On March 18, the day Green Tree Public Library first started circulating three library-owned Kindle brand eReaders loaded with best-sellers, the community's response was immediate.
"They [the Kindles] went in the first hour," reported council president Mark Sampogna after manager David Montz gave a short report April 1 about the new offering.
"It's been very popular. We have a hold list on each of our Kindles," assistant library director and children's librarian Shannon McNeill confirmed later.
The downloaded books on the devices include novels such as Herman Koch's "The Dinner," Jodi Picoult's "The Storyteller," "A Week in Winter" by the late Maeve Binchy and Matthew Quick's "The Silver Linings Playbook." There are nonfiction titles such as Ben Carson's "America the Beautiful," too.
Borrowing one of the library's Kindles is just like borrowing a book. The borrower has to have a library card and must return the device within three weeks.
There appears to be a variety of reasons why so many are anxious to borrow the electronic readers. Some want to try one before purchasing one of their own, but others just can't wait to read the latest new books as soon as possible, Ms. McNeill said.
Adults aren't the only ones fascinated by the Kindles.
"As soon as we put them out, we had a lot of requests from kids," Ms. McNeill said, adding the library has ordered three more Kindles to be designated for children's use. However, the downloads will be printed books rather than picture ones.
Green Tree is not the first nor the only public library to lend eReaders or similar devices. Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Whitehall Public Library, Shaler North Hills Library and Northern Tier Library in Richland also offer them.
Most libraries also allow borrowers to download eBooks to personal electronic devices through the Allegheny County Library Association and Carnegie Library networks.
These borrowed downloads are good for three weeks, too, after which they are automatically returned to the lending institutions and access to those titles is denied.
Ms. McNeill said Green Tree Library hopes eventually to expand its Kindle collection to coincide with subject matter.
"We're hoping that in the future we can introduce a Kindle for romance books, one for mystery, one for serial authors," Ms. McNeil said.
Until that time, the library plans to expand its collection by downloading new books on a monthly basis. Borrowers may download 10 books at a time onto personal electronic devices.neigh_west
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.