Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Leaf through a book this spring at the touch of a screen

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

With thousands of eBooks and eAudio titles now available from Hampshire County Council's Library Service, there is plenty of half term holiday reading to choose from that won't take up luggage space.

Library users can also enjoy free internet access in all County Council run libraries, so people can use their own laptops and tablets in the county's biggest Discovery Centres or the smallest local libraries.

Hampshire was one of the first library services in the United Kingdom to offer eBooks and now has one of the largest collections in the country.

eBooks are increasingly popular and this is reflected in the County Council's rapidly expanding 'virtual library' which contains more than 11,000 eBooks and 3,000 eAudio books provided through the software 'Overdrive'.

For younger readers there are around 600 eBooks and eAudio titles to enjoy, and there is also a large range of eResources available, such as Britannica and the Oxford Reference series as well as access to UK news articles. Additionally, there are 125 eMagazines available and once downloaded they never expire.

More people are now using this high-tech way of accessing the books they love on their e-readers and tablets. In 2013/14 there were around 124,400 downloads, up from 73,906 in 2012/13, with the most popular genres being crime and thrillers, romances and autobiographies.

Among the most well-read authors are Lee Child, Dan Brown, Steig Larsson and Suzanne Collins.

Customers can access up to five eBooks/eAudiobooks at a time free of charge from www.hants.gov.uk/library and can keep them for up to 14 days. Files then expire and are deleted which means that there will never be any overdue fines to pay.

Readers can reserve titles free of charge, and an e-mail alerts customers that it has become available for downloading. Library users can even recommend titles they would like to see in stock.

Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside Councillor Keith Chapman said: "This high-tech way of reading and listening to books is clearly popular with customers and another way that Hampshire County Council is adapting to new technology by providing a library service that meets the evolving, modern-day needs of library users.

"Hampshire has one of the largest library services in the whole of the UK and offers so much more than many people realise. Libraries and Discovery Centres are a great resource for local residents, not only as a place to read, but also as a platform for exhibitions, encouraging knowledge, creativity and socialising.

"As people's needs evolve, so will our Library Service, so that we are continuing to bring new and improved services to everyone in Hampshire."

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