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Ruth Strauss, who is known as the technological guru of library volunteers, scrolls through selections on an Amazon Kindle. Robin Hartill
Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013 4 years ago

Library members check out new digital options

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Volunteers at the Longboat Library are now a little tech-savvier after a Wednesday, May 29 presentation.

Sarasota County Libraries staffers visited attended a Longboat Library meeting to teach volunteers how to help patrons access county digital materials with devices such as iPads, Kindles and other e-readers.

“A lot of our patrons still want to hold the book in their hands,” said Longboat Library President Trice Greene, who finds that the children or grandchildren of regular patrons are more likely to ask about e-books.

Anyone who has a valid Sarasota County library card can check out up to 10 e-books at a time, according to Ellen India, adult-services librarian. Manatee and Charlotte County residents can also register as reciprocal borrowers and check out materials.

There’s no need to visit the library. Users can browse books on the library’s website and add selections to a cart. If it’s not yet available, the request is placed in a queue, similar to a waiting list, and the member receives an email once it becomes available.

There’s no hold queue or limits on the county library systems’ online streaming videos. That prospect was exciting for at least a few volunteers who said they would watch “Downton Abbey,” available through the library system.

India told the group that even library staffers have trouble keeping up with the latest devices. Last year alone, there were 13 new devices released.

But interest in e-readers and e-books is steadily increasing among county library patrons, including senior citizens. India emphasized the importance of practice when it comes to using a new device.

“It’s like riding a bike,” she said. “You crash and you get back up.”

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