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Topic: Further info on digital libraries

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Subject: Further info on digital libraries
Date Posted: 12/23/2010 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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Post to this thread if you have info on libraries that offer non-resident cards for ebooks - Philadelphia Library is great but there might be more options out there too!



Lending Libraries

Some local libraries use OverDrive's digital media services to provide digital collections to their patrons.  These digital collections usually include eBooks in the Adobe Reader, Mobipocket Reader and Microsoft Reader formats, as well as audio books (a topic I'll reserve for another blog article). 

If your local library has a digital collection, you'll be able to borrow eBooks for some set period of time, usually for 14-21 days.  You'll be able to download eBooks from the library's website and you won't have to return the books, so you don't have to worry about late fees.  These types of eBooks are subject to the same DRM constraints of purchased books but their encryption status is modified to include a "time bomb;" that is, the books expire after a specified period of time.  When an eBook expires, you are not able to open it unless you borrow the eBook again from the library. 

Some of the lending libraries I've discovered include:

Last Edited on: 12/23/10 8:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/23/2010 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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Great list, thanks! Will look into some of those. 

FYI, I think the NY Public Library is no longer accepting non-resident applications, even for a fee. :-( 

Date Posted: 12/25/2010 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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You can search for libraries that support ebooks at Overdrive's website:


The list does include a few libraries that only have audiobooks for download, but I think these are getting rarer. 

And Marilyn you are right--the NYPL doesn't offer non-resident cards at all anymore.  I used to have one a couple years ago, and they wouldn't renew it when my year was up.

If you are a resident in California, most (maybe all) libraries in the state will give you a card--but you'll probably have to visit the library to get one.  I have cards for many libraries in Northern California.  In my opinon, the San Francisco Library has the best ePub collection of the libaries I belong to.  Next comes the San Jose library. 

I have about five library cards now--and I did get one from the Philidelphia Free Library for the $15 fee.  My husband just rolls his eyes when I tell him we need to take another road trip to get me another card :-)


Last Edited on: 12/25/10 12:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/25/2010 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 399
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I know Atlanta-Fulton County lets non-residents get cards for $40.  The hitch is that as far as I can tell, you have to apply for a card in person, so it probably only works for people living near Fulton County.  They also let anyone who teaches in Fulton County (regardless of residency) to have a library card for free.

Date Posted: 12/26/2010 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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Here's another list of libraries offering non resident cards, with different fees.  Haven't checked yet to see which ones offer downloads.

Date Posted: 12/26/2010 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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USA Libraries that offer cards online or by mail

These libraries currently allow non-residents to obtain cards without appearing in person.

  • The Free Library of Philadelphia ($15/yr)
  • Fairfax County, VA ($27/year)
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, NC ($45/yr)
  • New Orleans, LA ($50/yr)
  • Orange County, FL ($125/yr)

This link also offers information on digital libraries that require in person application, as well as digital libraries in foreign countries.

Date Posted: 12/26/2010 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Fictionwise Lending library:  If you join Fictionwise's Buywise club, you can borrow books from their small lending library.

The Buywise Club is gone now, and I never could get into the lending library. I think that was before my time. If I log in from that page I get to my own bookshelf.