IF you haven’t tried out the e-reading experience yet, here’s your chance. VPL is now lending e-readers to library patrons who want to take one for a test drive.

“Year after year, interest in ebooks continues to rise,” says Christina de Castell, VPL’s director of resources and technology. “By lending e-readers and providing workshops and coaching, we are breaking down technology barriers and ensuring everyone has access to reading and learning.”

Last year, ebook borrowing grew to 244,144 – up from 133,452 the previous year. Book publishers are releasing ebook licenses to libraries at a rapid rate and show no signs of slowing down – last month saw more than 460 titles added to the VPL catalogue.

“The appetite for free, public access to ebooks and electronic resources is stronger than ever,” de Castell says. “The key word here is ‘free’ – while it’s possible to buy these ebooks, our role as a library is to buy materials on the public’s behalf so that fun and educational content is accessible to everyone.”

Borrowing an e-reader from the library is much like borrowing a regular book and it can be done from any VPL branch for a period of three weeks.

For those who are new to borrowing ebooks and using e-readers, introductory classes and drop-in tech cafés are offered on a regular basis. VPL also has a comprehensive online guide on how to get started.