As digital publishing challenges and changes the way we engage with print, I ask – what effect is digital having on our libraries?

As digital publishing challenges and changes the way we engage with print, I ask – what effect is digital having on our libraries?

Libraries have played an important role in the success of publishing, bringing books and opportunity to the masses for free.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed technology creeping its way further and further into my local library. Electronic check-out counters and computer rooms have completely transformed a landscape that was once void of screens.

One area that seems to be progressing in America faster than anywhere else is rentable eBooks, a concept I hadn’t heard of until I read Michael Kozlowski’s recent blog post for goodereader.com, entitled ‘90% of US Libraries now Loan out eBooks‘.

©OverDrive

Without even making the journey to your library you can now access a selection of their content online and download eBooks straight to your device. Just like standard checkout practice there is a time limit to how long you have access to the book and a limited number in stock for each library.

Provided the book you want hasn’t been freely downloaded so many times that it’s out of stock you can get instant access and enjoy reading upon entering your library membership number.

I began researching the subject further and it seems that libraries in the UK are offering this service, they just don’t seem to be shouting about it or encouraging it as much as the US.

The picture Kozlowski paints in his article is a developing and embracive one, pioneered by global company OverDrive who have fresh and unique ideas that are transforming American libraries. Whilst OverDrive also provide services to UK libraries it seems it is the US’ approach that our libraries should adopt if they are to thrive in the digital era.

All photos ©OverDrive

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