E-Read Texas – TSLAC E-book project

I am excited to announce the launch of E-Read Texas, a new statewide initiative to bring E-books to Texans through libraries, starting with small community libraries in all parts of the state.

The E-Read Texas program will provide e-book content via an easy-to-use platform that will allow readers to simultaneously see TSLAC content alongside any provided by their local libraries.

TSLAC has signed an agreement with Amigos Library Services to implement SimplyE, an open source e-book application, in small community libraries across the state, starting with those using the Biblionix Apollo integrated library system. In July and August, Amigos will work with those libraries to make the application available to their customers. In September, TSLAC will make e-books available to libraries and readers across Texas. Any library that has enabled the SimplyE application will be able to easily offer E-Read Texas content alongside whatever e-books they are currently offering through other providers.

SimplyE is an open source e-book application developed by the New York Public Library and is available for mobile devices running iOS and Android. SimplyE offers a “three-click” approach to e-books: patrons browse the e-book bookshelf, click to select a title, click again to check it out, and click to open and read it. Existing library e-books from OverDrive, RBDigital, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca and other vendors can be made available within the SimplyE app. Amigos will work with libraries and their vendors to simplify the setup process.

With the E-Read Texas project, TSLAC will become one of about five state libraries nationally to use the SimplyE application to facilitate statewide access to e-book content. E-Read Texas will be a multi-phased project with an ultimate goal of wide adoption of the SimplyE application in all types of Texas libraries to access an ever-growing library of E-book materials.

E-Read Texas will be available to all libraries in Texas regardless of their accreditation status or TexShare participation. To assist libraries that have little or no e-book content, TSLAC also plans to purchase e-books that libraries can lend to their patrons.

Beginning in September, the E-Read Texas collection will offer adult leisure reading e-books from the Digital Public Library of America’s Exchange program that can be accessed using the SimplyE application. TSLAC does not plan to purchase bestsellers, but the collection will be chosen to include titles that will be popular with patrons, with enough copies to keep hold lists short.

This project is being made possible with federal funding. Texas librarians have long told us that their highest priority is to get more e-book content. In response, TSLAC has requested funds from the Legislature in the last two biennia to introduce a statewide E-book project, but those funds have not been provided. E-Read Texas is a strategic effort to meet the statewide demand for e-books through Texas libraries in a phased approach using available funds.

Many people worked to make E-Read Texas a reality, but special thanks go to Danielle Cunniff Plumer, Statewide Resource Sharing Administrator, for her work designing and launching this project. You can read a more detailed description of the project from Danielle on the Library Developments Blog.

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