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Vancouver libraries add e-readers

Vancouver Public Library patrons can now borrow Sony e-readers.

Vancouver Public Library patrons can now borrow Sony e-readers. (QMI AGENCY)

Vancouver Public Library says it’s joined the digital trend as city residents can now borrow Sony e-readers from its 22 branches.

Though the devices are more expensive than the typical book — $100 if bought at retail — they bring VPL into the digital chapter of service, said Christina de Castell, library director of resources and technology.

“There are books now available not published in print,” she said. “It’s just starting to emerge ... as a problem, (but) we expect to see more in the future.”

The libraries would have 60 devices spread throughout Vancouver. De Castell said West Vancouver, Burnaby, Victoria and Edmonton are already offering e-readers of their own.

Borrowers would have to either book the devices online if they’re not available, or they could approach each library’s customer service counter to ask for one.

The devices are wiped every time they’re loaned out, de Castell said, and residents have the choice to peruse the library’s collection of more than 20,000 e-books for download.

The entire project cost less than $10,000 to implement, she said.

“It’s important to us that everyone has access to technology and to their choice of reading material and format,” de Castell said.

“This is a way we can give people who don’t have access to tech at home the opportunity for us to try out e-books.”

The devices, however, cannot be returned at drop-off boxes and must be taken to counters at any branch. Each e-reader can be loaned for up to three weeks. The library urges borrowers to recharge the devices prior to their return. 


Should the Vancouver Public Library be lending out e-readers?

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