Douglas County Libraries blazes a trail to get e-content to patrons
There is a growing demand for e-books across Douglas County and across our state. In Colorado, e-books account for about three to seven percent of total circulation, but demand is growing rapidly. At Douglas County Libraries (DCL), they account for 3.7% of total circulation. By 2015, 10% of total library circulation may be in the form of e-books, eAudio, music and movies.
Unfortunately, libraries across the state are struggling to grow their e-book collections because many of the large publishers across the country maintain that they are not required to sell e-books to libraries. Three of the six largest publishers do not offer their e-books to libraries, making it impossible for libraries to deliver many popular titles to patrons. The question of whether to sell to libraries represents a huge ongoing debate in the publishing industry.
The publishers that do work with libraries (HarperCollins, Penguin Group and Random House) require popular titles to be purchased again after they’ve been downloaded 26 times, delay availability of popular titles by up to six months, or triple the purchase price of each title..
Fortunately, DCL has made access to e-books a strategic priority in the last two years. Its e-book collection has grown by 140% in 2012, and includes more than 27,000 titles available for borrowing.
Douglas County Libraries, under the leadership of library director Jamie LaRue and DCL’s board of trustees, is leading the charge on behalf of all public libraries, blazing a trail toward acquiring e-book content for libraries. LaRue has worked with other industry leaders to develop Evoke, a group of organizations working to ensure the availability of e-books in Colorado.
Under his direction and vision, Douglas County Libraries is working to bypass the intermediary vendors and buy directly from publishers. The library district has purchased software that enables it to self-host e-book content and make it available to patrons directly.
LaRue feels it essential to do everything possible to gain more access to e-books for patrons. “Douglas County Libraries has built a model system for the management of digital content, content that is already exploding to include a much larger world,” he said.
Information about the Douglas County Libraries model is available at http://evoke.cvlsites.org/resources-guides-and-more/douglas-county-experiment-model/ .
Douglas County Libraries wants patrons to know that it is doing everything possible to ensure their needs are met. People who would like to help make more e-book content available to libraries may sign a petition at http://e-booksforlibraries.com/ .
Douglas County Libraries is a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. It will continue to grow its e-content partnerships for the benefit of its patrons throughout 2012. For more information, visit DouglasCountyLibraries.org.