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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Ferriss Hodgett Library lending eBook readers
DATE: Feb. 16, 2010

          Students and faculty can now borrow eBook readers from the library, improving access to the library’s online content, including thousands of eBooks and e-journal articles. Three different readers are available, each utilizing revolutionary E-ink technology.

          Also known as “e-paper,” E-Ink technology uses millions of tiny positively and negatively charged black and white particles suspended in fluid to create a paper-like surface. Unlike a back-lit computer screen, the readers can be viewed at any angle and easily read under a range of lighting conditions, just like paper. E-Ink screens only use energy to “turn the page." No battery power is needed to display text indefinitely, enabling a long battery life of two-weeks or more.

          “A common complaint people have about eBooks is having to read them on a computer screen,” says Crystal Rose, public services librarian. “Eye-strain from reading a bright, backlit screen, discomfort sitting in front of a computer for extended periods, and lack of portability can all be issues for some people. eBook readers are a great alternative. The readers are portable, they can store hundreds of books, and even allow you to highlight and make notes, just like real paper.”

          eBook readers have become very popular, evidenced by the sales statistics for Amazon’s eBook reader, the Kindle. According to Amazon.com, Christmas 2009 saw for the first time ever the sales of more Kindle eBook titles than physical books. eBooks have several advantages over traditional print books. Adjustable font sizes enable people to instantly increase the size of the text, eBooks typically cost less than the print version, and they are environmentally friendly, reducing the use of paper.

          Business student Sofia Haylock was excited to try out an eBook reader.

          “I think they’re awesome,” she said. ”It’s definitely easier to use the reader.”

          The library received funding from the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Research Office to purchase the eBook readers.

          “This is a pilot project,” said Ms. Rose. “The intent is to share what we learn from our experience with lending eBook readers with other academic libraries. Libraries are continually investigating ways to enhance researchers’ access to information, and eBook readers may be one way to achieve that.” 

         

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