Library offers e-books, e-readers to students

Library offers e-books, e-readers to students

Hard-to-find books and new titles will now be easier to access through JFK library’s new e-book program.

The library’s plan is to purchase digital copies of books from Amazon and Barnes and Noble when the hard copy is hard to come by and then load the e-book onto a Nook or Kindle for students to check out just like a real book.

So far, Interlibrary Loan has acquired 10 Nooks and 10 Kindles and has withheld five of each specifically to be used in the event that a book is needed urgently and there is no hard copy on hand. The rest of the e-readers are available to be checked out to anyone who wants to check out an e-book that has already been purchased by Eastern Washington University and been entered into the catalog.

“Depending on what the request is, sometimes we’re just unable to fill it, especially if it’s a popular title,” said Joanne Percy, an Interlibrary Loan specialist. Last year the library had trouble keeping enough copies of “The Hunger Games” series on the shelf.

“We couldn’t get it because so many others were requesting the same title. It is for those requests that we just can not fill like popular titles, books that have just been published or rush requests especially for faculty members that sometimes need something within a few days,” said Percy.

Instead of a possible five to 10 day wait period for a book to be sent from another library, students can  have access to their materials the same day they request it, usually within 30 minutes according to Percy.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get things, but other times it can be really hard to find a library who is willing to lend something to us. This is a way that we can get those things into the hands of students almost immediately,” said Carolynne Myall, collection operations coordinator.

Interlibrary Loan services are currently free to students and faculty regardless of the request, but it still costs the program on average more than $15 per request, according to the library’s website. Buying digital books is usually a less expensive option than buying or borrowing a hard copy from another library.

“Often times the books for Kindles and Nooks are cheaper than the print copy. If you also take into account that when we borrow something from another library we have to pay them… plus shipping costs… so it often costs less when we get an e-book. Then we also don’t have to worry about losing and having to replace an e-book,” said Percy.

Students will still have the option of waiting for a hard copy of the book that they requested through Interlibrary Loan if they do not like using or do not want to check out an e-reader. The only type of ebooks students will not be able to request are textbooks.

According to Percy, in about six months the program will be assessed to see if more e-readers need to be bought.

“We’re hoping to add more e-readers over the course of the next year. We’re trying to make this as much like checking out a book as possible. We thought that’d be familiar to people, so you can check out [an e-reader] for three weeks,” said Myall.

E-readers will be available for checkout, just like cameras and laptops, through the lower level service desk in JFK library.