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E-books a hit at Bemidji Public Library

Bemidji Public Library now offers e-books for lending. The library and provided instructions Monday on how to log in and use the new service. From left, Carrie Muscleman, branch manager of the Walker library, helps Danae and Elsie Meyer download the e-book app. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Danae Meyer was excited about the possibility of downloading a new e-book to her iPad Monday afternoon, though she struggled to find a strong-enough wireless connection that would allow her do so.

Meyer, of Bemidji, said the ability to save several books on her iPad would make traveling easier since she wouldn’t have to pack a load of books to read.

The Kitchigami Regional Library System, which includes the Bemidji Public Library, has begun offering e-books, electronic books that can be read on e-readers, tablets, smartphones or personal computers. Through the 3M Cloud Library, customers are able to borrow e-books from the library for 14 days.

More than a dozen interested customers took part in the first hour of a two-hour open house Monday afternoon at the Bemidji library. Carrie Musselman, branch manager in Walker, was on hand to guide interested customers through the necessary steps.

About 800 book titles are available for borrowing through the KRLS. Musselman said. Many of those titles are not immediately available as other KRLS customers have checked them out.

“We knew it was going to be popular,” Musselman said, “but we didn’t know just how popular it would be. We’re just thrilled.”

The 3M Cloud Library does not work for every device available. For instance, it supports Barnes & Noble Nook devices and the Amazon Kindle Fire, but not the original Kindle.

Judy McDonald of Bemidji, who said she reads two to three books a week, was disappointed that her three-year-old Kindle was not compatible with the new service, but said she would have enjoyed having e-books available for borrowing through the local library system.

“I think it’s great,” she said, noting that she had previously requested the service.

Depending on their device, customers may be able to download the book directly from a device or download the book to a personal computer and then transfer it to the device.

Mike Stavig has a Nook Touch, so he would have to download the book to a computer and then transfer it, utilizing a mini USB cord, to the Nook.

Stavig, who has had his Nook for about a year, said he hasn’t used it a lot – there was some software that required some updating – but it would be nice to have the option to borrow a book from the library.

“It should be interesting,” he said of the new KRLS e-book system.

Paul Ericcson, manager of the Bemidji Public Library, said his staff is thrilled to be able to offer the new service to its customers.

E-readers can hold many books at one time, which makes it simpler for customers who travel a lot, he noted. Also, e-books can be downloaded 24 hours a day through the 3M Cloud Library.

“We knew it would be more convenient for some people,” he said.

Musselman said one challenge facing the KRLS will be the costs associated with building an electronic library. While many e-books are sold for $12.99 to the public, the cost to the library system can be several times that, since the single book will be read by many people.

Ericsson said the costs can vary, and, unlike traditional, hard-copy books, the licensures can expire.

Help with e-books

Step-by-step directions are available at online at to explain how to download an e-book to an e-reader, tablet, smart phone or personal computer.

Devices that support the 3M Cloud Library system are the Barnes & Noble Nook devices, Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android-based tablets or smartphones, and more.

The 3M Cloud Library currently works only for PC computers, though a Mac version is expected soon.

The e-books are available to all Kitchigami Regional Library System customers with a valid library card.