Local Libraries Work To Accommodate Tech Savvy Readers

By Addison Speck, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Kindles, iPads, and other tablets are picking up in popularity and local libraries are working to accommodate tech savvy readers.

"We're working with publishers as much as we can to try and get as much content to our customers," said Amber Mussman, with the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

According to a Pew Internet and American Life Project study, the number of people reading e-books jumped up 23 percent in the past year. Mussman said the number of E-book downloads from the Cedar Rapids Public library continues to grow, especially the past two weeks.

"Since the holidays have happened, we have seen an up-tick in the amount of downloaded media in the library," she said.

The library has also taken a lot of calls from people asking how to use their e-reader and how to get set up to download books through the library's system.

Mussman said while people are used to coming to the library and finding the bestseller they are looking for, that's not always the case with e-books. She said the library continues to buy whatever comes available but some publishers don't allow certain e-books to be purchased by libraries. She adds that e-books also come with a bigger price.

"We might spend 15 dollars on a book you would put on a shelf and 80 dollars on a book that you can download," Mussman said.

With a library card, readers can download books right to their device from home. Erin Stancel, of Vinton, was at the Cedar Rapids Public Library on Thursday renting audio books but said she rents e-books all the time on her Amazon Kindle Fire.

"I love it, I am able to get a book instantly," she said, "It's really nice to be able to rent them, so when you are done, you can return them so it doesn't take a bunch of space up on your memory."

Stancel bought her kids a children friendly tablet made by Leapfrog for Christmas.

"I'm scared for my kids because they won't know what it's like to hold a real book," she joked. "Everything is going to be electronic by that point."

Both Stancel and Mussman agree there will always be those who love turning a page or putting in a bookmark.

"It's not that books are going away, I think we just see that people want access to these types of entertainment in multiple ways," said Mussman.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library has offered e-books since 2009. They are currently looking at a new e-book platform that they hope will bring more book availability in the future. Both the Cedar Rapids Public Library and the Marion Library are currently offering classes to those who have e-readers or tablets but don't know how to use them.
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