Access to nearly 11,000 titles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the ability to read on the go and no late fees — these are just some of the benefits of a new service offered by the Rolla Public Library that is aimed at making books more accessible.

Access to nearly 11,000 titles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the ability to read on the go and no late fees — these are just some of the benefits of a new service offered by the Rolla Public Library that is aimed at making books more accessible.

Patrons now have the ability to check out eBooks and audiobooks and all they need is their library card, an Internet connection and a free software application.

The library began offering the service Nov. 30 and as Library Director Cathy Smith explains, it's a step moving forward in the digital age.

"We live in a busy society and it's not always easy for folks to get into the library," Smith said, adding that many patrons have requested eBooks and audiobooks.

While the service is still new, "the word is spreading," she said. "We're very excited about this."

One of the benefits of the new service is that eBooks make it easier for people traveling. Additionally, audiobooks allows those who are sight-impaired to enjoy books, according to Smith.

Rolla Public Library has joined a consortium of about 70 small to mid-sized libraries in the state called Missouri Libraries 2 Go, Smith explained.

Through this consortium, library patrons can check out a variety of eBooks and audiobooks from a collection of about 10,892 titles, which includes about 1,828 audiobooks, with the rest being eBooks, according to Smith.

But as Stephanie Chinn, children's coordinator at the library, warns, "It's a library, not a store. There is not an unlimited copy of every book."

Some are those titles are duplicates, it was noted, and if there is enough demand for a particular title, more copies can be added to the collection.

This new service is powered by OverDrive and is free with a Rolla Public Library card. Generous donations from the Friends of the Rolla Public Library and two anonymous individuals donors helped fund this service.

In early July of this year, Rolla Public Library received an eReader Exploration Grant through the Library Services and Technology Act in the amount of $1,195.

The grant provided funds to public libraries to help library staff, volunteers and patrons learn about eReader devices through a hands-on experience.

Through the grant, the Rolla library received two Nooks, two Kindles and one iPad. These devices were scheduled to be on display at the library by the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 7.

While the devices cannot be checked out, patrons can look at them and become familiar with how they work, according to Kristin Strandberg, administrative assistant at the library.

"All of the staff have gone through training and are able to answer questions," Smith said about the new service.

How it works

Through the service, readers can browse the collection, check out items with their library card and download them to their PC, Mac and many mobile devices. A list of compatible devices is available at
To get started, patrons will need to install free software — either OverDrive Media Console or Adobe Digital Editions depending on what type of computer or device they have.

Most mobile devices, such as the Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, Apple devices and other smartphones, have an OverDrive Media Console application available that can be used to search and check out eBooks.

For other devices, people may have to download and install Adobe Digital Editions to download and transfer items to their devices. An Adobe account is required for this.

A patron ID and PIN number, which is the last four digits of that ID, are needed to check out eBooks and audiobooks. Titles cannot be downloaded on library computers.

Rolla Public Library users can choose to check out titles for either seven or 14 days. Readers cannot renew a title. Instead, if they do not finish a book by the end of the lending period, they will have to check it out again. On the flip side, items can be returned early.

Patrons can have up to five items checked out at one time.

People who place a title on hold will receive an email when that item is ready for delivery and it will be available for four days after the email is sent.

The collection can be accessed at any time and there are no late fees because the title will automatically be disabled at the end of the lending period.

For certain audiobooks, the files can be transferred or burned to a CD.

Confused about eBooks?

The Rolla Public Library will four eBook basics classes in the library’s program room Tuesday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. both days. Patrons can bring their e-readers or mobile devices to the classes.

What you need to download eBooks, audiobooks

• An Internet connection via a PC, Mac or select mobile devices.

• A valid library card.

• OverDrive Media Console, free software, used for some eBooks and audiobooks on a PC, Mac or mobile devices, or Adobe Digital Editions, free software, for PDF and EPUB eBooks on a PC, Mac or eBook devices.

How the new service works

• Browse the collection available via a link from the library’s website at under the eBooks tab. There, you can search by title, subject, author or format.

• Add selections to your “cart” based on the type of device to which you want to download them. Then, click on the “proceed to checkout” link.

• If a title is not available, you may place a hold and receive an email when the title becomes available.

• Type in “Rolla Public Library” or select it from the list. Then, type in your library card number and PIN number, which is the last four digits of your card number.

• You will be asked to choose a checkout period — either seven of 14 days. Titles will “expire” at the end of the lending period chosen.

• From there, you can download or transfer your selections onto your device, such as a Kindle, iPad, Sony Reader or others.