Joliet libraries have Nooks available for patrons to check out
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com July 16, 2011 7:10PM
Candy Van Tine (left), manager of branch information services, and Mary Golden, technology librarian, display Nooks on Thursday, July 14, 2011, at Joliet Library Black Road Branch in Joliet, Ill. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 31, 2011 3:03PM
JOLIET — Bookworms who like to curl up in a nook with a good book can now take Nooks home with them from the Joliet Public Library.
The library recently started loaning out the latest version of Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-readers to patrons in an effort to promote the 2,000-plus titles in the library’s e-book collection.
“We want to get people to go to our website and check out individual titles to their own devices,” said Candy Van Tine, the library’s manager of branch information services. “We want to expose them to the e-readers and the technology.”
The loaner Nooks are an easy way to help people familiarize themselves with e-readers before they take the plunge and buy one, Van Tine said.
“There are still people who are afraid of it,” she said. “But it’s totally user friendly. It takes about 30 seconds (to learn).”
‘A library in a box’
Library cardholders can check out Nooks, which are pre-loaded with 10 bestsellers, for two weeks at a time at no charge. No deposit or credit card is required for the Nooks, which retail for $139 and were purchased by Friends of the Joliet Public Library.
Five Nooks are available at the main library, at 150 N. Ottawa St., and another five at the Black Road Branch, at 3395 Black Road.
“It’s kind of like a library in a box,” Van Tine said.
Joliet is the first area library to circulate the new Simple Touch Nooks, said Molly O’Sullivan, community relations manager for the Barnes and Noble in Joliet.
But it’s not the first district to offer e-readers. In fact, most area libraries now have them, said O’Sullivan, who helped the Joliet, Plainfield and other area library districts set up their programs.
The Plainfield Library has had its program since December and offers patrons Sony e-readers or Classic Nooks. The devices are always being checked out, said reference librarian Kara Kohn. And e-books are more popular than ever. In June, 1,270 e-books were checked out, more than double from last June’s total of 564.
“It’s growing every month and it’s very popular,” Kohn said. “You can search and browse our online collection 24/7 from anywhere in the world.”
The Joliet library has had e-books available for 19 months, but library officials believe the new Nook program will help publicize the collection.
Van Tine said she loves her own Color Nook, which can display magazines and newspapers in all their glory.
“The resolution and graphics are just amazing,” she said.
Accepting the e-reader into her life, wasn’t easy at first, she admitted.
“I really struggled with it,” Van Tine said. “I felt like a bit of a traitor. But I actually read now more than ever. It’s just so portable. I’ve always got mine in my purse.”
Good option for all
E-readers will be a good option for anyone who has physical or mobility issues, she added. The font size can be enlarged on the e-readers, so library patrons don’t have to wait for large-print versions of books to ship. Also, seniors who can’t drive or get out in bad weather won’t have to make a trip to the bricks-and-mortar library branches if they don’t want to, she explained.
Technology librarian Mary Golden said she believes the e-readers will soon be outmoded by tablet devices.
But Van Tine said for now, the e-readers are cheaper and more accessible to more people, if they’re willing to take the leap.
“The point is to be flexible enough to absorb change,” Van Tine said. “If you change with the times, if you try to stay current, it’s just using (technology) in a different way.”
Fines for the e-readers that aren’t returned on time are $1 a day. There is a limit to the number of e-copies of books that can be loaned out. Patrons can get on waiting lists for books, e-readers and e-books.
The program is fluid for now, Van Tine said during an interview at the Black Road Branch library on Thursday. As of that time, none of the e-readers had been returned. She’s waiting to see how users liked them and will adjust the program if need be.
“If we find something doesn’t work, we’ll change it on the fly,” she said. “This is all kind of a fluid process.”
People who love the feel of a printed page in their hands shouldn’t get too anxious, Van Tine consoled. Books will remain a part of the library for years to come. But so will e-books.
“Books aren’t going away, it’s just the delivery system is changing.”
Books have one big advantage over e-readers, too, O’Sullivan said.
“You can’t put them in the book drop,” she said of the e-readers.