Champaign Library Offers Kindles Through State Grant
By Jeff Bossert
With the help of state grant dollars, Champaign’s Public Library wants to give patrons the chance to use a Kindle.
Fourteen of them will be available on loan later this month, each containing about 30 books in different genres. Last year, the library was one of 40 recipients of the ‘Eliminating the Digital Divide’ grant through the Illinois State Library program.
While some of the 40 libraries and community college centers have focused on downloading audio books for patrons with visual or physical impairments, Champaign Library Development Director Donna Pittman says staff hired someone to help those at the Douglass Branch Library develop computer skills.
She says that enabled the Kindle program to proceed this year.
"We think they may appeal to people who may not have a Kindle, or an e-reader, and would like to give it a try," Pittman said. "Another group of people that might be interest are those with low vision. These Kindles have a font enlargement feature and a text-to-speech feature, meaning they can listen to the books."
Pittman expects the Kindles to be available by mid-September. Meanwhile, she says many patrons may not be aware of the 35,000 e-books available for download through the library.
Similar grant-funded internet-enabled programs have been offered through the Decatur and Hoopeston Public Libraries.