Retired teachers took a turn at being students Oct. 2 at the Thompson Public Library for a tutorial on how to use eLibraries Manitoba and the OverDrive app to borrow digital books to enjoy on their e-readers and other electronic devices.
“The retired teachers contacted me and asked me if I could do this session for them and we decided to open it up to whoever wanted to come,” said library assistant Amanda Sanders, who walked participants through the necessary steps to start borrowing and downloading e-books and audiobooks through eLibraries Manitoba. “It was mostly the retired teachers. They do a lot for us so it's nice for us to do stuff for them.”
One of those retired teachers was Sue McCartney, who said the session was a way for her and the other participants to make the most of their digital devices.
“We all have these devices and we only know how to use them when our teenagers or our adult children come home so they offered to give us a mini in-service on how to use them and how to get started on them,” said McCartney.
For people with IPhones, IPads and smartphones and tablets running on the Android operating system, the process is as simple as downloading the OverDrive app from the App Store or Google Play, signing with a library-provided user name and password and finding an available book from eLibraries Manitoba, making it possible to go from newbie to reading your book in a matter of minutes.
“If the device goes on the Internet and can download apps then they can do it all directly through their device,” says Sanders.
If they want to borrow e-books to read on an older device they can do that, too, though the process requires a couple of additional steps.
“If it doesn't go on the Internet they have to do it through their computer first and then transfer it over,” Sanders said. “If you have one of the original e-readers that you could only go to, say, Kobo's store then you would have to do it on the computer and you'd have to get Adobe digital editions.”
Staff at the library have developed troubleshooting skills when it comes to getting patrons connected with eLibraries Manitoba and anyone having trouble can contact them by phone, ask for help on their Facebook page or just bring the device they want to set up to the library for assistance.
You don’t even have to have to be a full Thompson Public Library member to start borrowing digitally.
“What eLibraries does is it authenticates that you are a member of our library so you need at least an eLibraries account with us,” Sanders says. “So you call us over the phone and we can just set it up briefly and all we really need is your name, phone number, email and your address and then we'll set you up over the phone and you don't actually have to come in for it.”
If you are in the library, however, you can use the OverDrive media console at the front desk to browse available books on a larger screen before sending yourself links to download them.
“You can text yourself or you can email yourself links to items that you want to take out,” said Sanders. “It doesn't actually directly check out on there because you can't plug your device into it. But say you see a book on there and you want to read it you can text it to yourself and then access it on your phone and it'll open in the app.”
Having the ability and knowledge of how to borrow digital editions is a boon for many of Thompson’s retired teachers, McCartney says.
“Half of us live out of town at the lake and the rest, we all travel in the wintertime and that's the easiest way to travel, take your books with you,” she says. What’s more, it gives users immediate access to books that may not be physically available from the library or to purchase in Thompson.
“We don't have a book store in Thompson so if you do want to buy a book it's Walmart,” McCartney says. “It means that you can access other than the popular fiction. It's nice to be able to access.”
It’s also more affordable than buying all the e-books you want and reading them once.
“It's not cheap,” says McCartney. “Some of them are going up in price. The most popular ones are now getting close to the store price [for physical books].”