as gifts for Christmas.”

There are currently 3,095 unique titles available for audiobook downloads and 4,060 titles for e-books. There will be even more titles available in 2012. The digital downloads are provided by the Westchester Library System . It is from that site patrons can download the digital books and audiobooks. They’ll need a valid library card and PIN as well as a device that meets the system requirements for the type of materials they want to download. They’ll also need an e-mail address as a place to hold a title.

Supportable devices include PC Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch, Sony Reader and NOOK. The Amazon Kindle was recently added to the list.

“The Kindle format was not originally available to the public market,” Rubino said. “But that changed a couple of weeks ago. We are excited to have the Kindle format available for our patrons.”

The Lewisboro Library holds regular workshops called “Library Technology Workshops” to help its patrons understand the technology and how to use it. Rubino said the library tries to keep the classes small – around six to eight people – so instructors can provide a personal touch.

“Not everybody has the same device and it’s a different experience for downloading to different devices,” she said. “And it’s a different experience for an e-book and a digital audiobook.”

Rubino said younger people are fairly savvy to the digital downloading experience, but older folks may need some assistance, and it’s that demographic that is usually found at the library’s technology workshops.

“Older people are embracing the technology and are doing it by taking advantage of the workshops,” she said.

The library has scheduled workshops for Kindle users for Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

Does the explosion of digital technology and downloadable books spell doom for the brick-and-mortar library experience? Rubino doesn’t think so.

“Publishers are embracing the technology and it is the wave of future,” she said. “In fact, some titles are only published as e-books. But people are still borrowing hard copies. And the library is and always will be a gathering place. We offer programs and book clubs. Our mission is not just to lend out books but to educate and provide leisure time.”

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