Check This Out: Westmoreland Library Network Abuzz with E-Books

By Faulk, Erin | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Check This Out: Westmoreland Library Network Abuzz with E-Books


Faulk, Erin, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


When Westmoreland Library Network launched an e-book lending program in April, Penn Area Library Director Christine Miller was a little nervous.

A program that allows patrons to borrow library books by downloading them via the Internet could be confusing, and she was concerned about teaching the e-reader technology to people who no longer had to visit the library to borrow a book.

But now, she said, she shouldn't have worried.

"(The program) is running to capacity, basically," Miller said. "There is definitely a demand."

Patrons at Penn Area Library not only are using the technology, Miller said, but new patrons are using the library's resources because of e-books.

Cesare Muccari, chairman of the Westmoreland Library Network's public relations committee, said libraries throughout the county are seeing the same trend.

"I think 10 years from now, when people look back at this period, it's going to be clear that the last eight to nine months was the time for e-books," Muccari said.

According to Overdrive -- the company most libraries use to provide e-books -- the number of users in Westmoreland County continues to increase, Muccari said.

As of Aug. 5, he said, there were 3,932 checkouts since the program launched in late April. Of the 1,164 people registered to use the lending program, 711 were on a waiting list for e-books and audio books.

"We're only a little over three months in, and we already have this," Muccari said. "I've been following the stats, and we're definitely increasing the number of people coming on -- and I see that continuing."

Muccari said he believes the number of users will increase significantly next year, when the lending program becomes compatible with Amazon Kindle devices. Kindle is the only e-reader that can't be used with the lending program, but Muccari said the program is being updated and that Kindle should be compatible in January.

Although e-readers aren't available for lending at Penn Area Library, it bought some e-readers so that employees can learn to use them and be able to help patrons use their own devices, Miller said. …

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