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Sunday, 28th February 2010

Libraries Embrace Digital Future with eBooks, Music, Video

From the Article:

The [Shaler North Hills] [L]ibrary is letting [Phil] Breidenbach, 54, of Glenshaw and a handful of other patrons experiment with an Amazon Kindle, a hand-held device for reading online books. Shaler will be the first local library to lend such gadgets to the general public when it introduces them during National Library Week in mid-April.


"If books move to a format that doesn't take up space, that will free up libraries to do other things," said Marilyn Jenkins, executive director of the Allegheny County Library Association, a group of suburban libraries, including Shaler.

The digital collection shared by city and suburban libraries has been mushrooming since 2005. Starting with nearly 250 titles, it has grown to 18,000 eBooks, downloadable audio books, downloadable video and streaming music titles plus eight databases with nearly a million tracks of music. During that period, the number of users has mushroomed from 82 to 4,500.


One obstacle: the lack of standardization in the publishing industry for hand-held devices. If a patron buys a new Apple iPad, for instance, the library may not have a license to provide a particular book on that device.

"I would say they'll have to have this resolved within five years," Jenkins said.

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Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


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