In the age of the Internet, America's libraries were expected to go the way of vinyl records and typewriters, but Jackson County libraries are thriving in this digital age.

Continuing its efforts to stay current with new technologies, Jackson County Library Services will now allow users to browse, check-out and download e-books, audiobooks, and videos day or night from anywhere with its new Library2Go service. To take advantage of these new offerings, users just need a valid JCLS library card and a computer with Internet access.

The downloadable collection is the latest example of the library's tradition of responding to the changing needs and desires of its patrons. The program started Monday, March 15, and Ashland Library Branch Manager Amy Blossom said interest in the program was immediate.

"I think the new Library2Go program with e-books is great," she said. "On Monday, we opened at 10 and at 10:10 we had our first person in asking about it and how they can get it started on their home computer."

Downloadable e-books can be read on a PC or Mac using free reader software called Adobe Digital Editions. They can also be transferred to popular e-book reading devices like the Sony Reader and the Barnes & Noble nook. As of yet, the Amazon Kindle doesn't work with the Library2Go service. E-readers offer the portability of a paperback, can store hundreds of titles, save paper, and are easier on the eyes than a standard computer screen. The only downside is that e-readers typically cost upwards of $250.

Even if you don't have an e-reader, there are plenty of digital options available with the Library2Go service. Besides e-books, patrons can download digital audiobooks and videos to enjoy on a computer or transfer to portable devices such as MP3 players and iPods.

At the end of the lending period, digital titles automatically expire and are returned to the collection. The whole idea of books being able to return themselves to the library is especially appealing to me, since I frequently turn in books late and my library fines are becoming something of a financial burden.

The program is starting with 5,000 titles and will be adding 1,200 more within the month and the collection will continue to grow. This is a statewide program, which means the state library "holds" the collection of titles and libraries. The Jackson County Library is a part of this consortium, so patrons have access to this large statewide collection.

Amy Blossom says the library works hard hard to meet the changing needs of patrons.

"I think the more we can offer the public the better. We aren't worried about being outdated. Sometimes it seems a challenge to keep up with all that is new, but that keeps things interesting," she said.

Blossom added that the library is doing quite well in terms of patrons.

"Our circulation numbers keep going up and up. We check out books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, in all sorts of formats. We get to offer more to people. How great is that?" she said.

It is great that our library offers so many options for so many people. To try the new service, I downloaded a kids e-book, "The Attack of The Evil Elvises," from Library2Go onto my notebook computer, which my son thoroughly enjoyed. I sometimes enjoy listening to audiobooks in the car or on certain long walks, and it will be great to have access to new titles at a moment's notice.

Library2Go is quick and convenient, perfectly suited to our fast-paced digital age. Still, for me nothing beats the actual library. It is pleasantly comfortable. I love its warm hush, the light scent of wood and worn cloth, the chance meetings with friends, the friendly staff, and of course, all those books, chunky objects of joy just waiting for someone to pick them up.

For more information, and to get started with Library2Go, visit

Angela Howe-Decker is a freelance writer living in Ashland. She can be reached at

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