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Take Reading to Next Level with Library’s Ebooks

Users have 24/7 access to titles compatible with many e-reading devices

The Santa Barbara Public Library System has expanded its downloadable collection with the addition of eBooks at www.SBPLibrary.org.

From the comfort of home or anywhere, library card holders can browse the collection, check out and download eBooks anytime.

With budgets forcing libraries to reduce their hours, there is a need for services that can be accessed when the library is closed. For several years the Santa Barbara Public Library System, as part of the Black Gold Library Cooperative System, has offered thousands of audio books that may be downloaded via the library Web site to a home computer, and transferred to a portable listening device.

Beginning Aug. 16, downloadable eBooks for adults and young adults, readable on a computer or compatible eBook reader, also will be offered, with funding from a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the California State Library. The $36,179 grant will buy an “opening day” collection, with more titles to be added throughout the year. Each library also will get an eBook reader for staff and public training on the downloading process.

Training sessions for patrons will be scheduled during the fall at all library branches. Like all items in the library collections, the downloadable books are free to patrons. The Santa Barbara Public Library System’s opening collection features nearly 600 titles.

EBooks can be read on a PC or Mac using free reader software called Adobe Digital Editions. EBooks can also be transferred to e-reading devices. The eBook readers are designed to look and feel like a book and are great for users on the go. The devices feature a screen that reads like paper so it’s easy on the reader’s eyes.

“EBooks are growing in popularity and we are excited to offer this new format, in addition to thousands of audio books currently available,” library Director Irene Macias said. “We have purchased hundreds of best-selling and classic titles, all of which can be read on your computer or compatible portable reading device.”

To check out eBooks, users need a valid library card, a computer and an Internet connection. Once downloaded, they can be enjoyed on the computer or transferred to any of several compatible eBook reader devices, sold at bookstores and other stores. At the end of the lending period, titles automatically expire and are returned to the collection. Up to four eBooks may be checked out by an individual at any one time, and they may be returned early if desired.

— Christine Gallery represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.

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