For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
FAX (215) 567-7850
FREE LIBRARY TO PILOT PROGRAM TO LOAN E-READERS
INNOVATIVE NEW PROGRAM MADE POSSIBLE BY FEDERAL GRANT
Philadelphia, November 22, 2011—In late November, the Free Library of Philadelphia began a groundbreaking pilot e-reader lending program, becoming one of the largest urban public libraries in the country to do so. The pilot will focus on lending NOOK e-readers—which will be pre-loaded with New York Times bestsellers—to adults age 50 and over, and will include a training component on additional e-readers including Kindles and iPads. This innovative new program is supported with $25,000 in federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries and supplemented with additional funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Aimed at adults age 50 and older and based in Central Senior Services in the Parkway Central Library, this new program will help the Free Library not only increase its resources for seniors and bridge the digital divide, but it will also assist in informing the Library’s long-term goal of circulating mobile devices to the general public. The Free Library’s robust digital collection is one of its most popular; currently the Library offers more than 32,000 ebooks and audiobooks, which are checked out for use on e-readers, mobile devices, and computers more than 20,000 times a month.
“In today’s tech-savvy world, digital literacy is a crucial skill for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “As the Free Library of the 21st Century, we are committed to expanding access to information in all formats—and to helping our customers bridge the digital divide and become confident in their ability to keep up with ever-changing technologies.”
To learn more about the Free Library’s e-reader lending program, including how to participate, please contact Central Senior Services at 215-686-5331.
The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.