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E-book Usage Increasing in Alachua County Libraries

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In December, the Alachua County Library District is hosting its “Hands-On Handhelds” workshops to help teach the community about the library’s free digital materials.

Many library card holders are now opting to check out books through electronic tablets, an effort to further increase e-book usage, which is already on the rise.

According to the Alachua County Library District, the eBranch library has had more than 200,000 checkouts in 2013 compared to 95,000 checkouts in 2011. The eBranch has become the ACLD’s third busiest location.

The district’s marketing and public relations manager, Nickie Kortus, said the reason for the increase in checkouts is accessibility.

“We’re also allowing them to access it at their convenience from their home and on their time frame. It’s basically available 24-7 so that gives them the flexibility they need whether doing a project for school or whether they want to read a book in the middle of the night or they’re going on a trip,” says Kortus. “You can go online at any time at your convenience from any location and access the library’s digital collection.”

The Alachua County Library District reports an average of 700 new electronic users per month.

One of these new users is Newberry resident Leigh Jones. She said reading e-books has made her life easier.

“I like traditional books but I also like the e-books because we travel a lot. Like recently we went overseas and we were going to be gone a month. So to take enough books to read in a month puts a lot of weight in your suitcase. But having them downloaded, it’s just one device,” Jones said.

Kortus said the e-books are popular because they appeal to a wide audience.

“You would think automatically that younger, technology savvy readers are the biggest users, and they are,” Kortus said. “However, because of the lighting adjustments and the font size adjustments older readers can make, it makes it very popular.”

When the Alachua County Library District started offering e-books in 2011, readers could choose from under 6,000 titles. They now provide more than 20,000 e-books. “Hands-On Handhelds” workshops are being held at different libraries throughout the county during month of December.

About Colette DuChanois

Colette is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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