Ebooks are ready whenever you are How to take advantage of Ramapo Catskill Library System member libraries, which have increased by 63 percent in the last two years
Eleanor Kuhns, Department Head of Adult Services at the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society, demonstrates how to gain access to eBooks on her Kindle Fire electronic device. (Photo by Geri Corey)
By Geri Corey GOSHEN — Reading a good book is now easier than ever. Although the Goshen Public Library has a great assortment of books on its shelves, like fiction, nonfiction, history and art books, atlases, and many more, it might not have the particular book that you’re looking for. Usually it can be obtained for you through the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS). Chances are a library in the system has the title that you’re seeking. Most times you’ll get a call from your local library within a few days that the book is available for pick-up. However, this isn’t always the case. Some books are out-of-print and aren’t accessible. What then? Now the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society at 203 Main St. has covered this scenario by offering access to digital books. “The twenty-first century library, not only provides access to books, music, video, newspapers, magazines, a wide range of programs, access to maker-spaces and computer literacy classes, but also gives library users the ability to download ebooks, audiobooks and video to their desktop computers, laptops or smartphones,” said Robert Hubsher, Executive Director of the Ramapo Catskill Library System. Hubsher noted that the use of downloadable digital content offered by Ramapo Catskill Library System member libraries increased by 63 percent in the last two years. A digital book, simply called an eBook, is an electronic version of a traditional print book. It can be read by using a personal computer, an eBook reader, or iPhone. Some eBooks exist without a printed counterpart. Besides just supplying readers with out-of-print copies, eBooks fill other reading needs, said Eleanor Kuhns, Department Head of Adult Services at the Goshen Library. She talked about the convenience of bringing an electronic device when commuting to work. Or having it while on vacation when you can bring 20 downloads with you. Kuhns adds a word of caution: “With all that reading material on your Kindle or iPod or iPad, you don’t want to drop it in water or run out of battery! Just remember, a book never runs out of battery.” E-Books are great for replacing large research volumes that are difficult to carry or for highly technical works that might be hard to get, she notes. “E-Books are a way of getting material that you’re not able to find in print or are out-of-print, and as an added plus, they don’t stack up on shelves in the house,” she said. In addition, the print of an eBook can be enlarged, making the book easier to read. Another plus: People who are homebound now have access to all media, and can enjoy reading or other choices in the comfort of their homes. How it worksAn app for downloading digital books can be accessed from the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) website or from the app store on your phone or tablet. The free app, Libby, is available for Android, iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, and Windows 10 devices. How does it work? Simply install the Libby app from your device’s app store. Open the app and find the Goshen Library by searching library name, city, or zip code. Browse the library collection and borrow a title. When prompted, sign in using your valid library card. Borrowed titles appear on your Shelf and download to the app automatically so you can begin reading them when you’re offline. Tap Start Reading to open a title. To send a book to Kindle, tap the cover image, then Send to Device. All libraries in the RCLS have access to the Libby collection of digital books and audiobooks to borrow. Renewal is possible. A second free app, Hoopla, offers a wide-range of possibilities to access eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, television shows and comics. Register for a Hoopla account by going on hoopladigital.com or by using the mobile app on your IOS or Android. (You must have your library card number and an email address). Click Browse All on the format that you wish to use: eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, comics or television. Search for a specific title by clicking on the search box or magnifying glass. To borrow a title, click on it and then click the Borrow button. Your borrowed titles can be played right after borrowing them and will be found under My Titles. Borrowed titles will be automatically returned when your lending period is over. If you wish, you may re-order again. There are no holds, wait lists, or late fees for any of Hoopla’s materials. Using Hoopla: Since the Goshen Library pays for this service, it is available only to Goshen Library cardholders. This is a trial year for Hoopla, and currently each patron has five borrows per card per month. The number resets the beginning of each month. There is a provision for a parent to put restrictions on their children’s borrowing—the option comes up as soon as you sign in. Borrowing limits: Movies and TV—3 days from the time you borrow the title. (For television shows, each episode is separate and must be checked out individually). Music—7 days from the time you borrow the title. E-Books, audiobooks, and comics are available for 21 days. Location on your device should be enabled. If not, you will have to search Hoopla libraries nationwide. Digital books are a plus for publishers, as they eliminate the cost of publishing on paper, said Kuhns. For example, a difficult to find print book could cost over $100, most eBooks are much cheaper. “E-Books, like computers, is a tool. You have to use it in a way that suits you,” said Kuhns, cautioning, “Don’t let it takeover and dictate to you. Some people love it; some will never use it — the rest of us fall in the middle, and use it as circumstances warrant.” Librarian Eleanor Kuhns is a published author. Her historical mystery books, A Simple Murder, Death of a Dyer, Cradle to Grave, Death in Salem, and The Devil’s Cold Dish, feature traveling Will Rees who faces crime in early America. Kuhns received her master’s in Library Science from Columbia University and is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel competition.