Chances are very good that someone you know will receive an e-reader this holiday. That is, if they didn’t already get one last holiday, or for their birthday, or for Valentine’s Day, or for an anniversary.
That someone could even be you, and that e-reader could be something specifically designed for reading books, or it could be a tablet computer that does a dozen other things. And don’t forget that smart phone in your pocket. It will probably let you read e-books and listen to audio books as well.
While many e-readers and tablets are designed to make it easy to buy books online, did you know you may also be able to borrow e-books from your local public library? That’s right. You can get them at your library for no extra charge. Your tax dollars are already supporting your local library, so why not take advantage of their e-book offerings?
An article in USA Today Wednesday highlighted this increasingly common public library service. It even offers a link to a series of lessons on how to “cope with the technical peculiarities of library e-books.” (Note: the lessons are Windows-centric, but even if you’re an Apple fan boy or girl, there’s good information here.)
So which Oklahoma public libraries offer e-books and audio books through their websites for check out? According to information from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, seven of the state’s eight library systems offer the service. Here they are:
- Chickasaw Regional Library System serving Atoka, Carter, Johnston, Love and Murray counties;
- Eastern Oklahoma District Library System serving Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, McIntosh, Muskogee and Sequoyah counties;
- Metropolitan Library System serving Oklahoma County;
- Pioneer Library System serving Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties;
- Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma serving Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain and Pittsburg counties;
- Tulsa City-County Library System serving Tulsa County; and,
- Western Plains Library System serving Custer, Dewey, Roger Mills and Washita counties.
The Chickasaw system gets its downloadable e-book and audio book service through the OK Virtual Library, a consortium of public libraries in the state that have joined together to offer digital collections. You’ll also find 16 additional municipal libraries—from Miami to Guymon, Stillwater to Mustang, Enid to Duncan—that offer electronic and audio books through the OK Virtual Library. They offer books in ePub, Kindle, and audio formats. Plus, the list of participating libraries is growing!
(Update 11/18/11: Stillwater Public Library, which coordinates OK Virtual Library, has announced that six additional municipal libraries will “go live” with e-book and audio book downloads on November 28. Those libraries are in Ada, Alva, Durant, Marlow, Pryor and Vinita. So that brings the total to 22 municipal libraries with the service.)
If you don’t see your local library listed, check with the staff and see if they are planning the service in the future. With so many e-readers under the tree this year, it’s only a matter of time before you can “check-out” a digital book at your library.