By Angie Georgeff
Okay, I admit it. I’m not a fan of e-books. Like many of you, I prefer the heft of a hardcover volume. I enjoy turning pages. I love that new book smell. Nevertheless, I recognize that e-books are a great convenience when I’m traveling and can take a small library with me in the space of a phone or tablet. At times like this, when libraries are closed, they prove their worth.
I recently mentioned the benefits of Tennessee READS, where Tennessee’s public library patrons can borrow e-books and audiobooks with their library card. Since then, because of the extraordinary circumstances we are experiencing, a change has been made to allow Tennesseans to open an account and borrow books using their mobile phone number. Simply go to https://reads.overdrive.com/ and choose the box to sign up for an instant digital card. After you sign up, “Help” is always available at the bottom of the page.
Another resource I frequently use when I need to consult a literary classic is Project Gutenberg. They offer 61,688 free e-books, which may be read online with regular web browsers or downloaded in either EPUB or Kindle formats. For the most part, they are literary works for which the U.S. copyright has expired. That description includes some of my favorite novels and many of the books teachers assign to their students.
Even though the library is closed, we are looking ahead to when we will be able to reopen. The companies from which we buy our books are holding our standing orders for us until we’re ready to reopen, but we’re still compiling lists so we can press the accelerator when the light is ready to turn from red to green. Please feel free to call the library to request any soon-to-be-released books you are eager to read—even while we’re closed. Leave a message with your request and be sure to state your name if you want to be one of the first to read it after we reopen.
Several patrons have asked about Story, our beloved library cat. We can tell that she misses seeing her many friends, but rest assured she is not being starved of attention or affection. In fact, she is napping at my elbow right now. And since we notice that her toys have been rearranged every day when we come in to check on her, we know that her nightly romps have continued in spite of social distancing guidelines.
Don’t worry—there are never more than nine toys present each night, and she considers them part of her family. If some hapless mouse or skink should try to crash the party, Story will quickly take care of the situation.