Niles District Library introduces electronic reading devicesPublished 11:02am Friday, February 5, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
The Niles District Library is working to speed up the way information is delivered. What used to take several days to a week through interlibrary loan could be done instantaneously with new technology that the Niles District Library is set to unveil.
The library has announced it has purchased two second generation Amazon Kindles, which are slim, lightweight electronic reading devices about the length and width of a book but with the potential to contain thousands of pounds of information.
Amazon has sold 3 million of the popular but pricey devices since they were introduced in 2007, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Conrad Rader, the adult service librarian, will be providing training sessions at the library to introduce the technology to patrons.
Rader said not many public libraries have experimented with the use of Kindles, although some college libraries have experimented with using Kindles as textbook replacements.
“We were a little adventurous when we took the plunge,” he said of the purchase of the $450 Kindle DX and the $260 Small Kindle. “We acquired them with the idea that electronic books and magazines and newspapers are coming. There’s no stopping it. This technology is going to be a major way people are going to read in the future.”
The Kindles allow users to purchase and download a wide variety of books, newspaper, magazines and other publications and flip through the pages electronically like a book.
“Most (electronic) readers in the past used an LCD or LED screen,” he said. “The Kindles are notable for their display technology, which is called ‘e-ink.’”
The “e-ink” technology does not generate light but reads like a book, so it doesn’t have the same strain on one’s eyes as a computer screen.
Because it doesn’t generate light, the Kindle holds a charge for a week to two weeks at a time.
“The Kindle only uses electricity when it’s connecting to servers or when you change the page. Right now it’s using any power at all,” Rader said pointing to a Kindle open to a page of the New York Times.
The library’s Kindles, which will be available for in-library use only, can be used by patrons to access newspapers and magazines for free. Rader also said patrons may eventually be able to request for the library to buy books not available in the library for them to read on the devices.
Does this mean libraries are shifting the way they deliver information?
“We’re not going to be replacing our entire stock with Kindles,” Rader said with a laugh. “I don’t think paper books are going away anytime soon.”
Training sessions will be available at the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call Conrad Rader at the Niles District Library at (269) 683-8545.