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Rochester Library shares ebooks with other libraries

July 24, 2018

Rochester Public Library card holders can access ebook collections from around the region.

The library is now linked with Southeast Libraries Cooperating’s ebook collection and vice versa. Although Rochester is a member of SELCO, their ebook collections have been separate until this month. That’s in part because the two used different systems to purchase and make those books available.

Rochester and SELCO rolled out the new system the last week of June with little fanfare as a test. People made more than 300 transactions between the two systems that week, said Kim Edson, head of reader services.

“It’s very intuitive,” she said.

Readers logging into their account can chose an option to “switch library” which will bring titles at SELCO available to them.

Rochester Public Library has about 30,000 ebook titles. SELCO has about 17,000 ebooks. For SELCO users, access to Rochester’s collection means a broader variety. For Rochester library card holders, being able to access multiple libraries might mean a short wait time for popular titles.

Some popular titles can be unavailable for months if there is a rush on the book and limited copies to loan. By partnering with other libraries, there might be copies elsewhere available sooner.

“As libraries, we have a philosophy of sharing,” Edson said. “And we’re excited we can share this digital world.”

Digital books are more than downloading text. Typically, libraries pay a premium for ebooks compared to print editions since a digital copy of a book can be downloaded many times more than a print copy.

“When I buy a physical book, I can lend it out about 50 times before it gets replaced,” Edson said. “Creators need to be paid and publishers need to be paid.”

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