Electronic readers will make their debut this week at Anne Arundel County public libraries, when 200 e-readers become available for patrons to take home.
E-reader technology allows a user to have hundreds of hours of reading materials on a portable, lightweight gadget that can slip into a purse, backpack or briefcase. A user can adjust the type size, sidestepping the question of whether a book is available in large print.
"We are in the business of books and reading, and this is simply a different format. It is a very important part of the new world of reading," said Hampton "Skip" Auld, library administrator. "This is a new avenue for people to read."
Adding the devices opens the technology to those considering buying an e-reader and expands options for borrowers, Auld said.
"Not everyone can afford to go out and buy it or afford the books that go with it," Auld said.
The e-readers can be checked out starting Wednesday at all 15 library branches. The check-out period is three weeks, the same as for many other materials, library officials said. Like books, e-readers can be reserved — but not until the kickoff, which will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Annapolis Area Library, where librarians will demonstrate how to use the readers.
The $50,000 worth of preloaded devices puts the county on a growing list of library systems, including Baltimore City and Howard County, that have added e-readers to the materials that patrons can borrow. Anne Arundel's program is among the largest in the state, Auld said.
Nook and Kindle e-readers are loaded only with adult titles. Color Nooks include books for children. Each is preloaded with up to 30 titles, said Laurie Hayes, library spokeswoman. The mix includes best-selling fiction and nonfiction, as well as longtime favorites. Borrowers will not be able to add books to the devices.
The Anne Arundel County Public Library Foundation, the library system's fundraising organization, gave the library the money to buy the e-readers and their accessories.
The library's board turned to the foundation for the devices, which have been an instant hit in library systems that have added them, but which were beyond the library's $18 million operating budget. The foundation has previously refurbished children's sections and paid for staff resources.
"My wife and I kind of battle over it," said Eric Edstrom, the Nook-owning president of the library foundation. "I truly like the feel of paper, but what I really like is that when I wake up or I am in bed, I don't have to wake her up by turning the light on to read."
Auld said he thinks it will take about 1,000 e-readers to meet the demand and is looking for more donations. Libraries elsewhere have months-long waits.
Here are the e-readers and books preloaded on them that will be available for patrons to borrow from the Anne Arundel County libraries starting Wednesday:
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
10th Anniversary by James Patterson
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy
Escape by Barbara Delinsky
Seal Team Six by Howard Wasdin,
Greater Journey by David McCullough
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
25 Favorite Novels II
Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan
Short Stories for Older, and Not Quite So Old Children by Dandi Palmer
1936 – On the Continent by Eugene Fodor
Throwaway by Heather Huffman
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to my Daughters by Barack Obama
Artemis Fowl (Enhanced) by Eoin Colfer
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
One Summer (Enhanced) by David Baldacci
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Devil Colony by James Rollins
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt
Bossypants (Enhanced) by Tina Fey
Harry, a History (Enhanced) by Melissa Anelli
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25 Favorite Novels
* Dixie (I Can Read) by Grace Gilman
* Fun Facts About Pets by Seymour Simon
* Richard Scarry's Colors by Richard Scarry
* Elephant's Child: How the Elephant Got His Trunk by Rudyard Kipling
* Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dina Bucholz
* Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language by Walter Skeat
(* Children's titles)
Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Room: a Novel by Emma Donoghue
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Jungle by Clive Cussler
Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
Now You See Her by James Patterson
Live Wire by Harlan Coben
Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Mystery: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman
Love Unleashed: A novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
Decision Points by George W. Bush
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement by David Brooks
Rawhide Down: the Near-Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Boy Who Came Back from Heaven by Kevin Malarkey
Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen
She Walks in Beauty: A Woman by Caroline Kennedy
Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
I'm All Over That by Shirley MacLaine
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning MarableCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun