Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Tis a Brand New Way of Reading

Charlotte Canelli is library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read her entire article in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

‘Twas the night after Christmas and my goodness, come look!
It’s an Amazon Kindle and a Barnes and Noble Nook.
The stockings are hung by the bookcase nearby.
But the library’s busy and I’m telling you why.
You’ve been given an eReader and you haven’t a clue.
My goodness, oh my and what do you do?

So, you’ve been surprised, or not so much, by the gift of an eReader this year. Believe me, the library world has been surprised along with you.

Several months ago we held a Technology Petting Zoo at the library and over thirty of you showed up to learn a bit about the gadgets that we shared. Among them were the Apple products, the iPad, iPod, iTouch and iPhone. We also demonstrated a few GPS navigational devices such as the Magellan, Garmin and Tom-Tom.

By far the most popular devices that night, however, were several generations of the Amazon Kindle, the Sony eReader and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

Many of us who work at the library own and use some of these devices regularly so that we are able to share ours with you.

Only some of us, however, are reading eBooks on devices that include the iPhone and Kindle, the Nook and the Sony eReader. Less of us are downloading free e-audiobooks and e-books.

Part of the reason for this is personal preference and immediate availability of the book. Part of it too has been some of the difficulty and confusion that have been inherent in this new technology. Much like the VHS/Beta struggles in the birth of the videocassette there have been some differences in equipment and media. Unlike the videocassette battle, however, there have been many more than two devices and many, many ways to be confounded by them.

And the choices this holiday season have been mindboggling.

We’ve been trying to play catch up at the library and the companies that are supplying our downloadable eBooks and audiobooks have been anxious to help. They have produced cheat-sheets and FAQs pages. Not fast enough for us, I might add. Each month more and more devices are added to the compatibility lists and more and more downloadables are produced in various formats. It’s been enough to make our heads spin at the library.

OverDrive audiobooks and e-books are supplied through our membership in the Minuteman Library Network. We are thrilled to offer this new media at no cost to you. Both Minuteman and your library have been investing as we all make the leap into the future and more and more materials are available in various formats.

The Morrill Memorial Library has had a subscription to Recorded Books audiobooks and eBooks in conjunction with NetLibrary for several years. These free downloadables are now available for iPod and iPhone users and titles for most formats are added monthly.

These services are costly and licenses from OverDrive and Recorded Books require that our downloadables are available only to Norwood residents and to those of our patrons who work in Norwood. Check our website for instructions on setting up accounts for both of these free services.

The Morrill Memorial Library has a brand-new website found at the same URL, We’ve placed links to both of our downloadable collections, OverDrive and Recorded Books Connect, Click and Listen! (They are the same links you would have found on our old website.) You can also find these links on the menu under Readers Page below our library graphic that will link you to information and FAQs to help you find the information you need.

New Apple-products users (iPad, iPhone, iTouch and iPods) can be assisted at no cost at the “Genius Bar” in the Apple store at Legacy Place and other locations. The fastest way to get help is to make an appointment with them online through My husband, Gerry, and I have bellied up to the Genius Bar at least a half-dozen times and have left the store completely satisfied.

Barnes and Noble stores are patiently assisting patrons with their product, the Nook. Many of the OverDrive books are compatible for use on the Nook. The Morrill Memorial Library has purchased a Nook and will be able to demonstrate how to download an e-book or audiobook at an information session at the library in January. We want to be able to help you with free downloadable audiobooks and e-books from your library.

Amazon’s Kindle at present is not compatible with any free downloadables through any library. Some libraries do own Kindles loaded with library-purchased e-books for use by their patrons. Our library does not own a Kindle or circulate one at this time.

None of us are experts, but the library wants to help direct you to find the information you need for your new devices this holiday season. Information can be found on the links I’ve mentioned above. Please check the library’s calendar for a date and time for our information session or call the library directly.

If you have questions about this library column, please call the library or send me an email. For help searching in the Minuteman catalog or for placing requests for downloadable e-books and audiobooks visit the Morrill Memorial Library or call the Reference librarians (781-769-0200.) Visit the Minuteman Library Catalog, the OverDrive Digital Media catalog or the Recorded Books Connect, Click and Listen! on our website,