Begin New Year in brave new world of e-books

In the spirit of new ideas for the New Year, all this month we’re taking a closer look at innovations in the book world.

While e-books and e-readers have been around for some time, they have made a transition from being used primarily by early adopters to being embraced by mainstream readers in just a few short years.

Three out of 10 books purchased are e-books, according to a Book Industry Study Group report released in October.

The group is the book industry’s leading trade association for policy, standards and research and has gathered data on e-books for four years.

In addition to buying e-books, readers have access to thousands of titles they can borrow through their local libraries. Just as there are physical books sitting on library shelves, there are digital books on digital shelves. You just have to know where to look.

To help readers navigate this new world of ebooks, Mesa County Libraries is offering free one-hour workshops at various branches to help library patrons learn how to borrow books on their e-readers, whether they’re smart phones, tablets or laptops.

Librarian Ike Rakiecki and Library Assistant Andy Hamilton led the first workshops this year on Thursday. More workshops are scheduled Jan. 14–23.

Rakiecki said he’s taught e-reader workshops for three years. The classes are timed to target the post-Christmas season when many people receive e-readers as gifts and are new to the devices.

That was evident on Thursday afternoon at the Clifton branch library when several of the two-dozen-plus people gathered for the workshop expressed they hadn’t even turned on their new e-readers yet.

They soon were put at ease. Rakiecki and Hamilton had step-by-step handouts for various devices and walked everyone through the steps of accessing the library’s digital holdings while projecting the library’s website on a large screen.

Rakiecki and Hamilton avoided jargon, repeated instructions and were respectful of all questions — they didn’t alienate and they didn’t condescend. The workshop is geared to patrons with a wide range of comfort with technology. Even for people who may feel intimidated by new technology, it is a very friendly environment. And for those comfortable with technology, they were able to get the answers they needed quickly.

Hey, if library patrons can figure out the Dewey Decimal System, we can figure out e- 0books, right? We’ve got this!

One participant with a new Google Nexus tablet said she’d tried to navigate the library’s e-book system on her own but couldn’t. She saw the notice of the workshops in The Daily Sentinel and “thought I’d come down and check it out while I had the time.”

After hearing a short presentation, participants split into two groups, depending on their e-reader devices. Those with app-driven readers, such as iPhones, iPads and Nooks, went to one side, and those working off a website, such as with Kindles, Sony Readers and laptops, went to the other.

The library uses OverDrive Media Console for e-books and audiobooks. If you’ve checked out audiobooks in years past, you’ll find this system much more intuitive.

A participant with Kindle described himself as a “voracious” reader.

He reads both print and e-books, but reading ebooks, especially while traveling, is “convenient and it’s economical,” he said.

Reading helps pass the time flying, whether it’s a 5 1/2-hour flight to London or a 16-hour flight to Sydney, he said, and you can load up an e-reader with as many books as you want for your vacation and not bog down your luggage.

Library patrons can check out up to five e-books or audio books at a time, for up to three weeks.

If you just need a few resources for borrowing e-books, the handouts from the workshops are available at at the heading Downloadable Media Help.

But if you’d like to attend a workshop, the rest are listed below. Bring your e-reader and your library card. By the time you leave you’ll be checking out e-books and audiobooks.

■ 2 p.m. Jan. 14, Orchard Mesa Branch, 230 Lynwood St.

■ 6 p.m. Jan. 14, Clifton Branch, 590 32 Road.

■ 6 p.m. Jan. 16, Palisade Branch, 119 W. Third St.

■ 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Fruita Branch, 324 N. Coulson St.

■ 6 p.m. Jan. 23, Central Library, Fifth Street and Grand Avenue.

The library also offers weekly one-on-one assistance with any technology questions at the Central Library from noon to 2 p.m. on Tech Table Tuesdays.

Have news about local authors, bookstores, book clubs or writing groups? Email Laurena Mayne Davis at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Davis is the director of marketing and product development for The Daily Sentinel.


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