Everything Librarian: February 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Free E-Books at West Virginia Reads via the Public Library

Did you know that if you have a library card in West Virginia, you probably have access to free e-books for download to your Nook, Kindle, phone, or computer? Really? Really. It's easy and convenient and this article talks about how to get started today.

Got Your Library Card?

To get started, all you need is your Northern Library Network library card. It's yellow and plastic and this is your key to free e-books in West Virginia. This card covers all Randolph County libraries including the Pioneer Memorial Public Library in Harman, WV. To get to the West Virginia Reads site, you can start at the Pioneer Memorial Library's website front page. From there, look for the WV-READs logo to connect to the site. If you click on the highlighted text here, it will take you WV-Reads. To be able to see all of the books that are available, you will have to enter your library card number, the one after the bar code on your card.

Sign Into WV READS

The front page of WV READS looks like this:

Go to Advanced Search

When you go to sign in, please use your 12-digit library card number. When looking through the drop menu of libraries, please make sure you select Upshur County Library, as they are the service center to the Pioneer Library. The front page of WV READS is pleasing with a green and grey colored theme. If you look into the upper right corner of your screen, you will see an Advanced Search option. I really recommend that you start here for a couple of different reasons.

First, you will be able to see what e-books are available. While the front page of WV READS looks inviting and promising, full of hot best-selling books, the reality is that you might end up on a reserve list that will take you months to be able to read the book. The way e-books work is that the publisher sells you the right to use the e-book for a certain number of borrows or circulations. So, even if there are ten copies of the book that you want, they may all be checked out.

How To Download an E-Book

In the advanced search window towards the bottom of the screen you will see a choice for a box to check that says, 'Available Now.' My advice is to click that button before you comb over all the books in WV READS. If you are looking for immediate reading gratification, this is the route to take. From here you may narrow down your search by genre, age level, and subject. On the day that I wrote this I looked for e-books available now and found almost 14,000 titles -- that's a great selection size to be able to choose from.

To select a book, all you have to do is click on how you want to download. Do you want to download to your Nook or Kindle? Or do you want to read the book on your computer. These are all great options to have. You have 14 days to read these books on the device of your choice, and at the end of those 2 weeks the book magically disappears. No late returns, no overdue fines, and that's all pretty sweet.

WV-READs has best-selling books from Grisham, Patterson, and Baldacci but you may have to place a hold on the book. When a popular book is on WV-READS, many people want to read it but there are a limited number of copies and "reads" available. So, for example, I put "Gone Girl" By Gillian Flynn on hold by letting the cursor float over the image of the book and look for buttons, "Place Hold" or "View Sample". I chose Place Hold and found out that I am in "Holds position: #25 on 3 copies." There is no helpful "estimated time available" date. I have no idea how long it might take me to get my copy of "Gone Girl" but I will keep you updated.

Watch a Video About How to Access WV-READs

Still confused? WV-Reads can be confusing if you're new to the site. I made a screencast video that helps walk you through step-by-step to help you understand the whole online process. If you are still not sure how to log onto and use WV READS, no worries. Stop by anytime at the Pioneer Memorial Public Library in Harman, West Virginia, and we will be happy to show you hows to use this remarkable tool to have e-books ready to read at any time.