Libraries issuing more eBooks than ever

Libraries issuing more eBooks than ever

Hardcover books are a tried and true success, but more Wellington residents are turning to digital books in the wake of the central library closure. Photo by Kate Green.

Wellington libraries are issuing more eBooks than ever with 42,000 e-issues in the month following the central library closure in March.

Team leader at Wellington City Libraries Karl Gaskin said 42,000 eBook issues was a 14% increase on last month.

In the first week post-closure, libraries increased digital issue and reserve limits from 15 to 20, increasing circulation limits by 33%. “This was a decision to provide greater access to, and availability of, digital collections,” Gaskin said.

He said there had been a 17% increase in reservations of eBooks and audiobooks and an 8% increase in new users of online resources in the same period.

Gaskin said libraries had doubled expenditure on digital resources in that time. “We are mainly promoting online through our social media presence on Twitter & Facebook.”

“The branch library staff are promoting and assisting customers with accessing these resources on a daily basis,” he said

Wellington resident Paula Ashdown said she used to use the library app, Libby, to place reserves on books, but since the closure of central library she had been using it to borrow and read eBooks. “I do prefer books but have no problem using the apps.”

Ashdown said loaning eBooks had increased the amount she was reading. “I can finish a book at the weekend and move straight on to the next one. I’m trying to read 50 books this year, so the Libby app is really helping.”

Loaning online was “easier than having to go in and pick them up,” she said, and provided greater flexibility. “I like the Libby app cos I can switch from iPad to my Android phone and it syncs,” she said.

Khandallah resident Melanie Murray had expected to “miss having a hard copy book to read from – turning the pages, the smell and feel of a book”. Instead she found she enjoyed being able to store hundreds of books and easily switch between them.

However, she said that technology could be a barrier for people who lack confidence with digital devices. She said her parents and parents-in-law are in their seventies and would “never look at eBooks”.

Murray preferred using real cookbooks over digital versions. Despite this, she said, “I would be happy to never buy a hardcopy book again.”

“I think that people are becoming more aware of dwindling resources, and are thinking of the environmental consequences of printing, transportation of books to bookstores, and the carbon footprint of doing this.”

Other readers were unimpressed with the selection of books available.

Khandallah resident Liz Beresford said that “for people whose eyesight is not good these books are a great help,” but the online catalogue did not offer all the books she wanted.

Karori local Deborah Walker said she liked the convenience of not having to return books, but also wished there was a better selection. “It’s not bad, but could have a larger range.”

She also said, “the downside is that you have to have a suitable device which could exclude people who can’t afford one. But the software is very easy and intuitive to use.”

An Oriental Bay resident said, “Because I work online a lot, I like my recreational reading to be hard copy books, so digital books are not for me.”

She also hoped the library would invest in Kanopy, an online movie database, “so we all have access to good movies at home”.

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Article by Kate Green

About Author Student reporter for Miramar area and specialist subject reporter for disability news. Graduate of Victoria University of Wellington in film, media, and English literature. Owner of two guinea-pigs, and too many books.


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Article by Kate Green

About Author Student reporter for Miramar area and specialist subject reporter for disability news. Graduate of Victoria University of Wellington in film, media, and English literature. Owner of two guinea-pigs, and too many books.


View Profile
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