Columbia County library officials are introducing a new service that will make audio books more accessible and portable.
All three county libraries now offer downloadable audio books that can be transferred to any Windows-based MP3 player or computer, said Kate Culver, a reference specialist at the Columbia County Library in Evans.
The downloadable audio books have an important advantage over traditional audio books on CD or cassette tape that have been available for check-out from the library.
"If you would come into the library and check out a CD or a book on tape, then we have this one copy and one person gets to use it and that's it," Culver said. "With the downloadable option, it is all digital where you can put it on your MP3 player or your computer at home and you can play it and multiple people can download the same audio book at one time."
Culver said the audio books are provided to the library through a subscription to NetLibrary, a division of the Online Computer Library Center. It is a free service provided to any card-carrying library patron.
Those interested in downloading audio books must visit any of the county's three library branches - Evans, Harlem or Euchee Creek - to create an account. Then, readers can download the books from their home, laptop or onto their MP3 player.
"Once you establish your account with us, then you can download from anywhere. You can be in an airport somewhere and download on your laptop or whatever," Culver said.
Culver said the library has collected more than 1,300 titles of downloadable audio books including fiction, non-fiction, young, adult and children's books, foreign language books and a series featuring the books of the Bible.
"We've got a great core collection," Culver said, adding that the library's collection will continue to expand to include the most popular authors and current titles.
Library officials had planned to formally introduce the new service when a link from the county government's Web site is established, which was expected to be around Sept. 1, Culver said. But library users can sign up and begin downloading the books.
For more information, visit any Columbia County library or call the Evans branch at (706) 863-1946.
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