Technology and books in COVID time
Television can become mind-numbing, repetitive and even stressful. Escape the tedium of TV by borrowing, electronic books via your local library. A library card can be your ticket to travelling the world through books to your favoured destinations of interest. Cooking? Humour? Romance? Lives of the rich and famous? Even real-world destinations. You choose. Your library will take you there. Your library card is your ticket to a whole world of entertainment and information and it’s free.
The technology challenge
Electronic devices can be a challenge, either budget-wise or on a personal skill level. Until libraries are fully re-opened, you may need to enlist the help of a family member or friend with the technological skills to assist you. Shop electronically and focus on the purchase of a laptop or a tablet. Then, connect with your local library to obtain an electronic library card.
Electronic library cards and electronic book readers
Most libraries make obtaining a library card easy. Some even waive their residency restriction during the pandemic. Many libraries offer online ‘chat’ assistance to help you with the whole process. You can also connect with them through phone, email and Zoom.
Below are the website links to the regional libraries of Durham: Pickering, Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa, and Whitby and the links to their online registration to get a card:
Online Registration: www.whitbylibrary.ca/registration-form
Online Registration: catalogue.ajaxlibrary.ca/cgi-bin/koha/opac-memberentry.pl
eBooks and electronic book readers
Electronic books are digital or online books, no paper, no printed page, no hard copy. Just access to an electronic book that is as portable as your laptop or your tablet.
To read an electronic book, you need an electronic device such as desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone or ‘electronic book reader.’ Two popular ebook readers are the Kobo and Kindle.
KOBO is an electronic book reader. It comes in different sizes and styles and is easy to use. It can be purchased from many stores, including INDIGO-CHAPTERS (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/electronics/kobo-ereaders/) and the Kobo store (https://www.kobo.com/ca/en). With Kobo, you can borrow electronic books from the library.
KINDLE is an alternate electronic book reader. Also, easy to learn and use, KINDLE can be used to purchase electronic books from book distributors such as INDIGO-CHAPTERS and AMAZON. Note: You cannot borrow electronic books from the library with the Kindle.
Borrowing Electronic Books
Libraries have a lot of information on their websites about how to borrow electronic books. Staff are also available over phone, email and Zoom at this time when the libraries are closed.
To borrow electronic books from the library, you need to use an “app” to read the book on your device or electronic book reader. Most libraries carry the following electronic book apps:
LIBBY is a very versatile and practical electronic book app, providing users with access to the entire library system of Ontario through a collection called Overdrive. LIBBY is powerful, easy to learn and use and can be installed on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. LIBBY is available to cardholders at all Durham library systems.
CLOUD LIBRARY works in a similar way to LIBBY, providing users with access to the Cloud Library electronic book collection. CLOUD LIBRARY is available to cardholders at the Pickering and Oshawa Public Libraries.
eBOOKS and electronic library cards are a very practical and convenient ways for you to obtain books. You can choose whether you want to borrow books or build your electronic library by purchasing. Either way, you can escape the tedium of TV watching. Even better, you no longer have to sit in the same room captive by your TV. Grab your ereader and go to wherever you can still be safe and distanced in these difficult times.