TOWNSEND — “The times they are a-changing,” balladeer Bob Dylan told the world back in 1965. The sentiment still holds true.
Now in 2012 books are, like, so old.
Well, not really, but readers are using new electronics to read everything from best-sellers to cookbooks. In response, libraries are changing the way they build their collections.
“It’s what patrons want. It’s a constant juggle for librarians,” said digital library specialist Chris Weber.
Weber was in town Aug. 18 as part of the national Digital Bookmobile tour run by the Ohio-based company OverDrive.
The business is a digital distribution firm connecting publishers to readers through libraries, schools and retail businesses.
The Townsend Public Library offers patrons access to e-books through the online C/W Mars catalog. Titles can be checked out for two weeks, Library Director Stacy Schuttler said.
Even patrons without a reader are in luck. The library loans Nooks for three-week periods.
The library pays Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing for specific titles. In turn, C/W Mars buys the rights from OverDrive.
The handicap accessed bookmobile came to Townsend free-of-charge. It has been on the road four years and has been at 200 events in the lower 48 states and in Canada, Weber said.
“When people ask what’s the cost (to have the bookmobile), Weber said he tells them, “support your local library.”
The first interactive display in the traveling truck offered readers an overview of what is available digitally including books, movies and music.
Then, it was time to explore. Patrons could learn how to use the recently updated C/W Mars catalog to find titles.
Just as importantly, the catalog now has help pages for individual devices.
One counter held a Nook, a Kindle, a Sony, an MP3 player, tablets and phones for patrons to explore.
Unlike reading a traditional book that can be “accessed” just by picking it up and turning the pages, readers require a little more know-how to download a digital edition.
Not only that, not all devices and file formats are compatible.
The step-by-step instructions will help lead all but the most technophobic through the process of selecting, obtaining and reading an e-book.
One step in e-book borrowing is easier than borrowing a regular book. There is no need to worry about returning the title. When the borrower’s time is up, the book disappears from the reader, phone or tablet.
Townsend has a secret weapon when it comes to helping even the most technophobic patrons learn to download selections.
Library technician Nicole Kramer is a whiz when it comes to training, Schuttler said.
Through the library, she offers periodic classes on downloading the materials.