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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.

— Burke said that the technology and set-up of e-book borrowing in2005 “was not quite as sophisticated” as it is now, but they wanted to “get in early” so that they would be ready when the technology end of things was figured out.

“We didn’t have a big collection, and what we did have wasn’t used very much. Most of it was audio book downloads for the MP3 player, things like that. It was a pretty small part of our collective circulation. Then in2010 the tablet boom kind of hit,” said Burke. “When you look at e-book circulation, it’s certainly growing at a dramatic rate. I don’t think it’s replacing hardcover books but certainly it’s starting to have an impact.”

According to Benedetti, folks are also getting library cards solely to borrow e-books.

The Bethlehem Public Library has seen an increase in e-book circulation since they started with OverDrive in 2010. Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, the library’s director, said that it still is a “fairly small segment” of the library’s overall circulation.

In July of 2010 the library circulated 266 e-books. In July of 2011that number jumped to 668. Data for June show 1,484 e-books have circulated through the Bethlehem Library.

Kirkpatrick said there is usually a spike in e-book circulation right around Christmas, which is reflective of many patrons receiving electronic reading devices as gifts.

“They come into the library and go, ‘What do I do with it?’ and our librarians are experts (in helping them),” he said.

The library offers individual instruction on using the devices, as well as group classes. You can also borrow a Kindle from Bethlehem and a number of other area libraries.

Users can borrow a title for one, two or three weeks. After that time, the title simply expires and can’t be accessed. It’s makes overdue fines a thing of the past.

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