Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

WLS to Participate in International Big Library Read Program

September 10th, 2013 No comments

We are happy to announce that we are joining over 6,000 libraries and schools by taking part in the Big Library Read program. Westchester library card holders will be able to borrow and enjoy eBook and audiobook versions of the Big Library Read book, “Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth” by Jane O’Connor, from September 16th through September 30th by visiting


Big Library Read is an international program that gives libraries and library patrons unlimited simultaneous access to a popular title for a two-week period, creating a virtual, global book club. Interested patrons will be able borrow Book 1 in the Nancy Clancy series using a valid library card, and enjoy on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Nook®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindle® without worrying about wait lists or holds. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period. There are no late fees!

The Big Library Read program is made possible through a partnership between OverDrive, the leading supplier of eBooks and more to libraries, and HarperCollins, publisher of the best-selling Fancy Nancy series of children’s titles. To borrow the eBook and audiobook versions of “Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth” as part of Big Library Read, patrons can visit

Libraries = Intellectual Capital = Wise Investment in the Future

April 15th, 2013 No comments

An investment in our libraries is not only a wise investment in our county’s future it is an investment that insures Westchester’s place as the intellectual capital of New York. There is a return on investment that is more than just financial. It’s about empowering libraries and empowering communities to serve the public good. Take for example the role libraries played during October’s Hurricane Sandy.

Proving that libraries are more than just repositories of books and information, community building at the library could not be more evident than during that storm. Libraries were the “go to” hot spot – literally. They became the community living room and they were packed! Patrons connected and kept warm. They recharged not only their devices, but their spirits, dampened by nature’s sudden disruption of their lives. To meet the demand, Westchester libraries expanded their hours to accommodate patrons and youth librarians developed engaging programs
for students and their parents who found themselves with a long unexpected school break. Entrepreneurs who typically work from home set up shop in the local library, barely missing a beat. And Westchester Library System’s website kept county residents informed of each library’s online status, WiFi availability, and expanded hours.

What is the most significant return on investment in our libraries? Consider this – in a world where knowledge is power, the library’s free access to information, cultural, and educational resources can empower everyone. In Westchester, more than 7 million library visitors a year take advantage of these resources. Some of those visitors attended the nearly 25,000 library sponsored programs –author talks, story- telling, film screenings, art shows, concerts – all free of charge.

The Westchester Library System (WLS) works to empower libraries with effective capacity building tools and services. A strong library system is critical in the delivery of millions of dollars worth of enhanced services for a fraction of the cost of providing these services separately. And while WLS helped Westchester libraries save over $100,000 per year through centrally provided internet access, technology maintenance service, and upgrades – patrons benefited from free use of computers, internet access and WiFi at 44 library sites. (That’s twice as many Starbucks in Westchester – just in case you were wondering.)

With more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies requiring job applications to be completed online – libraries’ free access to the internet levels the job playing field. WLS further strengthens Westchester’s workforce offering programs in career opportunities, job search, resume writing and interviewing, and connections to the county’s One Stop Employment Center in Westchester libraries.

Keep in mind too, that the System’s 500,000 library card holders (about half the total county’s population) benefit from the cost efficient WLS’ delivery system and interlibrary loan service. More than 1 million items are loaned between the county’s libraries each year. This includes DVDs, audio books, e-books, books, and other print materials. Databases, including Morningstar and Lexis Nexis, language learning tools, and skill building programs, are just a few of the myriad of knowledge resources available online 24/7!

Are you still wondering why anyone would still go to the library to do research when you can ‘Google’ it from home? Ask a research librarian (there is one in your library!); Westchester librarians answered 1,531,058 reference last year. While Google can give you 50,000 responses to your inquiry, your librarian can help you find the one answer you need.

The return on investment can be measured not only by financial impact, but also by our collective community pride in opening the door to knowledge, changing a life, promoting quality of life, and insuring Westchester’s place as the intellectual capital of New York.

It’s National Library Week. Thank your local librarian. And take just one minute and join us in the celebration by making an investment in Westchester’s future with a contribution today.

eBooks are great, especially at your library!

December 27th, 2012 No comments


Digital content is everywhere you look and as it continues to grow, print media is falling by the wayside.  Many small local newspapers have already closed and the most recent big announcement of Newsweek ending its print operation soon, only highlights this more.  This is also being felt in the book publishing world and has a major impact on libraries.  It is significantly cheaper to produce and deliver an electronic book to a consumer then with a print book.  It is also far more convenient and cheaper for the consumer.  Considering the average bestseller is about $10.00 cheaper in electronic format than in print, and that a major brand name eBooks reader can be purchased for less than $100, a regular reader can quickly realize savings without having to cart around the heavy paper book or store when they’re done.

It wasn’t long after eBooks hit the mainstream that library users wanted the same convenience.  In Westchester, libraries are delivering this service to their patrons and it is being met with overwhelming popularity.  There are more than 13,000 eBooks available for patrons to download.  All they need is a library card from a library in Westchester.  And how popular is it?  In 2011, library patrons downloaded just over 87,000 items from our catalog.  This year, we’ve already circulated well over 120,000 as of the end of September.

As wonderful as it is to be able to offer the service, it is not without its challenges.  All of this material must be licensed from the publishers.  It comes at a significant cost, much more than print media.  The library must pay the publisher for each simultaneous use of a book in electronic form.  Therefore, if we want to make it possible for two people to read the same book at the same time we must purchase two licenses.  Sometimes it is challenging to explain why someone must wait for digital copy of a book.  However, we have found that once people understand that the material is licensed and that they have to wait in order for the checkouts to not violate the publishers rules, they are happy to wait their turn.  In 2013, WLS is undergoing an even further expansion of its eBooks offerings to the public.  It is also begun a more complete integration of eBooks into its online catalog so that people can find what they want for one simple search.  We launched a new online catalog in October!

It’s often asked if this means the end of print books and of the physical library building.  I don’t think so.  Libraries will likely always have some books and sometimes nothing beats holding a print book in your hand.  I also don’t think the physical library is going extinct.  However, it is evolving.  The concept of the library as community center is already becoming a reality.  Visit your local library and check out the programs that they are offering the public.  It has been a long time since the library is only a place for print books.  It is now a place where people go to experience books.  Story times, book groups, and the like, are commonplace in every library.  Libraries are a center for innovation, a place for research, a portal to discovery and much more.  Part of that discovery and innovation is the introduction of eBooks into the library model.