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E-Books Grow Popular at White Plains Library

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains Public Library has been getting "flooded" with members who've decided to sign up for one-on-one, 30 minute e-book reader training sessions, according to Timothy Baird, the head of the library's adult services.

"In early September, the library purchased a Kindle, a Nook, and an iPad. We got all staff members trained so everyone is at least somewhat comfortable," said Baird. "Sunday instead of training sessions we did demo day. It was really incredible. At 2:30, right when it was supposed to start, we had about 30 people lined up, waiting."

Approximately 50 people came to demo day on Oct. 23, where Mayor Thomas Roach and library staff helped demonstrate how to loan and download digital books and audiobooks from the library's website onto devices for free.

The White Plains Library currently has about 3,500 e-books in its collection, however, staff will order about 80 or 90 new titles a month and have already begun adding Spanish e-books. White Plains Library cardholders also have access to the 3,095 e-books available via the Westchester County Library.

"Before we were doing one big order at the beginning of the year, but if you order it all at once, you miss the new releases in fall or winter. This way we'll get new titles out right away," said Baird, who has been at the library since 1999.

Supportable devices include PC Windows, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch, Sony Reader and Nook. The Amazon Kindle was recently added to the list.

Sandra Miranda, the library's director, said White Plains was the first library in Westchester to embrace e-books about six years ago.

"I thought, 'This is a sophisticated area. It's New York. We should be on top of that, so that when it's accepted we'll be experienced,'" said Miranda. "It's really taken until this year for it to take off."

After devices became more reader-friendly and costs dipped down, Miranda said she noticed Nooks and Kindles became popular holiday gifts.

"The older people we see say, 'I got this as a gift and I don't know what to do with it. I was going to give it away,'" said Miranda. "And then they find out they can download books for free from the library and say the arrangement is 'perfect.'"

The White Plains Library offers 30 minute, e-reader training sessions at 10:15 a.m. Monday through Thursday and at 7:15 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Appointments must be made ahead of time.

Have you ever downloaded digital or audiobooks from the White Plains Library? Would this service be useful to you? Join the conversation below.

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