As shoppers stock up on the latest e-readers for holiday gifts, local libraries are joining in the craze. During the last month, public libraries in Durango and Bayfield have introduced e-readers to their collections.
So far, the devices have been a hit with library patrons. Waiting lists to check them out are growing. Depending on demand in the coming months, library staff said theres a good chance the e-readers will become a bigger part of their collections in the future. But they will never replace books.
Durango Public Library introduced 10 Nooks Barnes & Nobles version into circulation in November, said Andy White, the librarys director. They are preloaded with fiction or nonfiction books and also can be loaded with any book in the librarys collection of digital books.
Word is starting to spread about the Nooks, and now they are checked out almost all the time, said Donna Arment, who does business research with the library.
People want to know how they work and what they feel like, or use one while theyre traveling over the holidays, said Sandy Irwin, the librarys assistant director.
Durangos Library Advisory Board proposed buying the Nooks and received funding from the Friends of the Library group.
Haz Said, a member of the advisory board, said the decision to buy the e-readers came from long discussions about how to continue to make the library relevant and valuable in the community.
The idea of the library is changing, and were always asking the question, Is this what the Durango library should be, is this the right time for this technology? he said. Its pretty easy to start to equate relevance with the latest thing, but we try to be more careful than that.
In terms of cost, there isnt much difference between the readers and traditional paper books, Irwin said. The initial cost of the Nooks is higher, but digital books cost less and can be shared on multiple readers, she said.
The e-readers also allow the library to provide several copies of best-seller novels without filling up the shelves with books that may become a passing fad, said Sheryl Ayers, president of the friends group.
The Lavenia McCoy Library in Bayfield introduced e-readers this week. As of Wednesday, circulation staff said only one device wasnt checked out.
Laura Tretter, the librarys assistant director, said e-readers have been a great resource for people hoping to try them out before buying one for Christmas. People also are a bit surprised that the library is offering such progressive technology, she said.
Were just hoping (the readers) are going to keep us current and relevant with our patrons, Tretter said. Were trying to meet their demands as they shift reading patterns.
Staff members also are hopeful that the e-readers may attract people who normally wouldnt pick up a book.
There are people who will perhaps read their first book in a long time because they can read it on the Nook, Ayers said.
Both libraries said it took a bit to get used to using the e-readers and syncing them with the librarys collection.
The Durango Public Library requires patrons to read through an instructional PowerPoint slideshow before they are authorized to check out a Nook.
The Colorado Library Consortium, which provides support services to Colorados public and academic libraries, is on a steep learning curve to adjust to the ins and outs of the reader programs, said Executive Director Valerie Horton.
This is all so new, she said. Check with us in a year well have a handle on it.
Most libraries in the state are at least perking up their ears to e-readers, said Nicolle Steffen, director of the library research service division of the Colorado State Library.
The chatter is that libraries in Colorado and around the nation are experimenting with technology because it is something that patrons are looking for, she said. Two-thirds of public libraries are offering e-books. The reader may be next logical step.
Library staff in Durango and Bayfield said they could envision expanding e-reader offerings in the future, depending on customer demand.
When Barnes & Noble comes out with Nooks in color, Irwin said the Durango Public Library may consider buying a set to use for childrens picture books.
Right now, staff is just waiting and watching, she said.
It all depends on peoples reaction to not holding a book in their hands, she said.