Mom had just gotten out of the car with an armful of videos to return to the library when 3-year-old Henry Turner tossed back his blond curls and tugged at her.
If you go
What: Tour the Digital Bookmobile
When: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: St. Andrews Regional Library, 1735 N. Woodmere Drive, West Ashley.
To contact: 766-2546
More info: To download free eBooks, audio books, magazines and music from the library’s web site, go to ccpl.org.
“What in the world is that?” he asked pointing. “That” is the new world. And, videos in tow, Jackie Turner brought him over to see.
Through Saturday, the Digital Bookmobile is sitting in the parking lot of the St. Andrews branch of the Charleston County Public Library, inside a 74-foot long trailer behind an 18-wheel tractor-trailer. This one leaves the old putt-putt bookmobiles in the dust. There aren’t any books inside, just a series of screens and a table full of technology designed to get people comfortable with the idea of reading and listening online.
Thousands of titles and millions of songs in the county library collection nowadays can be downloaded right into the palm of your hand — for free.
“We’re trying to get the word out to people that you could be at home getting your 24-7 library, at your convenience, at home in your pajammies,” said Becky Melancon, library reference resources manager. You can, in fact, get it anywhere the signal tower icons pop up on your laptop, smart phone or e-reader.
More than 6,000 book titles, more than 2,000 audio titles, more than 100 magazines and millions of tunes are yours, so long as you have a library card to access them.
Maybe best of all, there’s no lugging it all down to the neighborhood library to return. At the end of the lending period, it simply goes “poof,” disappearing from the screen.
The county library has contracted with OverDrive ebooks and audio books, along with OneClickdigital audio books, Zinio digital magazines and Freegal music and music videos.
OverDrive is touring the country with the digital bookmobile. Step inside and you face the TV-size newbie screen where you are introduced to what digital reading and listening are all about — “for those who have no idea what’s going on,” said Katie Yap, of OverDrive. Or skip over to the screen where you learn how OverDrive works, then on to a gadget gallery of devices, such as iPhones, Android tablets, BlackBerrys, Nooks, Sony Readers and Kindles, where you can hands-on sample texts to test drive each device.
OverDrive and county library staffers are on hand to tap you through each step.
How user-friendly is it? Henry Turner walked into the big truck trailer a little google-eyed, with his thumb in his mouth. But when he saw the Kindle icons, his finger popped down and began to scroll.
“Especially for people who have never used (e-reading) before, it’s a great set-up,” said Pat Patterson, of West Ashley. He knows how it works, but stopped by Friday for some tips on downloading to an MP3.
Outside, Donshia Simmons and Shavez Green, both of West Ashley, walked past the new world nodding approval. They didn’t need to stop in; they already read online, and Green is going to college online.
“I think it’s more convenient,” Simmons said.
“Without it, you really have to take a trip to the library,” Green said.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.