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Library Chosen to Pilot Massachusetts eBook Project

Milford Town Library Director Susan Edmonds displays one of the eBooks available to residents thanks to the library being chosen to participate in the Massachusetts eBook Pilot Project.

Patrons of the Milford Town Library will have access to thousands of additional books starting this month thanks to the library being chosen to take part in a new Massachusetts eBook Pilot Project.

The Milford Library was one of 51 public, academic, and specialty libraries chosen to participate in the pilot, which allows patrons to borrow from a large selection of eBooks (electronic books) from different online vendors.

Library Director Susan Edmonds said that the Massachusetts Library System had been looking at ways to get more free digital materials into the public's hands, which was when the eBook pilot took shape. "The state was trying to compliment what is already out there in the digital eBook format," said Edmonds.

The Milford Library was chosen for the pilot back in January, but Edmonds said that they took a little time to make sure that all of the staff was fully trained on the new eBook project before rolling it out. "We wanted to make sure we could answer any questions someone would have," she said.

The pilot project, which will go through the month of April with the possibility of an extension until June, will allow Milford residents access to thousands of eBook titles that can be downloaded and read on a tablet such as a Kindle, iPad, or Android; or even on a laptop. Full instructions on how to download the new eBooks can be found on the Milford Town Library's website

Edmonds said that the new eBooks are a welcome addition to the library. "As people are getting more used to the digital realm they are asking for more of it," she said. Although Edmonds, who has worked in the Library Sciences field for the past 30 years, said that she does not think that electronic books will ever replace hard covers completely in the future, she does think that requests for electronic books will continue to rise. "I have seen requests for [electronic materials] grow from when it wasn't important to people, to now when it is crucial for people in their daily lives," she said. Edmonds said that there has also been a shift in the schools, where more and more are transitioning towards eBooks and other electronic platforms.

Although the pilot has just begun, Edmonds said that they have already received positive feedback. "It takes a little getting used to, but people like it," she said. Edmonds said that she is "proud" that Milford was chosen to be part of the pilot project and hopes that residents will take advantage of the new program and to feel free to provide feedback on the pilot to the Library.


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