Patrons of the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin now can use new e-book wireless stations and soon will be able to get e-readers on loan from the library.
Two 3M Cloud Library stations, one each at the main library and the Rakow branch, allow patrons to download e-books on iPhones and Android smartphones and Nook Color e-readers, said Denise Raleigh, division chief of public relations and development for the library.
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The library's staff is working out kinks so patrons also can use the 3M Cloud stations on Kindles, she said. The two stations cost a combined $2,500.
"It's a work in progress right now, but it's a really wonderful way for people to get their books," Raleigh said.
The library will begin loaning out 3M e-readers to patrons, hopefully before Christmas -- possibly as early as next week, Raleigh said.
The main library will have 19 e-readers and the Rakow branch will have nine, all of them available for a 28-day loan period. The library also has Nook e-readers available to check out in the youth department, Raleigh added.
"We very sensitive to the needs of our community, so people who don't have Internet at home can check out e-readers. It's about opening a new way of reading books," she said.
The 3M Cloud stations are in full color and more user-friendly than the OverDrive Media Console technology the library traditionally has used for e-books, Raleigh said.
The 3M Cloud stations only hold about 300 books, but that number is expected to increase over time, she added. Gail Borden has about 19,000 individual e-book titles and 50,000 copies overall.
Libraries across the nation are pushing publishers to make more e-books available to them, Raleigh said.
"What publishers don't realize is that people who will check out books in e-book form will also buy e-books," she said. "We are not competition to Barnes & Noble."
The Gail Borden Public Library serves almost 150,000 people in Elgin, South Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood and Bartlett.