Last month, Douglas County Libraries collaborated with our local Best Buy to offer a electronic petting zoo for patrons and staff. With a staff member on hand, Best Buy brought one of every type eBook reader to the Philip S Miller Library in downtown Castle Rock, Colorado, so patrons could explore and ask questions.
Patrons were also excited to hear that not only does Douglas County Libraries have new eBooks available for download through the library catalog, but we also recently added 500 additional classic eBook titles to the catalog from Project Gutenberg, that can be downloaded to their new eBook readers. This is in addition to the 15,000 Gutenberg titles available through OverDrive. (All readers allowed you to downloaded free books from the library, with the exception of the Amazon Kindle. However, it, too, was available for patrons to experience.)
As one of DCL’s digital resource librarians, I was at the event to help, and the library was fortunate to also work with Sarah Jack, from the Best Buy in Parker. Together, we explained the advantages and disadvantages of each eBook reader. Over 200 patrons came to the library to figure out this new work of eBook readers. The library also provided copies of the December 2010 Consumer Reports article on eBooks, and several additional articles, to compare one eBook with another.
Douglas County Libraries is grateful to Sarah Jack and the Parker Best Buy for taking the time to reach out to the community and share their expertise. We hope to do more partnerships in the future as we recognize the average consumer is overwhelmed with the tech choices and appreciates finding someone willing to take the time to explain it all. (One patron also walked away with the $25 gift card donated by Best Buy.) The library will be offering additional opportunities to learn about eBook readers and other devices in the weeks to come.
Hutch Tibbetts is Digital Resources Librarian at Douglas County Libraries in Colorado.