Local library patrons soon will have a new way to read their favorite books.
Westmoreland Library Network is sponsoring an electronic-book lending program available to patrons of 29 Westmoreland County libraries -- including Murrysville Community Library and Delmont Public Library -- by early spring.
"There's a big change afoot in the publishing industry, and e- books are making a big splash," said Cesare Muccari, director of Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library. "Reading devices are becoming much more plentiful, and public libraries don't want to be left behind."
Muccari, chairman of the network's public relations committee, said network members started discussing e-book lending in July and decided to offer the option so that the libraries don't fall behind the technological curve.
There still are some kinks to work out before the program is launched, however, he said.
The network's e-book committee is establishing a collection of e- books and determining which e-readers will work with the program. The Amazon Kindle reader definitely won't work with the program, Muccari said.
E-readers won't be available for lending, but people who own e- readers could use their library cards to download e-books from the library network's website. The download would be available for a specified number of days, similar to the lending period of a bound book.
"We have to be nimble about this because it is changing," Muccari said. "The whole thing is very fluid. …