“We just got started with e-books at the first of October and we only have about 550 titles right now,” said Martha Goodson, assistant library director. “We plan to add more titles each month.”
Goodson said the Friends of the Library group has donated $1,000 to purchase new e-books and individual patrons have also made donations for the acquisitions. She said the initial purchases were made from $10,000 in regional funds, with $7,500 going to fiction titles and $2,500 to non-fiction.
She said the first titles acquired were chosen by a committee, with representatives from each of the five counties served.
Melissa Gearhart, acquisitions librarian, said the library is using the 3M Cloud Library system and software, which is available as an app for smart phones and tablets. She said the system will work with both Apple and Android smart devices. It also works with Nook dedicated e-readers, with a USB computer hookup needed, but not with the Kindle dedicated e-readers.
“It does work with the Kindle Fire since it’s an active device,” Gearhart said. “3M and Amazon are in negotiations now on the other Kindle devices.”
She said the 3M software is compatible with PCs with Windows 7, Vista and XP (service pack 3).
“The Mac version of the software is still in development,” she added.
Gearhart recommends going to the regional library’s website, www.wgrl.net, to get instructions on how to get started checking out e-books.
“Check your Pines library card and make sure the number on your card starts with 21057,” Gearhart said. “That’s the regional library number. If that number is not on your card, go to your library and you will get a new, free card with the number.”
She said it’s also necessary to have a four-digit PIN number to use the e-book system.
“If you don’t already have a PIN number, you can get one by going into your library and showing a photo ID,” she said. “PIN numbers cannot be given out over the phone.”
Gearhart said a recent report from 3M showed that only about 100 of the 550 titles had been checked out so far. However, she said usage is expected to increase once more people learn about the availability.
She said books are checked out for two weeks and currently each person is limited to only one e-book at a time.
“After we build our collection, we’ll increase that number,” she said.
Once the two-week checkout period is up, the e-book becomes inaccessible to the reader. If there are names on the waiting list for the book, the first name on the list gets the next two-week circulation. If no names are on the list, the person who had it can renew for another two weeks and the system remembers where he/she stopped reading.
Gearhart noted that the library website also has a link to other sites where free e-books are available, including many older titles and classics.
West Georgia Regional Library has 17 branches in the counties of Carroll, Douglas, Haralson, Heard and Paulding counties. During the last fiscal year, nearly 1.5 million items were circulated, including books, CDs, DVD movies and other items.