The four public libraries of Pittsylvania County, as well as the bookmobile, have begun to circulate Barnes and Noble Nook e-readers to area library patrons. The electronic devices are pre-loaded with a variety of books; books will be added to each device on a regular schedule. In order to borrow a device, library card holders will sign a borrowing agreement and receive simple instructions on how to use the unit. This pilot project is made possible thanks to a grant from the library’s PPL Foundation. Each library will have two Nooks available for circulation.
Public libraries have been providing reading, audio, visual, and electronic materials for a long time, often educating the public about new media. E-readers are growing more popular as usability of the devices has improved.
The Nook Simple Touch devices are easy to use and are a good way for people to determine whether or not they like the e-reading experience before they invest in a device of their own.
The circulating collection of devices adds to the library’s adoption of digital technologies. For over a year, the library has been a member of the Virginia Piedmont Library Consortium which allows patrons to check out e-books and view them on their own computers or devices. The consortium’s collection has been very popular, which results in long waiting lists for some new releases. Adding the circulating Nooks to the library’s collection allows for another way to fill patron demand for new items. It also allows the library to add back titles and classics to its collection immediately to meet patron requests.
“For me, the introduction of ways of reading digitally to the library is important and necessary, but it certainly does not eliminate the traditional book-reading experience,” said Diane Adkins, director of library services for the county. “I look at it personally as not either/or, but both/and. I read books on a digital device, and I also read paper books and listen to books on CD. True book lovers in this transitional time seem to be finding their own comfort level with the array of choices available,” she added.
For more information, or to check out an e-reader, stop by any of the libraries–in Brosville, Chatham, Gretna, or Mt. Hermon. Locations and services times are available on the library’s website, www.pcplib.org.