In a multi-tasking world, Alysa Selby has figured out how to clean the house while reading a good book.
Selby is the reference librarian at the Bud Werner Memorial Library. She says the library's new digital collection represents an ideal way for patrons to maximize their free time.
"There's nothing better than to be listening to a book while you clean your house," Selby said. "You take your time, you do a good job and you don't get mad at your husband because he isn't helping."
Selby is eager to bring attention to the library's new access through the Internet to more than 1,000 children's and adult titles. The collection is made possible through Bud Werner's affiliation with the Western Slope consortium of public libraries known as Marmot.
Together, the region's libraries have subscribed to a service known as "Overdrive."
Library cardholders may "borrow" books and music from the digital site 24 hours a day from their homes or offices, or anywhere they can connect to the World Wide Web.
"Our patrons live and work in rural areas, Bud Werner Library Director Chris Painter said. "This service provides them with best-selling audio books and classical music from the convenience of home."
The digital downloads offer the advantage of eliminating library fines and lost or damaged books.
Selby said before they begin, library cardholders must go to http://marmot.lib.overdrive.com and download a piece of Overdrive software that serves as a checkout module.
The software is not compatible with Apple computers.
The next step is to select a title and ascertain if it is available. To begin with, Marmot has purchased the right to just one "copy" of each digital book. Selby said a Marmot staffer will monitor demand for each title so the consortium can makes decisions about purchasing more copies.
If the title isn't already checked out, patrons may download a copy to the module on their computer. They have two weeks to listen to it from their computer or transfer it to an MP3 player. In some cases, books may be burned to a CD.
Selby said users can get by with an MP3 player of as little as 1megabyte storage. Larger storage devices make it easier to transfer an entire volume at a time.
Once transferred to an MP3 player, the listener can keep their copy of the book indefinitely. However, it will disappear from their Overdrive module and be checked back into the collection.
In cases where the sought-after book already is checked out, patrons may place a hold on it and be notified by e-mail when it becomes available.
A portion of the audio book collection is leased rather than owned by the libraries. Those titles may be checked out by an unlimited number of users at the same time.
"These are primarily classic works," Selby said, "and will be incredibly helpful to a classroom of students who have been assigned the same book."
Selby, who is always reading three or four books simultaneously, is finding new ways to max out her reading time. In addition to cleaning house while she reads, she has begun to put her ear buds in when she is exercising, knitting and cooking elaborate meals.