By April Wilson, Senior Staff Writer
The Criss Library’s Kindle collection received an update recently, including the addition of a Kindle Fire and seven Kindle Touch devices. The devices arrived shortly before winter break and went into circulation as the spring semester began.
The library was actually a pioneer in allowing patrons to check out Kindles, said Director of Patron Services Joyce Neujahr. The program at UNO was the first of its kind at any academic library in the country. It began in March 2008 as the brain child of Steve Shorb, the dean of the library.
Neujahr said the program initially allowed students to read “fun stuff” while also acting as a supplement to the Interlibrary Loan program (ILL), which is primarily used for academic research.
The wait for books from ILL decreased to almost zero “instead of weeks,” said Reference Associate Emily Kesten, author of the library websites guide to eBooks, eReaders and Tablets.
Neujahr said initially there were only 250,000 books available for the Kindle through Amazon, but now there are nearly 950,000. As a result, the library offers a “Request a Title” program for the Kindles where students can come in and request any title at the circulation desk.
“We’ll keep the Request a Title [program] going for as long as we have the budget,” Neujahr said.
The Kindle program is funded by regular library funds that are allocated by the Dean annually during budget time, Neujahr said.
“It was his idea, and he found the money to make it work,” she added.
“It is a good bang for your buck,” Neujahr said about the affordability of the program. “I can buy six to 10 titles [on the Kindle] for one hardcover…and I’m assured that at least one person is going to read it. The books that I buy I’m not [always] sure that someone will read it…even though it supports our program.”
Kindles are available for check out for two weeks at a time at the circulation desk. They can also be requested if none are available at the time. If none are on hold, the device may be renewed for another two weeks, said Neujahr and Kesten. The library also offers three iPads for check out in addition to the Kindles.
More information can be found on the Criss library website at http://libguides.unomaha.edu/ereaders or by contacting the library at 402-554-3206.