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Pilot program lets people check out Kindles at Ekstrom

by UofL Today last modified Feb 15, 2011 09:44 AM

A new pilot program at the Ekstrom Library will allow UofL faculty, staff and students to borrow and browse books with Amazon Kindles.

The library has purchased five Kindles equipped with Wi-Fi for use during the semester-long pilot. Based on response, the library expects to continue the program. 

Library users began borrowing the Kindles at the beginning of the spring semester.

"Response so far has been overwhelmingly positive," said Rae Helton, Learning Commons coordinator.

"We expect the Kindles to appeal to anyone who wants to try an eBook reader before buying one," Helton added.

Each of the Kindles are preloaded with a selection of recent best-sellers, popular fiction and non-fiction books.  Some of the titles include "Freedom," "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Selected Poems of Wendell Berry," "Twilight" and "Freakonomics," which is this year's Book-in-Common.

Use of eBook readers at universities has expanded. Some schools including Pennsylvania State University, Duke University and Texas A&M allow users to download their own book choices.

That's something UofL could consider in the future, Helton said.

Helton said eBook readers devices have an important role in libraries because they provide a number of benefits to readers including convenience and having a lightweight and compact design as an alternative to books. 

The ebooks also have a smaller environmental impact and it's a cost effective way to read popular titles, Helton said. It's also faster to get books on their publication date. 

So far, faculty, staff and students have shown an equal interest in borrowing Kindles, Helton said.

There's currently a waiting list to borrow Kindles.

Those wanting to borrow one are encouraged to fill out a hold request form available on the library's website.

When there's not a wait list, users can rent a Kindle by taking their Cardinal Card to the Ekstrom Media Resources Service Desk (on the first floor east). Borrowers will also be asked to sign the eBook Reader Loan Agreement. The loan period for the Kindles is two weeks with no renewals.

After borrowing the Kindle, users are encouraged to offer feedback about the pilot program and device.

Helton said that feedback gathered during the pilot enables the library to modify equipment and content purchases, review loan periods, policies and procedures.

"If the pilot is successful, we hope to increase the number of ebook readers and title offerings," Helton said.

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