Friday, January 14, 2011

E-Books at the Library: A Review

By Chip Schrader
Reviewer and Staff Columnist
Participating libraries in the state of Maine now hold an online database of e-Books available to lend for compatible readers and computers. Some libraries will lend the readers, as well, but any library that subscribes to the State’s initiative for electronic resources also has the capability to lend out titles to owners of the Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iPad, PCs, and Macs. Currently, the Kindle is not compatible with this library service, as Amazon has worked to retain their right to sell each title they have.
This digital download service is provided by a company called Overdrive, and many current online library users might recognize this as the same company that has provided audio books over the past year. With the demand of digital content increasing, they have expanded their services into e-Books.
If a library subscribes to Overdrive through Maine Infonet, the state-funded online library service, the patron just needs to log into the Maine page ( on Overdrive using their name and library card number. From there, titles for e-Books and Audio books may be browsed with full color images of the books’ covers. The borrowed titles will expire after a specified amount of time, and erase themselves from the device automatically, so late fees are not a hassle with this method.
Some users will need to download software in order to work with Overdrive’s formats. PDF is one of the more common file formats that allows the documents to be read on Mac or PC. Many users find e-Readers convenient for travel and commuting, as these readers may hold several books within their slim design. The display has improved over the years to eliminate glare and reflection.
The great debate is, “Will e-Books replace libraries?” The answer: only if libraries ignore e-Books, and they have not. Libraries have embraced the emerging technology over the last decade. Internet and word processing stations are a popular attraction to libraries. Most libraries provide high-speed internet access, also courtesy of the state of Maine, and many endowments and grants, including those from the Gates Foundation, focus on libraries stretching their budgets to make digital information available to everyone.
E-Books’ convenience increases as they may be downloaded from any computer, and a visit to the library’s webpage is the only necessary visit. Each library pays a flat subscription and will be credited with statistics for the number of downloads their patrons retrieve. So, it helps circulation statistics and proves the online service’s use to the library.
The overall idea of adding e-Books to the public library has been a long time coming, and will bring about a wider range of interest in the format, and in public libraries. As libraries reach further into cyberspace, techies, bibliophiles and busy professionals can find themselves at home within their local library, or at least their library’s homepage. A 5 out of 5 star idea from the state library!
Photo caption: The Barnes & Noble Nook is just one of the e-readers compatible with Maine’s library e-Book program. (Courtesy photo)

Reconstruction of Route 109 to Begin this Spring

York County legislators recently announced that nearly 4.5 miles of Route 109 in Wells have been slated to undergo reconstruction.
“This project has been seven years in the making,” said State Senator Ron Collins (R-Wells), the new Senate chair of the Transportation Committee. “The York County delegation has worked diligently to ensure that this road made the list of scheduled projects.”
The project is due to begin this spring and has been split into two phases because of its complexity. The first phase, due for completion by October 2012, will include nearly 2.5 miles of Route 109 from the Wells Turnpike exit to Meetinghouse Road. That portion of the project has been awarded to R.J. Grondin and Sons out of Gorham, Maine, which submitted the winning bid.
The second phase is due to extend into 2013 and will continue on from Meetinghouse Road north for approximately two more miles.
“Thanks to everyone working together at the state and local levels, Wells will enjoy the benefit of a substantial amount of state funding invested in rebuilding Route 109, one of our main arterial roads,” said State Rep. Kathy Chase (R-Wells). “This first phase alone is expected to cost nearly $4 million.”
“I am thrilled that the Department of Transportation’s priorities are beginning to align with the priorities of York County,” said State Senator Jon Courtney (R-Springvale), the Senate majority leader. “This roads need for repair is long overdue.”

First Winter Market of the New Year

The next Winter Farmers’ Market in York will take place Saturday, January 15 at Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York Harbor. Participating this week: Archer Angus, BCS Designs, Borealis Breads, Buddha’s Burning Buns, Chefs Cove CafĂ©, Chop Chop – Tom Eaton, Crazy Camel Dessert Hummus, Divine Chocolate, Divine Cuisine / Tulsi, Hubba Hubba Foods, Kat Bullock (Non-profit) People to People, Lakonia Greek Products, Maine Herb Farm, Meadow’s Mirth, Riverside Farm, Scituate Fresh Foods, Skippers Bay Lobster, Something Different, The Seacoast Soap Co., Wool & Goods and Wright’s Haven Farm. The market is sponsored by Savings Bank of Maine.
This is York’s first year doing a winter version of their summer farmers’ market and it has already grown so much (both in vendor participation and customer attendance) in the past two months! This market offers a one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for locally grown produce, breads, sweets, meats and specialty foods for the week. The select crafters at this market offer locally made, unique gifts for you or someone special! They also do a raffle each week to help offset the cost of the market, so please consider participating; you do not need to be present during the drawing to win. This week the market is raffling off an Alan Claude 2011 Lighthouse Poster Calendar & a smaller desk calendar.
The 2010 – 2011 Winter Gateway Farmers Market takes place on 10 Saturdays between November and March. Upcoming dates are Jan. 15 & 29, Feb. 5 & 19 and March. 5 & 19. The market runs from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and there are 20-30 vendors each Saturday. Many of the regular summer food and craft vendors attend, as well as some new vendors. Just like York’s summer market, this event is always free to attend. For more information about the Winter Gateway Farmers’ Market, visit or contact Steph at the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce at 207-363-4422.
Photo caption: The next Winter Farmers’ Market in York will take place Saturday, January 15 at Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York Harbor. (Courtesy photo)