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Very recently the Friends of the Library presented me with a check for funds to be used to enhance our READS program by allowing our library to build its own e-book collection. I come to you this week with a grateful heart and an opportunity to attempt to explain just how this program works and how you can take full advantage of it.
The Regional E-Book and Download System (READS) is a service already provided to public library patrons all across the state of Tennessee. By simply having a library card and an internet connection, you may access over 50,000 titles both electronic print and audio formats at absolutely no cost. The one negative aspect to READS is that the entire state must share the limited licenses amongst all Tennessee libraries. This sometimes results in patrons being placed on a waiting list for popular titles, and sometimes that list can be very long.
There is, however, a bright side. READS offers a module called the Advantage program that allows an individual library to create its own e-book and audio book collection on top of what is available through READS. And, I am proud to say that because of this most recent contribution by the Friends, we will soon be one of those libraries! Once we are enrolled, I will be able to buy licenses solely for our patrons’ use. So, while the overall READS program may require a three-week wait time for a popular new title, our patrons may not have to wait or at least only wait a short time, provided we have a license for that title.
I would like to stress that the Friends have allowed us to “buy-in” to the Advantage program and provided enough residual funds to start a small library of licenses. This is, of course, an expensive program to take part in, but is much less expensive than attempting to do it outside the state consortium. Therefore, it will take a while to build a large collection, and licenses are not cheap, so please be patient as we progress.
If you are unfamiliar with READS, I invite you to take a look at www.reads.lib.overdrive.com and check it out. Almost any device or computer will allow you to check out books for free: Apple products, nearly all smart phones, MP3 players, desktops, laptops, Nooks, Kindles, Google Nexus tablets, and more. If you have questions or need instructions, please come by the Library and we will gladly assist you.
Lastly, I have big hopes for this program when it comes to youth literacy and classrooms. We do not carry audio books for young people, and I believe that READS is a more efficient way to reach our youth by allowing them to use the devices they are already so familiar with. Moreover, hard-to-find titles can be shared and collectively read in the classroom, opening up another resource for teachers.
If you are interested in contributing to our funds for licensing purchases, please give me a call so I can connect you to the appropriate Friend. I believe you will really enjoy READS and the advantage of having shorter wait lists and titles that are locally popular at your fingertips. There are no late fees to worry about and you can take your book with you anywhere you go. I am so excited about the opportunity to provide such a wonderful service to our community of readers and hope that you will enjoy the ease of READS.