SONY’s Reader Library Program – But can they loan the devices?

Great news from SONY.  They just announced 30 libraries across the country who will participate with them in the SONY Reader Library Program.  It’s truly wonderful to see an eBook reader company reaching out to libraries to promote and encourage the use of the eBooks.  What is unclear, however, is whether the program encourages libraries to lend the SONY devices to patrons.  The press release states that devices will be provided for library staff use and patron demonstrations.    I hope they won’t stop short of the idea to lend devices to patrons.  Here is more information from the SONY Press Release:

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 28 — Reaffirming its commitment to work with libraries in expanding their eBook collections and digital reading programs, Sony today announced the inaugural list of 30 participating libraries in the Reader Library Program. The participating libraries, from across 17 states, include the Brooklyn Public Library, San Diego County Library, Omaha Public Library and the Denver Public Library. The program, which will be rolled out over the upcoming weeks, will provide participating libraries with in-house training on digital reading devices, educational materials to help librarians and patrons learn more about eBooks and digital reading devices for library staff use and patron demonstrations.

“The introduction of our Reader Library Program this summer was met with strong interest from libraries across the country looking to expand their digital reading initiatives,” said Phil Lubell, Sony Electronics’ vice president of digital reading. “Today, we’re excited to announce the first participants in the program and look forward to working closely with them in educating their patrons on the use of their growing eBook collections.”

“We’re excited to be one of the first libraries participating in Sony’s Reader Library Program,” said Zeth Lietzau, Manager of Denver Public Library’s Community Technology Center.  “Our growing eBook collection is an important piece of the service we will provide our customers moving forward, and we are constantly looking for ways to increase awareness, understanding, and usage of this collection. The education materials and assistance made available from the Reader Library Program will be a big part of that effort.”

Components of the Reader Library Program include:

  • An in-house training session for participating library staff developed by Sony.  This in-person session, will cover digital reading formats, an overview of sources for digital materials, and training on Sony’s Reader digital reading devices.
  • Sony’s Reader digital reading devices for use by library staff. Educational materials and informational bookmarks to provide patrons background on digital reading devices and eBook borrowing programs.
  • Bi-annual update sessions designed to keep participating libraries and their staff current with latest developments in digital reading content, format and devices.

Inaugural Participants in the Reader Library Program include:

  • Mastics Moriches Shirley Community Library (Shirley, NY)
  • Kent District Library (Comstock Park, MI)
  • Santa Barbara Public Library (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Fairfield Public Library (Fairfield, CT)
  • Delaware Division of Libraries (Dover, DE)
  • Plainfield Public Library (Plainfield, IL)
  • Lake Oswego Public Library (Lake Oswego, OR)
  • Hillsboro Public Library (Hillsboro, OR)
  • Somerset County Library System (Bridgewater, NJ)
  • Cliffside Park Free Public Library (Cliffside Park, NJ)
  • Upper Saddle River Library (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
  • Pasco County Library System (Hudson, FL)
  • Springfield Greene County Library District (Springfield, MO)
  • Library Connection (Windsor, CT)
  • Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library (Presque Isle, ME)
  • New Rochelle Public Library (New Rochelle, NY)
  • River Edge Library (River Edge, NJ)
  • Falmouth Memorial Library (Falmouth, ME)
  • Princeton Public Library (Princeton, NJ)
  • Macon County Public Library (Franklin, NC)
  • Scottsdale Public Library (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • Liverpool Public Library (Liverpool, NY)
  • Omaha Public Library (Omaha, NE)
  • Denver Public Library (Denver, CO)
  • Westchester Public Library (Chesterton, IN)
  • San Diego County Library (San Diego, CA)
  • Holbrook Public Library (Holbrook, MA)
  • Jefferson Country Public Library (Monticello, FL)
  • Lavenia McCoy Public Library (Bayfield, CO)
  • Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, NY)

All of these libraries are members of the OverDrive network, a distribution network of 11,000 libraries worldwide.  To find a library near you that offers eBooks, go to sonysearch.overdrive.com.

Sony is also providing digital reading assistance to libraries beyond the inaugural participants in the Reader Library Program. Libraries not currently participating will have access to further program information, details on applying for it, free eBook training videos and printable collateral for them to use in educating their patrons at www.sony.com/libraryprogram.

Libraries with additional questions regarding the program can contact program managers at libraryprogram@am.sony.com.