Library to lend e-books

Published 10:16 pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Suffolk library patrons now have another way of checking out materials with their library cards.

E-books are now available free to Suffolk library patrons. People with a library card can use it to check out up to two e-books at a time.

The service was introduced on May 21. Library officials said it already is receiving good response.

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“People do like it,” said Melinda Brown, head of reference services at the North Suffolk Library. “It will be a great way for people to participate in the summer reading programs this year, because they won’t have to come to the library as often.”

Patrons can download the Blio app to a Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, iPad or iPhone Touch 3 or higher. It will not work on a regular Kindle or a Nook because you cannot download apps to them, Brown said.

Once the Blio app is downloaded, users create an account and can then check out books for up to 14 days. Only two e-books at a time can be checked out, and like print books, a limited number of copies are available. If all the copies are checked out, patrons can place a hold to be notified when a copy becomes available.

Patrons still can check out as much print material as they like, regardless of whether they have e-books checked out, Brown said.

A variety of genres are available, including children’s and teen books, Brown added. In addition, many classic works are available for download that do not count against the two-book limit because they are in the public domain, she said.

Many of the children’s books have soundtracks to go with them, and some devices can read the book to the child, Brown added.

She said the system has a number of advantages.

“If it’s raining and you don’t want to go to the library, or it’s 9 o’clock on Sunday night, you can get a book,” she said.

She also believes e-books will encourage many people to read who may not go to the library and check out a printed book.

“Teenagers, especially, like the device,” she said. “There have been studies that show teenage boys read more when they have the device because of the coolness of having the gadget.”

For more information or to download the app, visit www.suffolk.lib.va.us. The website contains links to the app, the list of titles available, a video showing how to use the service and more.

For more information, call 514-7323 or 514-7150.