Figuring out the library’s new eBook service

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

By Becky Nichols

Many of you have asked about the “hows” and “whats” of the new eBook service that will be offered in June.

“Is there a charge?” This has been asked quite a few times. The answer is the same as if you asked about borrowing a traditional library book. There is absolutely no charge for eBooks or any of the versions of digital reading.

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The library is able to offer this new service through a consortium with other libraries of our size and whose budgets are not large enough to sustain an individual subscription. There are endless titles available and publishers have their own policies which govern the borrowing of their media. However, through the distributor we have chosen, we will be able to offer around 15,000 titles to you our readers. These can be delivered FREE to your device of choice.

The support for this project comes from our local budget, which we receive from the City of Selma and the Dallas County Commission. We have also been “jumpstarted” into this venture by a donation from one of our very good library friends. This support enabled us to match the total annual subscription and put us on the road to making this venture a reality.

Our library may not be defined as “cutting edge” technology but we surely have been able to keep our heads above the water level. Our 47 computers run well (most days!), our scanners and copiers are busy and our FAX machine hums from opening to closing. So we are delivering the kind of services that are needed.

Ebooks are a new way to keep our services new. Many folks have called and said that they have not used their library in a long time, but now will certainly want to get their cards updated and use eBooks. So, we’re excited about the renewal of interest in reading and enjoying the library via offsite locations.

“How do I access the new eBooks?” To borrow eBooks from our library, you will first need a library card. This may mean that you need to update and renew your card, clear your card of fines or possibly get a new card. During National Library Week, we had a Fine Free opportunity which many people used to clear their cards. They brought food for the local community in exchange for fines.

You may have missed that event, but you may still clear your card by returning your books and settling your fine. To renew your card, just come by or call us. The only cost is for a replacement card and that is $1.

Once you have your card ready, you visit our website, There will be an eBook icon ready for you to click into a site called Camellia Net. That is the name of the consortium of which our library is a member.

From that point, you are looking at options for reading discovery that will be fun and easy. The menu is user friendly with filters for Kindle only and other options that will make searching easier. When you are ready to borrow a title and you may borrow up to five, you log in with your library card number and begin the download process.

With some titles which may be in use, you will have to reserve the book. You will be notified by email when you may borrow it.

The download step may require a bit of “tweaking” as there are many devices with varying dates of purchase.

But there are many help icons also and your friendly librarian is only a phone call away.

Books are available on your device for two weeks and then”zapped” away. There will be no overdue books with eBook services.

We are truly excited about the new eBook service and see this as another way to fully serve our community with the best information resources possible.

That is our commitment as we plan for the future of library services for the people and families of Selma and Dallas County.