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76% of US Libraries Offer eBooks, Nearly 2 in 5 Lend eReaders

April 16th, 2013 by · 9 Comments · digital library, surveys & polls

7413758502_b9b95654cb[1]The major publishers might not be all that interested in selling ebooks to libraries but the feeling is not mutual.

The American Library Association released their annual state of the library report today, and in spite of the lack of publisher support the adoption of ebooks and ereaders is up. Over three-quarters of American libraries reported in the survey that they lend ebooks, up from 67% in the previous survey.  The libraries are now using a wide variety of vendors, including ebrary, 3M Cloud library, Axis360, as well as others.

A growing number of libraries are also lending ereaders to their patrons. The report showed that 39% of the 7,200 plus libraries surveyed lent ereaders, up from 28% in the previous survey. That is a remarkable increase, and  I can also confirm this anecdotally. I have seen a number of news reports over the past few months of libraries announcing new ereader collections, including newly purchased Nook Touch ereaders.

This report also shows that more Americans than ever are using their libraries, and libraries are working to meet that demand. Over 91% of US libraries now offer free Wifi and internet, with 62% indicating that they were the only source of free internet access in their communities. Some are even considering following in the footsteps of BiblioTech, the bookless public library located in Bexar County. That library is still on schedule to open in Fall 2013, and it will stock ereaders and tablets for patrons to use or check out as well as a sizable ebook collection.

The data in this report comes from the annual survey which is conducted every Fall, so it is fairly out of date by this point. But even with the age issue this report is sill useful in providing a snapshot of library use.


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