E-Read Texas comes to Marfa Public Library in near future

MARFA – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) announced a new program, E-Read Texas, to bring electronic books to Texans served by small community libraries in all parts of the state beginning September 1. The E-Read Texas program will provide an easy-to-use platform to access e-books provided by TSLAC alongside materials purchased by local libraries.

Marfa Public Library director Mandy Roane said that since the library is not currently offering e-books, the state will wait to implement the program in Marfa until the state’s free e-books are available, likely sometime after September.

“We’ve tried e-books in the past, but they were hosted on a completely separate catalog, which made it hard for some patrons to find them and were cost prohibitive for us. We got a grant to cover them for the first year, but usage was so low we couldn’t justify spending any of our collection funding on them,” said Roane.

“I’m hoping that by making the books from the state library easy to find through our catalog, we’ll get more users. If we’re successful with these books and they’re easy for our patrons to access, download and read then we can look into adding more to our collection from our own funding,” she noted.

TSLAC will partner with Amigos Library Services to make SimplyE, an open-source e-book platform, available to as many as 225 small and medium-sized community libraries over the next two years. SimplyE includes easy-to-use e-reader apps for iOS and Android, allowing users to check out and read e-books provided by their local library.

“Enhancing the collections of public libraries and making these materials available 24/7 is a great benefit to communities in Texas. We encourage everyone to get a library card to take advantage of this and the many other amazing things libraries offer for free,” said Alan Kornblau, Chief Executive Officer of Amigos Library Services.

This project represents the first stage of a multi-year project aimed to bring more e-books to Texans via their public libraries. The program complements TSLAC’s TexShare and TexQuest programs that leverage statewide buying power to bring cost-effective access to e-resources to virtually every person in the state. Texans use e-resources provided by TSLAC over 140 million times each year.

The E-Read Texas program will include a collection of general-interest adult fiction and non-fiction e-books. Libraries will be able stretch local book budgets by using these e-books to supplement their existing collections, all of which will be available through the SimplyE platform.

TSLAC is working collaboratively with the Texas library community to select content for the E-Read Texas collection, which will be available before the end of the calendar year. The E-Read Texas program will have a statewide impact built on local needs that improves the ability of Texas libraries to engage with their communities.