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TEMPERANCE — Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and other ereaders were popular gifts this holiday season, as the staff at the Bedford Branch Library can attest.
Every day four or five people have been coming in with their new electronic amenity, looking for help in how to use it. They range from 12 to 80 years of age, from the tech-savvy to the skittish who say, “ ‘I don't want to turn it on; I don’t want to break it,’ ” explained Jennifer Wenzel, the library’s ereader specialist.
One such library user was Janet Herliczek of Ida Township, who was flummoxed by the Kindle she received for Christmas. “I needed to know how to delete things,” she said. “The Kindle is something I wanted, but I didn’t know how to do everything with it.”
After Ms. Wenzel walked her through the deletion process, Ms. Herliczek said, “They are extremely helpful here. If you have something like this and don’t know what you are doing, they’ll show you.”
Jodi Russ, the Bedford Branch’s community librarian, said the post-holiday demand for ereader services was anticipated and planned for. Evening ereader classes were held in the library Dec. 26 and Jan. 2. More are scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 6, March 6, April 3, May 1, and June 5. Registration is helpful but is not required.
In the days leading up to Christmas, the Bedford Branch had an assortment of ereaders on display so visitors could compare the different models.
Ms. Wenzel said the most common question she fields from new owners is “How do I download a library book?” Her answer depends on how recent the technology is. Ereaders with newer technology make the process easy, but require the installation of a free app.
Borrowers are limited to eight ebooks at a time. They can be kept for 14 days, after which they are automatically returned, eliminating any chance of an overdue fine.
Monroe County Library System users checked out 3,611 ebooks and audio books in December. This compares to 2,577 for December, 2011. Numbers are not tabulated for the individual branches.
Ms. Wenzel said that, from her perspective, the growing use of ebooks has a drawback: Library staffers don’t see the regular users as they formerly did.
“We miss that.”