Library helps families read on the go

August 9, 2018

Lauren Bajda with the Digital Bookmobile talks about eBooks and audiobooks during a stop at Barboursville Park as part of the Digital Bookmobile National Tour on Wednesday in Barboursville.

BARBOURSVILLE — If you are the kind of reader who enjoys flipping pages, then you might be disappointed to find out that the Digital Bookmobile, owned by OverDrive, does not contain a single hardcover or paperback book.

Instead, the bookmobile — stationed at Barboursville Park on Wednesday — is loaded down with iPads, Samsung tablets and other smart devices, with the sole purpose of educating library users on how to access eBooks and audiobooks through their local library.

Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, the Digital Bookmobile spends 10 months every year traveling all over the United States, stopping in four cities each week on average.

“This allows users to have access to the library 24/7. You can have access to the library after hours or when it’s closed,” Over-Drive digital media event specialist Lauren Bajda said. “It’s totally free. The local library purchases the eBooks from the system and then Over-Drive builds the app and allows the users to read and download the books.”

Barboursville librarian Linda LaRue said, among other things, having the event at the park allowed for children and families to bounce between the bookmobile and the local splash park on their own time. Librarians played children’s music through wireless speakers while kids splashed and played before settling down for story hour inside the bookmobile.

“I think it’s been in Huntington before, but they wanted to come specifically to this area because we serve quite a few children and families,” LaRue said, “but we don’t have much parking at our current facility and we were expecting a good turnout, so we decided to have it at the park.”

The staff accompanying the bookmobile informs library patrons of how they can access the library at their leisure, which is a question Barboursville librarians get more often than one might think.

“We have patrons that come in on a regular basis and ask how they can get access to the content,” LaRue said, “and a lot more people are finding that it is very convenient when they travel because it’s always with them and they don’t have to worry about taking a hardcover or paperback.”

Bajda said both eBooks and audiobooks can be downloaded through a program called “Libby,” which is available on all iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets but is not available for Kindle devices at this time.

“All you need to get started is a library card, internet connection and a smart device,” Bajda said. “With those three things you can get started and have access anywhere.”

While a digital library is convenient for some, it does not mean that traditional libraries will be phased out any time soon. LaRue said that in certain circumstances, books — whether online or physical — can be combined with audiobooks for better reading comprehension.

“We’ve dealt with children that have difficulty comprehending when they read, so a lot of parents will get the print

copy and also let them listen to it so they get it double, in a way” LaRue said. “It helps them to be able to comprehend better, and it’s not just kids that face that issue. It could be anybody.”

The Barboursville Public Library has access to over 35,000 eBooks and nearly 5,000 audiobooks and serves approximately 200 patrons on a daily basis.

At the event, the Barboursville Public Library had a digital rendering of its new building, which it has plans to build in the coming years. A plot of land across from Barboursville Elementary School, next to the senior center, was donated to the library by the city.

The new library building, a project estimated at $4 million, would replace the current facility built in 1967 and would more than double the current library space. The library is in the early stages of fundraising for the project and has no current timetable for completion.

Follow reporter Luke Creasy at Facebook.com/creasyHD or on Twitter @lewk_creasy.

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