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Books go into OverDrive

Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, director of the Bethlehem Public Library shows off a Kindle reader available to library patrons. The electronic readers are pre-loaded with titles from the library’s collection. They are not able to download other e-book titles, however.

Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, director of the Bethlehem Public Library shows off a Kindle reader available to library patrons. The electronic readers are pre-loaded with titles from the library’s collection. They are not able to download other e-book titles, however. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Whether you prefer to read a book printed on paper or appearing on a screen can be a very personal decision. But thanks to OverDrive, a program within the Upper Hudson Library System, you can now find both at your local library.

A total of 1,835 copies of e-books were circulated in the entire library system (which includes 29 libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties) in the program’s inaugural year, 2006. So far this year there have been 41,453 e-books circulated – and it’s only half over.

Over 10,000 eBooks titles are available through the library system’s OverDrive program. While the popularity of eBooks is growing, there does not seem to be any trend pointing toward the demise of our tried and true paper bound books.

“This is not the end of books,” said Tim Burke, executive director of the Upper Hudson Library System.

There are over 2 million items (including DVDs, e-books, books and magazines) among the libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System circulated every year, so physical borrowing still has a big leg up on electronic exchanges.

The Southern Adirondack Library System, including Saratoga, Warren, Washington and Hamilton counties and the Mohawk Valley Library System, which includes Schenectady, Schoharie, Montgomery and Fulton counties, also offer OverDrive.

Burke said the majority of library systems in the state are offering “some kind of downloadable content.”

The idea of getting e-books via OverDrive started in 2005 when Jo-Ann M. Benedetti, manager of Information and Outreach Services for the Upper Hudson Library System, discovered the program when it was introduced at a library association conference.

“Our libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties got very excited, and we decided to pursue it. This is one of the services that we wanted to provide,” said Benedetti.

OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are the content provider for Upper Hudson Library System and many others throughout the country.

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