The Taneyhills Community Library in Branson, Missouri now officially offering ebooks. Kent Olson, Board President of the Taneyhills Community Library said the service became available to its patrons a week ago.
Olson said charging for library cards and other services at the library has helped make it possible to loan out ebooks. Without these small fees, he surmises, it would not have been possible to install an ebook system at this point in time.
Another large boost to the effort comes from the fact that the Taneyhills Community Library is now working in conjunction with the Missouri Libraries 2 Go consortium.
To join the consortium, Taneyhills had to pay a fee of $4,500. In return, the library received access to all ebooks that the eighty-library network has access to. The fee also includes the purchase of the ebooks. With this new deal, the library hopes to have a range of ebooks large enough to satisfy a number of interests.
Olson said around $2,000 went directly toward the purchase of new ebooks for the system. Multiplied by 80 member libraries, it becomes quickly apparent how the collection can grow at a fast clip. The membership fee is based on the population of the serviced area; Taneyhills Community Library has a population between 10,000 and 30,000 people.
There are several other advantages to being a part of the consortium. One of the most notable is that the membership fee is far less than what larger libraries have to pay to curate their own collection, and locals are still able to access the same ebooks in the end.
An influx of new library memberships as well as renewed memberships helped offset some of the cost. Olson believes the excitement the new ebooks will bring will create increased membership as well going forward. He said it is important to emphasize that the members are the ones that make this possible. Without their support it would all just be a dream.
Taneyhills faced devastating financial troubles before it instituted its controversial fees and new Friends membership program. At the end of the 2012 fiscal year, it faced a $5,000 deficit. Luckily, by the end of the 2013 fiscal year it was able to regain proper footing and place $15,000 into a savings account to create new services.
The profit gives Taneyhills Community Library a little more flexibility to make improvements that members have now come to enjoy. One new project Olson would like to pursue in the near future is an online catalogue. The online service will make for better record keeping, he says; an influx of paper work has exhausted many of its resources.
Members can access ebooks online through the library website. Go to www.bransoncommunitylibrary.org and login to the ebook service provider with your library card membership number. Member last names are used as passwords to gain access.
Along with the ebooks, members are also able to download audio books and movies through the online service. These items can be checked out with no additional fee for 14 days. They are automatically returned at deadline.
Ebooks and other downloadable content is available on desktop computers as well as mobile devices including iPhones, iPads, and the Kindle.
Olson said he intends to continue fundraising efforts throughout the community.