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A boost for area libraries

PRINCETON — Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White recently presented a check in the amount of $985,219 to the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) and the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), which will help bring improvements to the e-Book service.

According to a press release issued by White’s office, the grant funding will decrease e-Book participation fees for member libraries and provide support and training for librarians that choose to have e-Book collections.

While the grant money won’t have a direct effect on local libraries, Princeton Public Library Director Julie Wayland explained it will be a group benefit to all RAILS member libraries who can provide e-Book services.

Wayland said the e-Book service is a great expense for most libraries because of publisher contracts that come with e-Books.

While Princeton Public Library rents e-Books for patrons, depending on the publisher of certain e-Books, the library might only be entitled to circulate a particular e-Book for a certain length of time or will only be give a certain amount of check-outs for particular e-Books.

Wayland explained the grant money will allow representatives of RAILS to approach publishers and work out better contract deals for member libraries. It could mean libraries will be able to circulate particular e-Books longer or for more times then they are currently given.

The deals worked out for RAILS member libraries will be beneficial for e-Book budgets, allowing libraries to be able to expand their e-Book collection for patrons. The decrease in e-Book fees may also eventually help smaller libraries who currently cannot afford e-Book services a chance to start an e-Book service for their patrons, Wayland said.

The grant is just one step to help sustain the e-Book system as a whole.

Although it’s not directly benefiting libraries, Wayland said it’s definitely an indirect benefit that embraces the e-Book technology.

“It’s more of a group benefit,” she said.

This will be a great thing for Princeton Public Library because Wayland explained e-Books get more popular each year.

“Especially after every Christmas when patrons have gotten a new handheld electronic device,” she said.

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