Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ebooks in U.S. Public LIbraries

Public libraries journey into unmapped e-book territory. (Boston Globe, 10/20/2011)

ExcerptThe Minuteman Library Network, which serves 42 libraries in communities west of Boston, has doubled its e-book budget to $200,000 in the past year, said Kate Tranquada, director of the Waltham Public Library, which has tripled its local budget for downloadable books to $10,000 this year.

The spending by libraries is taking place as the weak economy and other pressures have driven bookstores, both national chains and local independents, to close in communities such as Belmont, Brookline, and Lexington in recent years.

But local librarians say their institutions have been evolving for the last two decades, and now host community events such as art shows and lectures while also trying to meet growing demand for study space and wireless Internet access.

“As a place, it’s got a lot more purposes than just what the bookstores do,’’ said Tranquada

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