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Digital Bookmobile showcases library’s downloadable items

By Staff | Nov 17, 2008

MICHAEL PISTELLA Steve Potash, chief executive officer of OverDrive Digital Media Services, shows Lisa Schiffli and her son Brian, 7, how to download videos on the new Lee County Library System’s audiobook, eBook and video download service. For more information, log onto: www.leegov.com/library.

No matter where you are in Florida, the country or the world, now you can take the Lee County Library System’s catalogue with you.

The Digital Bookmobile — a showcase for the library’s fledgling online service — was at the Cape Coral branch Monday, hoping to educate patrons on everything available at just the click of a button.

The “Download Depot” features books, videos, music and audiobooks, all for free, for those who possess a library card.

The availability of titles range from classic authors like James Fennimore Cooper and Robert Louis Stevenson, to Stephen King and David Baldacci.

It is all part of the library system’s plan to provide its patrons with new options and technologies.

Technical Services Manager Deb Czarnik said the new technologies put Lee at the forefront of library systems around the country. She added that the services by no means make the traditional library obsolete, merely expand what Lee has to offer.

“We’re keeping up with the culture,” Czarnik said. “We had to diversify what we offer.”

Much like checking out a book, downloading material from the site allows users to “keep” the material for a select amount of time, after which the material will automatically check itself back in.

Personal entertainment and communication devices such as an iPod or Blackberry are needed for the download, as well as Internet access. All library locations have “download stations” which means home Internet access is not necessary.

The service has been been available for the last two years, but library officials want to push the site into the forefront of patrons’ minds.

Library Director Sheldon Kaye said circulation is up 24 percent over the prior year, making 2008 one of the busiest on record for the system.

The Download Depot might help with the current demands on the system, as it has been doing higher circulation numbers than some of the smaller library branches.

“We want to be where the people are going,” Kaye said. “As a measure of how this has caught on … if you annualize our numbers (for the Web site) we have a circulation of 35,000. We just keep growing and growing.”

Patrons were filing through the Digital Bookmobile on Monday afternoon, checking the equipment and asking questions, most unaware the service is available.

Bookmobile worker Rene SanJose said most were pleased with the experience.

“They walk in and have no idea what to expect,” she said. “But they walk out feeling knowledgeable ad eager to use it.”

For more information, visit: http://lcls.lib.overdrive.com.