COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Readers can now get instant access to a number of free e-books as part of a new program added at the library.
Patrons at the Colonial Heights Library can directly download the 3M app, which is available on Apple and Android devices as well as the Nook. Within minutes, patrons will be able to access numerous titles on their devices. Users can also access titles directly from the library’s website.
According to Library Director Bruce Hansen, the program is simple and easy to use.
“It’s built on cloud technology. Once you download the app from the app store, it takes you directly to the library, where you can download the e-books,” said Hansen.
When you check out an e-book, it is downloaded in minutes onto your device and can be read immediately after. You can check out one e-book at a time, and have six weeks to read it. Users can return the e-books directly from the device as well, and if the user forgets, the e-book will automatically be returned after the six-week period.
The library currently has 260 titles available as e-books, and Hansen said that as word gets out about the program, more and more books will be added.
The program works just like regular books, in that there is only one copy of each title that can be checked out at a time. But if a book is popular, the library will buy more than one copy.
“We get reports on what’s being checked out and put on hold, and if we detect that a book has high demand, we will buy additional copies,” Hansen said.
If the book you’re looking for is not available, you can simply put in a request at the library. Hansen said for regular books, the library gets about 30 to 50 requests a day.
The program has been in affect for two weeks now. Although other libraries in the area, such as Petersburg and Chesterfield, have been checking out e-books, Hansen said the decision for the library to wait on acquiring the software was for the patrons.
“We waited to start this program to wait for better options, both with accessibility to titles and finding a software that was simple and user friendly,” Hansen said.
When e-books began to increase in popularity, there was only one vendor available that would sell these titles to libraries. Hansen said in the past year several other vendors have entered the market, making it more convenient for the library to have access to e-books.
With the rise of technology such as this, many are worried traditional books will slowly fall out of existence, threatening libraries and book stores into closing.
According to Hansen, adding these e-books will not threaten the need for libraries and having physical copies of books.
“Most libraries would say that circulation has increased after the advent of e-books, and as e-books continue to grow, the traditional book will continue to survive,” he said.
For more information on the e-book program at the Colonial Heights library, you can contact them at 840-520-9384 or visit http://www.colonialheightsva.gov/library.