By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
Customer response to a new Kindle Touch lending service at Kaltreider-Benfer Library in Red Lion has been very positive, according to Library Director Don Dellinger.
“We started circulating them about a month ago,” Dellinger said. “There are none on the shelves. They are constantly going out.”
The library keeps a waiting list so everyone can have an opportunity to check out one of the five Kindles that come pre-loaded with 20 titles from the May 20 New York Times best-seller list.
A quick perusal of the list gleans popular titles such as “Deadlocked” by Charlaine Harris, “The Wind through the Keyhole” by Stephen King, and “The Passage of Power” by Robert A. Caro. There are plans to add new fiction and non-fiction best-sellers to the Kindles each month to consistently expand customer selection.
The library has been getting feedback, too. Several cardholders said they appreciated this service, as they are thinking about buying a device, and they liked trying it out first. Another customer wanted to take multiple books on vacation, and instead of loading up her suitcase, she borrowed a Kindle.
“We started this service after reading about some other libraries doing this throughout the country and thought our patrons might like it here,” Dellinger explained. Kaltreider-Benfer’s Kindle Touch lending service is a pilot program that is providing the library a way to explore this method of loaning books.
Tracking the use of the devices, customer feedback and suggestions will help the library evaluate the program’s success and explore future offerings.
“If it continues to be popular, we wouldn’t rule out adding more Kindles,” Dellinger said. She said they also considered purchasing a Nook for kids to borrow because of its engaging color format. Surveying parents will help the library determine if there is interest in this possibility.
Dellinger has another reason for launching this pilot program: some of the big publishers have not agreed to sell digital books to libraries. Certainly, there is hope that this will change, as it directly affects a library’s ability to provide customers with access to digital books published by these companies. But for now, the lending of the Kindle device with titles included might provide another way to meet this customer demand.
And, looking at the statistics, there is no doubt that there is a demand in York County for access to e-books based on the success of the York County Libraries’ eBranch that launched in April 2011.
In its first 24 hours, 400 e-books and e-audios were borrowed, and by the month’s end 2,700 were checked out. Fifteen months later, customers are checking out more 11,000 electronic items per month, and that number continues to climb. The numbers clearly indicate that library cardholders want to be reading e-books.
Deborah Sullivan is community relations director for the York County Library System.
How to borrow
York County residents interested in borrowing a Kindle Touch can do so at Kaltreider-Benfer Library, 147 S. Charles St., Red Lion. Staff can be reached at 717-244-2032. The following is required:
1. You must have a library card in good standing (without late fees, etc.). If you don’t have a card, get one at your local York County library. It’s free.
2. Call or visit Kaltreider-Benfer Library to be placed on the waiting list.
3. Fill out an agreement at the library.
4. When it is your turn, check the Kindle Touch out at the Kaltreider-Benfer Library location, and at the end of the two-week loan period, return it to the library’s main desk. It may not be placed in the book drop or returned through interlibrary loan.
Want to know what titles are loaded on the Kindle Touch devices? Log onto www.yorklibraries.org and search the words “Kindle Touch” in the library catalog.