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Some library patrons in the dark on ebook technology

Electronic lending goes over heads of some library users.

June 01, 2012|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • A computer at the Pasadena Central Library Exploration Station displays resources on e-books and other digital files.
A computer at the Pasadena Central Library Exploration… (Roger Wilson / Staff…)

Electronic books and readers may be growing in popularity, but a random sampling of patrons at the Glendale Central Library recently revealed a certain knowledge gap about the trend.

“I did not know the library lends them to the public,” Nestor Del Rosario, a 62-year-old Eagle Rock resident, said of ebooks.

She was standing outside the library Thursday morning waiting for it to open.

“I don’t even know what the ebook is,” she added.

Aracelli Valdivia, a 41-year-old Glendale resident who was studying for a medical exam at the library on Thursday, did not know the library offered ebooks either, but she’d be open to trying it.

“I like the idea of ebooks,” she said. “It seems fast, more accessible. You don’t have to deal with [physically] searching for it.”

Geraldina Chiaramonte, who was toting a backpack of nursing books, was also unaware of the library’s e-lending system. The 43-year-old Glendale resident enjoys her iPad, but not for consuming books, she said.

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“I really prefer the convenience of a regular book,” Chiaramonte said.

Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman, however, has been a big proponent of using iPads to consume documents and cut down on paper waste.

Her interest was fueled by her experience on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Last year, the agency figured it could save around $89,000 a year by going paperless and giving its directors iPads to read massive staff reports and other documents.

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FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of money the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California could save going paperless.

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Now she uses the service all the time.

“I read it on the metro, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment,” Friedman said. “Or in those 10 minutes you have between meetings.”

With the library’s current e-lending system, patrons can download up to five books at a time to e-readers and keep them for 14 days before the book “disappears” from the device and is available for someone else to check out.

The automatic renewal could eventually save Glendale and Pasadena libraries a good portion of the $1,000 they spend each year to pay a third-party collection agency.

And for all those patrons who might be skeptical of converting from paper to screen?

“A book is a book,” said Burbank libraries director Sharon Cohen. “Once you get into the story, it doesn’t matter how important it is whether you’re holding a real book or a device.”

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