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Aotearoa People's Network

Making E-readers easier at Oamaru Library

by Moata Tamaira

Photo: E-reader class underway
Christopher Meech of Oamaru Library demonstrates how to download e-books using APNK wifi.

Recently I heard through the grapevine (aka Facebook) that the staff at Oamaru Library were offering tutorial classes for people on how to use their e-readers.

There's no denying that devices for reading e-books have grown in popularity in recent years, but as with any piece of technology, owning one isn't the same as knowing how to use one!

With more and more libraries offering some form of e-book service, it makes sense that library staff will be the bridge between keen human readers and their e-reading devices.

Wanting to know more I got in touch with Christopher Meech, Reference & Heritage Librarian at Oamaru Library and picked his brain about the classes they will be offering.

What prompted you to offer e-reader classes for customers?

Customer demand motivated us to start our e-reader classes. People were consistently asking for advice and support with e-reading so we responded with classes to give them the opportunity to learn in a supportive group environment.

Offering e-reader classes also makes good, focused use of staff time. We need to invest time as well as capital support and promote our e-book and e-reader services.

What will you be covering in the class?

We cover everything you need to know to read a library e-book on your device. Classes are tailored to meet customers’ needs.

We look at how to find library e-books, how to log and loan e-books, returning books, registering devices with an Adobe ID, reader software, how to use an e-reader and more.

What are some of the challenges that come with e-readers?

Working with technology is always challenging and e-reading is no exception. Our customers’ digital literacy can vary hugely so we need to be very attentive to their individual needs and ability.

The diversity of devices can also be bewildering but a couple of deep breaths and Google can solve a lot of problems.

Up-skilling library staff to be comfortable with e-reader technologies is also an ongoing process.

How much of an e-book catalogue do you have at the moment? Is it popular?

Waitaki has about 300 purchased e-books as well as 1000 freely available titles. We also loan 10 e-readers.

E-book and e-reader usage is climbing healthily. Local schools are interested in our e-books and we actively promote them to students.

How important is having APNK free wifi available in terms of being able to offer this class?

It’s really handy to use the APNK free wifi for customers to connect and access library e-books, register Adobe IDs and become familiar with e-reading resources.

What other e-reading initiatives do you have planned?

We are just beginning loaning e-readers to a local rest home.

It’s exciting for the library to engage in technological outreach to a non-traditional area with such great possibilities.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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