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Libraries embrace the digital age

The digital revolution has brought changes to nearly every aspect of our lives and libraries across Australia are rising to the challenge.

The City of Ryde in New South Wales has introduced a number of changes to the services offered by their Library, most specifically their new eBooks and eAudiobooks online catalogue.

City of Ryde General Manager John Neish believes that, “To meet the needs of all generations, councils must design and develop accessible and innovative community and recreational facilities. Spaces need to motivate active involvement, connect the local population and attract different age groups.”

Ryde Library members can choose from thousands of popular fiction and non-fiction titles to download to Windows PC, Mac, compatible tablet, eBook reader or smart phone.

City of Ryde Mayor, Cr Artin Etmekdjian, said, “The new service is all about making it easier for members of the community to conveniently access free information and entertainment anywhere, anytime. 

“It is also a very cost effective way for our libraries to cater to the demands of our diverse community. 
“From now on users won’t have to put their name on a list to be the first to read the latest novels, or pay fees to download technical journals, newspapers or magazines,” he said.

Similarly, the City of Vincent Library has stepped up to the challenge, being one of the first libraries in Western Australia to offer eBooks and eAudiobooks on its website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 Members can download their selection from 165 best-selling novels, travel guides, self-improvement books and much more. In addition, members have access to download over 23,000 classic titles. 

Titles can be enjoyed immediately or transferred to a variety of devices, including iPod®, Sony® Reader™ and many others. Titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, so there is no need to physically return items and hence there are no late fees!
Mayor Alannah MacTiernan said, “At Vincent, we are committed to embracing the digital age and the benefits it offers the community.

“Having said that, we are still committed to the more traditional formats that so many of us prefer - but we are evolving our service so that those who love the new technology can access their literature electronically.”

Not only is it convenient to access books anywhere, anytime, it’s also great for the visually impaired as they can increase the font size quite easily on devices like iPads. Those with a physical disability who have trouble handling books really appreciate the new lightweight portable digital reading devices.

And in Victoria, the City of Port Phillip Council has recently launched their new integrated website for library and heritage services.
The new site provides a gateway to a treasure trove of resources, including eBook collections, full text databases and newspapers, online language courses, reader’s advice and walking tours of the area.

The Library and Heritage site will allow users to access early local electoral rolls from Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda and to dip into a fascinating selection of stories and images about past people, places and events that have shaped Port Phillip, as well as providing access to view the Port Phillip City Art and Heritage collection.

“Our Council is passionate about local history, and this new website will ensure the rich social history of our neighbourhoods is preserved and can be enjoyed by all,” said Mayor Rachel Powning.

“Now it will be easier for people interested in local history to research to uncover the wonders of Council’s collections,” she said.