Last updated: March 28. 2014 4:05PM - 662 Views
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com



Charles Warner|Daily TimesUnion County Carnegie Library Director Ben Loftis holds the check for $3,500 presented him by Union Rotary Club Acting President Lewis Jeter. The club donated the funds in support of the library's eBooks program which enables patrons to check out digital books online using their library card.
Charles Warner|Daily TimesUnion County Carnegie Library Director Ben Loftis holds the check for $3,500 presented him by Union Rotary Club Acting President Lewis Jeter. The club donated the funds in support of the library's eBooks program which enables patrons to check out digital books online using their library card.
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UNION — The Union Rotary Club’s longstanding commitment to support efforts to promote literacy continued this week with the club donating $3,500 to the Union County Carnegie Library’s eBooks program.


In July, Rotarian Robbie Littlejohn announced that the club’s request to Rotary District 7750 for a $1,750 Future Vision Grant to help the library make eBooks accessible to the residents of Union County had been approved. Littlejohn said that the grant, together with a $1,750 match provided by the club, would enable Rotary to provide the library with a total of $3,500 to help it implement the eBooks program.


That $3,500 was presented to Union County Carnegie Library Director Ben Loftis by Union Rotary Club Acting President Lewis Jeter during the club’s meeting on Tuesday at Covenant Baptist Church.


“We’re very happy to be doing this,” Jeter said. “We entered into a project with them on July 1 to provide the library with eBooks. We applied for the Future Vision Grant to do this and we raised the balance through our fund raising activities including the aluminum can project and donations from Rotary Club members.”


Jeter pointed out that the club and the library are both organizations dedicating to serving the people of Union County and that the club remained committed to doing so, both with the library and other local groups.


“Like Rotary, the library is committed to serving the people of Union County,” Jeter said. “We look forward to continuing to do so with the library and other local institutions.”


In its application for the Future Vision Grant, the club stated it was doing so to “continue supporting literacy efforts and enhance the opportunities for reading in our community to decrease the literacy problem in Union County and surrounding areas. This project will allow the Union County Carnegie Library to make e-books accessible to the residents of Union County and cardholders of the Union County Carnegie Library from surrounding areas.”


The application points out that “the rise of e-readers over the last several years has created significant demand for e-books among readers. According to a Pew survey released in late 2012, the number of Americans reading e-books grew from 16 percent to 23 percent over a one-year period (from 2011-2012), while 33 percent of the population owns either an e-reading device or a tablet computer such as an iPad or Kindle Fire. During the same period of time, readers of printed books fell from 72 percent to 67 percent.”


In addition, the the application stated that “six of the seven libraries in counties bordering Union offer e-books to their patrons. As a result, the Union Carnegie Library is losing patrons to surrounding counties and residents of Union County are placed at a disadvantage as their counterparts in neighboring counties have access to additional resources and technology.”


Since the announcement of the approval of the club’s request for the Future Vision Grant, the library has move forward with the eBooks project.


As of March 5, the library has made eBooks and audiobooks available to the public online. The service is free to library card holders who can access the eBooks and audiobooks by visiting http://jasmine.lib.overdrive.com. By using the site, library card holders can borrow popular digital media anytime and anywhere.


In announcing the implementation of the service, Loftis said that users can browse the digital collection online, borrow titles with a valid library card, and enjoy on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Nook®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindle®. He said that eBooks can be read immediately on any device with an Internet browser and all titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period.


Loftis added that visitors to the website can find helpful tools and information, including contacting support, by clicking the help button on the digital collection.


In accepting the $3,500 donation Tuesday, Loftis thanked his fellow Rotarians for their support of the library over the years and enabling it to finally achieve its goal of providing its patrons with access to online digital content.


“The library is really appreciative of the support from the Rotary Club of Union over the years,” Loftis said. “We’re really excited this year to begin offering eBooks to the community. This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while and we’re thrilled that the Rotary Club has made this possible.”


For more information about the eBooks service, visit the Union County Carnegie Library website (unionlibrary.org) which also provides a link to the digital collection catalog.

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