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Hitting the books: Library now offering Kindle downloads

By Staff | Sep 24, 2011

Card-holders can now download books onto their Kindles through the Lee County Library System.

“We are very pleased about that,” Lee County Library System Deputy Director Terri Crawford said.

Almost 11,000 titles became available to Kindle owners as of Wednesday, she said. Individuals must have a library card to to use the resource.

“I think this is going to go like crazy,” she said. “Kindle users have been asking us for a long time. I think we are going to see a huge surge.”

Crawford said the process is quite simple, all you have to do is visit www.lee-county.com/library, select download depot and then go to eBooks for Kindle users. She said individuals can browse the titles and select which books they want to check out or place on hold.

Once a title is selected, it is then downloaded onto the computer, which is then transferred by Wi-Fi or through a USB port onto the Kindle. When the time limit is up on the book it stops working on the device.

Crawford said the first 10 titles that were available on Wednesday, were on hold Thursday because of the interest from Kindle users.

The full-service digital distributor of eBooks Overdrive did all the negotiations with Amazon for the Lee County Library System to offer books for Kindle users.

Tori Hersh, branch manager for Cape Coral – Lee County Public Library said she had five to 10 customers come into the library on Thursday asking about how to download books onto their Kindles.

“We are very happy with that,” she said.

Hersh said she does not know how long it takes to download a book to the Kindle reader. Once downloaded, a typical eBook has 14 days before it stops working on the device.

During the month of September individuals are encouraged to sign-up for a free library card, which gives them access to an abundance of resources.

Crawford said the important thing for residents to know is the library smart card provides access to all of the library resources.

“Everything in the library is being utilized,” Crawford said. “The community has really embraced our databases.”

Some of those resources include internet access; books and computers; homework help; assistance with resumes and job searches; accurate financial information; adult education courses; CDs; DVDs and Blue-ray discs.

Crawford said they added approximately 4,600 new library smart card holders in the month of August. She said they always see a good bump in library cards when school starts up.

“We do know that our circulation and usage of the library compared to last August is an increase again,” she said.

Some of the increase in library resources is eBooks, music, data bases and free online services.

Although numbers are not in for September yet, Crawford said it tends to be a good month for them.

“We always have people sign up for new library cards,” Hersh said.

Right now there are just under 294,000 library card holders in Lee County. There are 13 libraries in the county.

The Lee County Library System also provides cards for visitors who are vising the area for a short period.

Crawford said the visitor cards are $15 for three months. Non-residential cards are also available for $60 for one year.

“Those dollar amounts are equivalent to what the typical average taxpayer would pay for that time period,” she said.

Right now the Lee County Library System has issued 3,000 visitor cards and about 11 cards for non-residents. She said once season picks up they will issue more cards.

Crawford said since they are a part of the Southwest Library Network, residents with a library card can participate in reciprocal borrowing with other libraries in the area. She said there are quite a few reciprocal borrowers in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties.

A library card also can provide access to their library card record; find out when items are due; see the history of what they have read, along with putting books on hold.

Although some of the programs that the library offers increases during season, Crawford said there really is not a season for libraries anymore.

“We are busy year round,” she said. “So grateful for the community.”

A huge program for the library is their summer reading program, which encourages kids to continue reading when they are not in school.

Crawford said although she has not finalized the numbers yet, she heard from the branches that they were kept really busy during the summer reading program.

“We were very busy and the kids read a lot of books,” she said. “A lot of participation.”

Hersh said they always have very good attendance at the reading summer program.

“We have a very strong summer reading program,” she said. “I am very happy with our attendance.”

The summer reading program, Hersh said, is to encourage children to increase their reading and make sure their reading skills are up to par before going back to school in the fall.