Friday, August 6, 2010

The Kindle Is Coming

Here at the SLFL we are always looking for ways to provide access to new forms of information technology for our patrons. In keeping with that long tradition the SLFL recently purchased a Kindle. This was not a spur of the moment decision made over coffee and cakes one morning. The potential benefits of e-readers to our patrons is a subject that has been talked about by the staff for almost two years. Now appeared to be the right time to make that jump. So we did. Here are some of the reasons we have done so.

E-readers are becoming more available, reliable and easier to use. Many people in the information access business believe that in the not so distant future all information will be available in an e-reader form. Textbooks are often cited as one use. No more lugging around a backpack loaded down with tons of books. A second area is newspapers or any print journal articles. The delivery of news each morning via an e-reader provides the news consumer with a convenient, easy to carry way to get his/her daily news fix. The same is also true of news magazines, especially those magazines that have little or no photos or illustrations. E-readers can provide images along with text, but text is what they do best.

With all the different e-readers available we choose the Kindle. One of the main reasons is because unlike a computer screen the Kindle is not backlit. You actually need an outside light source to read a Kindle. So if a child wants to continue reading a Kindle after being told to go to bed, he or she will still need a flashlight to read under the blankets. There are two benefits to this: since the Kindle is backlit it cuts down on eyestrain and you can read the Kindle in the bright sunlight with or without your sunglasses on. I walked through different shades of lighting both inside and outside turning the Kindle in various directions and was still able read quite easily.

A second reason why we choose the Kindle is because of the grayscale, Eink @ technology developed by Amazon. With it you can easily change the font size; you have eight different choices, and the shade of gray for the font. This allows individuals to adjust the e-reader to fit their particular needs or desires.

At first, using the Kindle was a bit confusing. But I think that’s because I was self teaching. I can now give a quick tutorial and send the reader on their merry way. I’ve also had the opportunity to read various NY Times articles in newspaper, web based electronic edition and Kindle edition formats. For me the Kindle edition provides the most convenient and clearest medium for delivery of the articles. I’m not one of those folks who like to shake the paper and fold it into different origami shapes to read it. Nor do I spread the paper out on a desk or table in front of me and smell the newsprint. I’m one of those “Jack Web” consumers of newspapers, all I want are: “Just the facts, Ma’am.” I can make up my own mind as to what I’m reading. So the Kindle edition of the Times fit my needs very well. Soon we’ll be making the Kindle available to patrons. We are currently fine tuning our policies for its use. If you have a question about the device or would like to see it in action, stop by the Circ Desk I’ll be happy to provide you with a demonstration and chat with you about it. It is a new way for me to read; and a new way for the delivery of reading material. I like using it. I think you will too.

See you at the Library,


  1. Thanks, Pete, for this excellent description of the Kindle and its potential benefits. I'm looking forward to stopping by the SL Library to try it out! We are very fortunate to have a library in our community that is a leader in the use of new reading-related technology.
    Happy reading,
    Anne P.

  2. Hey Anne,
    I'll be more then happy to show you the Kindle and have you try it out.

  3. Hi Pete,

    Being generally not very excited about running as a form of exercise, I saw your review for "Born to Run," and thought that it looked fun and maybe even inspiring.

    Looking in my local library system, I found that Onondaga County offers a medium called "audio eBooks" which is something I had never heard of before but makes a certain kind of sense.

    Is this another frontier that Saranac Lake may/has already expanded into?

    Mike =)

  4. Hey Mike As you figured out I really did like "Born To Run" and the SLFL through the CEF system also has audio ebooks available to cardholders. The SLFL is always on the look out for new technologies to expand services to patrons. One of the best parts about being a professional librarian to day is the explosion of technology available to libraries and their patrons. This format of the blog and our ability to trade comments is an excellent example.