Bryan-College Station Libraries eBook collection gains momentum, nears 1,000 titles
Many people believed libraries, like Walkman's or VHS tapes, would become just another casualty on technology's speedway. But, the Bryan-College Station Public Library has found an innovative way to stay current through its eBook collection, and its popularity is picking up the pace.
Through the Friends of the Library and a $10,000 grant provided by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Bryan-College Public Library has purchased over 800 titles for their eBook collection, and continues to add 30 to 40 titles every month.
"eBooks are a vital part of the future of libraries," says Larry Koeninger, division manager for library services with the City of Bryan. "This is a service we need to provide if libraries are going to stay relevant to the way people live."
The concept began when Koeninger asked the Friends of the Library, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support local library services, to initiate a program to determine the interest, and potential success, of eBooks in the local library system. Friends of the Library entered a three-year contract with Overdrive, a technological support company that provides a website and app enabling the library to purchase titles so patrons can check them out by downloading them on an electronic device.
The program launched February 15, 2012. It began with 78 titles and has grown 90 percent in just one short year. Nearly 6,000 checkouts have been transacted.
"We have had a great response from the public," says Koeninger. "We will definitely find a way to continue this program when the contract expires in 2014."
Local library systems receive 4.5 percent of the City of Bryan's general funds. The Bryan-College Station Public Library also relies on the Friends of the Library to fund programs, including story times and programming for teens and adults for the last 40 years. The library actively seeks out grants, and has been awarded the Barbara Bush Literacy Corps grant and the Texas Book Festival grant for several years. The current grant with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is to exclusively fund eBook title purchases, and the library has added 350 titles since receiving the grant in September.
The books are easily checked out to anyone with a library card, and are downloadable to any device or device app, including Kindle or Nook. These apps are available for most smartphones and tablets.
For more information on the Bryan-College Station Public Library System, or to download the OverDrive app, visit the library website.