To the Editor:
Just about the best resource of any kind in Boca Grande is the local branch of the Lee County Library System at the community Center. Presided over by Toni Vanover, it provides access to the world of books and media literally at your fingertips. With your library card (or your card number) any book, audio book, DVD or music CD can be requested online, in person, or by phoning 964-0211 or (239) 479-4636. Search the website, library.lee-county.com, find what you want, click on "request," and the item is on its way. You have access to all the items in the Reference Room as well as the items, which number more than one million, in the entire Lee County Library System.
Increasingly, books, short stories and magazines come only in a variety of digital formats. This is also true for music, audio books, and films. Many of these digital works, too, can be easily accessed through a simple sequence of links starting with the Lee County library web site.
Once you are logged on, you will see, on the left, four orange highlighted titles one of which says "quick links.” Clicking there produces a list which includes the hot link "download depot."
When you click this link, you arrive at the gateway to the digital resources held in the Lee County Library System. On the left side of the page are invitations to browse various arrangements of the vast digital holdings. Digital books, music, videos, and audio books are available free. You can have 20 items checked out at a time. Your downloads will automatically check themselves in after 14 days.
The tools needed to mine this digital mother lode are listed on the righthand side of the “Download Depot” home page. Under the heading "Software Downloads" is a list of three possible software keys to the digital treasure trove. The Overdrive Media Console allows Mac owners to download, organize and listen to Overdrive Mp3 audio books. Mac owners can also transfer these files to other Mac products such as Iphone, Ipad, and Ipod touch. You can also use the Iphone app for a direct download. The console also facilitates burning onto disc, works for all Windows based computers, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, iPad, Nook, Sony e-readers and many more devices.
My own interest, coming from an analogue generation, lies in reading books, so I downloaded the Adobe Digital Editions. The steps were easy to follow, even though I was somewhat taken aback when Adobe required me to "create an account" in order to authorize the computer and make the software active. I was even more confused when, having created the account, Adobe told me that my email address was already in use. But, I went back to the sign-in page, entered my email address (which I've had for years) and my second oldest and most used password, and I was in.
At this point I had what I needed, because I had already reserved the short story I wanted (which was only published in digital format) during my visit to the library this morning. Because I wanted to see what a first user experience might be like, I went to the hot link "All eBooks" and then searched “The Girl In The Dragon Tattoo.” The list that instantly appeared had Larsson's novel twice at the top, once for Adobe
PDF eBook format or EPUB eBook formats, and once for a variety of audio book digital formats.
To check out I entered my library card number and PIN (last four digits of your phone number). Next I chose “confirm checkout then download.”
All of these were in a clear font and there are easily deciphered icons on a toolbar that allow you to increase, (or decrease?) the size of the print.
All of these features were explained to me in way less time than it took for me to write (or you to read) this and the web site is wholly self explanatory.
Welcome to the brave new world of books. It's a world that, as strange to Aldous Huxley as it might well be, is one that he might be well pleased to inhabit.
Frank NewlinBoca Grande
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