Rockford Public Library Seeing More Digital Bookworms

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – More people are taking advantage of Rockford Public Library’s e-Reader program. I started last year, for people to check out devices and download their favorite books. Although many rejected the idea at first, more readers have turned a new page.

Thousands of books are available without physically turning a page.

Janet Shook takes full advantage of that by downloading her favorite authors on her Kindle Fire.

“To look at what’s available all in one place, rather than browse through the library or a bookstore, it’s just so quick,” said Shook.
That’s why Rockford Public Library expanded its digital book collection and added an e-Reader rental program last year. It allows people to check out a device like a Kindle and download books on the go. The program is growing in popularity.

Local readers downloaded 50,000 items last year, up from about 2,000 when the library first started going digital in 2007.
“It’s not a library if there aren’t any real books there.”

Ashley Stickler walks to the library every day. She worries its selection of hard copies will get worse with time.
“I like going to the library because of the books. I mean there’s just so many and I like to physically hold them, with digital books you really can’t do that,” Stickler said.

Readers like Ashley won’t have to worry. Although it’s a growing trend, the library staff says they aren’t closing that chapter anytime soon.

The library’s collection includes movies and audio books. More than 20,000 downloads flew from the library’s digital collection to people’s fingertips so far this year.

The library’s digital collection makes up about 35% of its budget. e-Readers are available at any Rockford Library branch. You can even learn how to use them through a free class. There’s one tonight at the east side branch until 7:30 p.m.

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