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Monday, 11 August 2008 07:06

U.S. libraries go high-tech

Written by David Stellmack

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Music and books for download – for free

U.S. libraries have changed dramatically from libraries of even five years ago, as they now include an impressive selection of digital books, music, and movies that can be downloaded for free by patrons to a computer or an MP3 player.

The Phoenix, Arizona library braches have collectively amassed a total of almost 50,000 titles of audio books, e-books, CDs and DVDs that can be checked out virtually from anyplace. This program has proved extremely popular with senior citizens who travel in their RVs.

All that is needed for the access is a library card, Web access and software that can be downloaded, such as OverDrive Media Console, MobiPocket Reader or Adobe Digital Editions. Once you have these, it’s as simple as browsing the library Website, finding something to download, adding them to the digital book bag and then downloading them.

Titles that are not currently available can be placed on hold for later downloading; and the best thing is that there are no items to return to the library, ever. The titles remain in the book bag for several weeks, and then just disappear.

The digital access is not just a convenience to its patrons. Libraries struggle with storage space for all of its books, DVDs and CDs, and digital access frees up shelf space and square footage. Libraries rely on distributors such as OverDrive, Inc. a company based in Cleveland, Ohio.

OverDrive has deals with music labels and publishers, and currently has over 100,000 titles and works with nearly 7,500 libraries. OverDrive says it has had millions of downloads of its media player and digital check-outs.

The downloads can be used with Sony’s Reader, SanDisk's Sansa, Samsung’s Blackjack, Palm's Treo 700wx, Motorola's Q, Microsoft's Zune, iRiver's 510, HPs iPAQ, Dell's Axim, Creative's ZEN, AT&T's Smartphone and Apple's iPod and iPhone. And best of all, it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free. What could be better than that?

Last modified on Monday, 11 August 2008 07:27

David Stellmack

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