eBooks and free songs to be offered through the library
By Stephanie Johns
The Uncle Remus Regional Library System will now offer eBooks and free songs beginning in a matter of days.
Patrons may check out eBooks to use on a variety of devices – Kindle Fire, iPhones, iPads, and Nook, to name a few. The only device the eBooks will not work on is the older Kindle.
The Freading eBook company has 20,000 titles that the library system may access for $3,600 per year. That cost will be distributed among the member libraries based on usage.
Acting Director Steve Schaefer later noted that depending on how popular the eBooks are, the libraries always can add to that amount.
According to the company’s website, “The Freading Ebook Service is a download Ebook service sold to Libraries for free use by its registered cardholders.”
He noted that they will not have bestseller eBooks because they cannot afford it.
In the past the board chose not to offer e-books to its patrons based on the cost and the total number of eBooks they could offer.
The OverDrive eBook company has 80,000 titles but the library would have had to pay $15,000 for approximately 350 titles per year. Of those approximately 350 titles, only one patron could check out an eBook at a time; readers could not checkout the same eBook at the same time.
Schaefer said the eBook salesman actually came to present the music to them.
“There’s a certain demographic we have a hard time reaching: right after puberty,” he said. “We’ve not reached them because we’ve had nothing to offer them.”
Thanks to the music download program, patrons may download three free songs per week per library card. The songs are the patrons’ to keep.
The total yearly cost of $7,800 for the program will be split among the nine libraries at a rate of $867 per library.
Schaefer said they will track circulation across the system and balance out the cost accordingly.
Regarding explicit lyrics, he said they do not censor now and estimated that only about 10 songs in the 3,000 available have explicit lyrics.
As to the internet broadband at the libraries, Schaefer noted that the speed “drops to a crawl” when many patrons try to use it at the same time, such as right after schools let out.
He said libraries can now look for vendors and the Board of Regents will fund the difference between what e-rate and the new service provider cost.
Schaefer said he found “a really fantastic deal” with Level 3 MPLS.
The library system currently spends $1.36 million annually to use the state’s network. Level 3 MPLS will cost them less than $219,000 annually. He noted that the new system will be seven times faster than their current system as well.
Schaefer said they will sign the agreement in January and that actual implementation will take time because they have to fly in engineers and do system checks.
“We’ll have a dual system for a while,” he said, adding that while he wants the change to be complete by spring, these are unchartered waters and it may take longer.
In other news:
• Administrative Services Librarian Mary Young explained that time clocks will now be necessary in the libraries due in large part to heavy penalties levied by the Fair Labor and Standards Act for incorrect timekeeping.
The system they are looking at uses a thumbprint scanner. Each unit will incur a one-time $600 fee.
• Schaefer said they want to discourage the giving of books in favor of monetary donations or donations of books to the libraries’ book stores.
To accept books, DVDs, and audio materials into the collection takes labor and supplies, he said.
• They still are looking for the right person to take over as director. The next ad for this position that they run will include the requirement of five years of public library experience.
• Schaefer said the state librarian has a new literacy program for infants through age 4. It is called “B4 – Georgia’s Early Literacy Initiative.”
• Those present were able to window shop at the system’s Lands’ End store. People may purchase Lands’ End items with the library system’s logo.
Printed in the January 17, 2013 edition.