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iPads, eReaders, and What's New at the Library

This summer the Omaha Public Library embraces technology
iPads, eReaders, and What's New at the Library
Published on July 2, 2010

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You walk into the library, plunk down your library card, and walk out with a Sony Reader (an e-reader similar to Amazon’s Kindle) worth a couple hundred dollars. Not what you expected from the library? This summer, it’s all about what’s new.

Adult Summer Reading Club

Think book clubs are just for kids? Guess you don’t want to win an Apple iPad. The library will be giving away an iPad to one lucky reader simply for tracking their reading online with the Adult Summer Reading Club (until July 31st). Who doesn’t need a little extra encouragement to read more? Over 2,500 book reviews have been submitted already, add your review today!

If you’re interested, but having trouble figuring out what to read, check out the library’s Good Reads section, with over 1000 titles spread across the world’s most famous award lists (National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner, NYTimes Bestsellers, etc.). All the books are built into the library’s catalog, meaning links to reserve or request a title are just a click away.

AskOPL Service

The Library's AskOPL ServiceThe Library’s AskOPL ServiceIt’s a pretty simple motto—If you have questions we have answers—but it’s just another way the library is adapting to the changing needs of its patrons. Unlike other question answerers (like ChaCha) that include a healthy dose of advertising along with their assistance, the library simply wants you to receive the right answer as quickly as possible. In addition to the web service above you can:

Tweet questions to @omahalibrary
Text questions to (402) 965-1275


Sony eReader TouchSony eReader TouchThe library has a phalanx (what, you were expecting a cadre?) of Sony eReaders waiting to loan out, perfect for people on the go who want to carry a few books at a time. The Sony PRS-600 Readers, also known as the Touch Edition, should be a hit with people who have trouble seeing the text in print books (the font size is adjustable), often find themselves looking up words (there’s a built in dictionary), writing on the pages (normally a library no-no), or just looking for a certain cool factor (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

Other formats—like Adobe eBooks and Mobipocket eBook—are also available, great for people that prefer to read on their phone, laptop, or home computer.


Books-on-tape are not exactly cutting edge, but today’s electronic audiobooks offer a lot more. Not only are they available 24/7 for download from patrons’ home computers, but in addition to Mac and PC compatibility, audiobooks work with everyone’s favorite Apple products (iPad, iPod, iPhone) and Android phones. Some readers choose to mix in an audiobook during the day with regular nighttime print reading, getting the best of both worlds!

Playaway Audiobooks

A Playaway preloaded with Stephanie Meyer's TwilightA Playaway preloaded with Stephanie Meyer’s TwilightA Playaway player is the easiest way to listen to an audiobook, and the library has over 300 titles available for borrowing, from children’s books through to adult. The solid state player is perfect for runners (about the size of a deck of cards and weighing only two ounces) because it has no moving parts. The digital audiobook is preloaded onto the Playaway and can’t be changed or copied, but the unit comes with everything you’ll need: control buttons, 20-30 hours of battery life, and a jack to plug in your favorite headphones or speakers.

Online Tools that Rock

Whether you’re studying for a test (SAT, GRE, LSAT, civil servant, etc.) or tracing your family roots, the library is here to help—and save you money, as all of these normally paid services are FREE! - helps people trace back through the generations, with specialized tools to learn more about your family!

Learning Express - From elementary school through to professional training, Learning Express is a comprehensive study center filled with practice tests and training tips. Algebra, US Citizenship, GRE, Microsoft Office and more—even Recursos para Hispanohablantes!

Consumer Reports - Before buying new products, see what this venerable resource has to say, with archives dating back decades.

Online Book Clubs

Online Book Clubs may seem like kind of a contradiction, but the library actually has a pretty neat system. After joining, club members receive daily emails with five-minute selections from a chapter of a book. By the end of the week, club members will complete 2-3 chapters, without having to make a lot of special "reading time."

A wide range of topics are covered: fiction/nonfiction, teen, horror, business—even a special Pre-Pub Club featuring Advanced Reading Copies of books that have not yet been published!

Who knew the library was so, well…with it??? Tell us what you think about all of these great new offerings!

jordyAn writer since 2008, Jordy freely admits he's waiting for his golden parachute "anxiously." He microblogs @jordyclements + macroblogs