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Queens Chronicle

Jamaica library now lending out e-readers

They will be equipped with 25 new books and 50 works of classic literature

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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 2:03 pm, Thu Apr 26, 2012.

E-readers are compact, lightweight and can hold many books simultaneously — and now you can borrow one for free at the Queens Library’s central branch in Jamaica.

The pilot program began on April 12 with the location equipped to lend 50 e-readers. It is the first time such items have been available at a public library in the city. People can check one out for seven days, and renew it twice. There is a cost of between $85 and $130 for customers who lose or damage an e-reader.

The e-readers will have books in five categories — best sellers, romances, mysteries, teen’s or children’s books. There are 25 new books and 50 works of classic literature loaded onto each one. The readers will be refreshed every three months with more works.

Jasmine Baker, 22, who gives job training classes at the library as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, appeared excited about the chance to borrow the device.

“This is exciting and really awesome,” she said after taking one out for the first time, but she said she still plans to continue reading traditional books.

Since the technology is convenient for travel with text and lighting that are adjustable, they are appealing for a wide range of readers.As the progress of the pilot is evaluated and funding becomes available, e-readers will be introduced to other library locations.

Joanne King, the library spokeswoman, said since it was an expensive undertaking, the durability of the technology and whether people enjoy using it will play roles in whether more are purchased. They are presently all Nook brand e-readers, but King said that could change in the future.

She noted that Queens Library brass had been kicking around the idea of adding e-readers for awhile, but became more interested after the branches started to offer e-books.

“I don’t think they will ever replace real books,” King said, “but they have practical applications. Imagine a student being able to carry their entire summer reading list with them, already programmed in the reader.”

Welcome to the discussion.