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HomeOpEd
Published: Sunday, 12/15/2013

GUEST COLUMN

Toledo’s library — your go-to place for all things mobile

BY CLYDE SCOLES
The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is helping its users learn how to use their mobile devices. The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is helping its users learn how to use their mobile devices.
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As customers of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library embrace mobile devices, the library is providing new electronic services, digital collections, and online content. Our mobile tools and platforms permit customers to be self-directed, on-the-go users, while still providing quick access to librarians.

A new wave of mobile-savvy users has arrived in the library — not only texters and tweeters, but also eager customers who are adept at using e-readers, smart phones, and tablets. Reactions to the library’s mobile vocabulary and services range from pleasantly surprised to startled to, “When can I start downloading?”

We converse with Apple products — iPhones, iPads, and iPods — as well as MP3 players, Kindles, Nooks, Android devices, and QR codes. We speak the language of new applications, platforms, operating systems, programs, and social networks.

We are committed to helping our customers to be comfortable with their devices, and to learn about them in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The library provides numerous opportunities to master mobile technology: individual and video tutorials, group classes, and written guides. We also welcome inquiries from walk-in users and via phone calls and emails.

Along with allowing customers to get books and other services online, we offer mobile opportunities through our digital collections. Our Freegal platform offers more than 3.5 million free songs and videos, along with e-books and audiobooks.

Our Zinio service provides the latest editions of hundreds of popular magazines, also for free. Another free online platform, Hoopla, allows you to borrow thousands of films, music albums, and audiobooks with your library card, for instant streaming or temporary downloading on your mobile device. There is no waiting, and the automatic return eliminates late fees.

Our electronic-media offerings and online databases provide an extensive variety of information and entertainment, and are quick and easy to use. The library’s eMedia page at toledolibrary.org should be among your favorite points of online access.

Our online “Tech the Season” page provides a buying guide, this holiday season and beyond, for mobile devices that are compatible with the library’s online media services. We are here to help you with your selections, for yourself and those on your holiday gift list.

The proliferation of mobile and other digital technologies commonly leads to predictions of “the end of the book.” The crystal balls of some in the pro-paper crowd seem to warn of a crumbling of civilization.

But the 500-year-old publishing industry is not going away, and e-books do not amount to a transition for readers. Radio lives on despite television. Going to the movies remains popular despite home-video options. People still talk on the telephone, even as they send emails and text messages.

People continue to borrow and buy print books in large numbers. Many folks move back and forth between books in print and on e-readers.

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will remain the “people’s university” — the place for whatever format or type of communication is right for you. And remember — it’s free.

Clyde Scoles is executive director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.



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