Today I’d like to talk about the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library’s e-Books, Audiobooks & Downloadables. The link for that is http://www.imcpl.org/downloadables/. This page has links to the IMCPL’s digital holdings. These include OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks, EBSCO eBooks, Gutenberg, Google books, Freegal Music, and some on-line article.
Most of these resources are available to download. They can be checked out like physical media. Some of the eBooks will work on a Kindle. They all will work on a computer.
The OverDrive stuff is divided into three categories. There are regular eBooks, Disney books and audiobooks. The regular eBooks are fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults. They feature a wide variety of popular titles and classics. The books are available in Kindle Book, Adobe EPUB, and Adobe PDF formats so they can be downloaded to an eReader or read on the computer. Audiobooks are available as mp3s or WMA formats. In addition, there is a collection of interactive Disney books for children. These books require Adobe Flash and are only available to read on line. There is a limit of 25 titles at a time for 7, 14 or 21 days.
EBSCO eBooks is a division of the EBSCO company that we’ve explored earlier for articles. This service also offers fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults in the PDF format. Most of these books can be downloaded. A patron can check out 9 titles for 7, 14 or 21 days.
The IMCPL also has links to the Gutenberg Project and Google Books. Both of these resources offer unlimited downloads to keep of eBooks. The catch is, the books are all in the public domain and are generally older titles.
Freegal Music is an interesting service. It allows patrons to download three songs a week to keep forever. There are no limits other than the three songs per week restriction. The library isn’t as great as something like iTunes or Amazon, but the titles are increasing and it’s hard to beat free music.
There is also a section of articles and reference. The Gale Virtual Reference Library provides access to “selected reference resources in categories such as Arts, Business, History, Law, Literature, and Medicine.” This is similar to the databases we’ve used in past assignments for this S401 class. There is also the iLibrary Reference Databases. These give access to paid databases for public use.
I think these services are important because I think the digital resources are the future. For the library, they allow more resources without taking up space. They don’t wear out and can’t be lost or stolen. For the patron, they provide a convenience factor. One doesn’t even have to go to the library to read a book or hear some new music. It can all be done at one’s home computer. While I don’t think traditional print books are going anywhere anytime soon, I think the digital resources are an excellent compliment to them and something that more patrons will expect from their library in the future. I think the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library is doing a good job of keeping on the cutting edge by offering these resources to their patrons.