Mid-Columbia Libraries wants you to explore the virtual world of books lined up on its virtual shelves from your iPad, eReader, tablet or smartphone.
And to coax you into the digital world, it's offering an incentive.
Each time patrons download an audiobook or e-Book from the libraries' website, they get a chance at winning a new Sony Pocket Edition Reader or iPod Touch 8GB.
The giveaway, sponsored by Friends of Mid-Columbia Libraries, is being done to promote the library system's programs to help customers check out new technologies for checking out materials, said Kate Holloway, communications coordinator for Mid-Columbia Libraries.
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Each download counts as an entry. "The more you download, the more chances there are to win," she said.
To enter go to: bit.ly/mcldigitalbooks.
The library has more than 20,000 downloadable e-Books and audiobooks available.
For library patrons who aren't yet familiar with downloading library materials, there are four free how-to programs scheduled this month to compare using E-Readers and smartphones, provided courtesy of Best Buy.
The scheduled 7 p.m. sessions will be today at the Kennewick branch, 1620 S. Union St.; and May 25 at the West Richland branch, 3803 W. Van Giesen St.
Holloway said library customers have been able to download materials for free for two years. There are more than 20,000 audiobooks and eBooks titles available for access directly to customers' iPhones, Android phones, or Blackberry devices using the library's free applications. The service also is available for patrons on their home computers, iPods and iPads, the Barnes & Noble Nook and most e-Readers.
Users of Amazon's Kindle e-Reader will be able to enjoy library downloads later this year.
Patrons also can access their library account and reserve materials directly through their smartphone using the library's mobile catalog webpage at catalog.mcl-lib.org/mobile/.
Holloway said the library's collection of downloadable materials is growing to keep pace with customers' demands, and that last month's customer online downloads reached 2,600.
The Mid-Columbia Libraries has 11 branches and a bookmobile serving communities in Benton and Franklin counties.