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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

eBooks at the Library

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, July 30, 2017


What did 12,000 library users all do in the past year?


They all downloaded eBooks from our library website using their library cards.


You know, that little card issued by the library that allows you to check out books and other things from your local public library.


Society often made fun of the little card you got at the library, and the sometimes silly process that librarians go through to when you are getting the card – but now that same card opens the door to massive amounts of data and information and eBooks.


Our library website ( has three specific eBook sites for library users and all three are exciting in their own way.


The Tumble Book Library is found on the opening page of our website, and focuses on children’s books and teen offerings.


It offers story books, math stories, puzzles & games, read-alongs, nonfiction, language books as well as eBooks and videos.


Some of the items are online books, and others are interactive books with sound and music.  Others are downloadable.


There are literally thousands of books available with new items added all the time.


I got involved with “Bink and Gollie: Don’t You Need a New Pair of Socks?” which is an interactive story with the comical adventures involving their bright socks.


The library staff wondered why I was laughing in my office with music emerging from the door.


Teen novels are also found there, and several types of Apps are available to run the items on different devices and computers.


The Ohio Digital Library can be found under the caption of “eBooks” on the opening page of the website and links you directly to this collection of nearly 400,000 eBooks of all categories and descriptions.


Libraries from across Ohio purchase thousands of new eBooks every month and your library card allow downloads to your devices at no cost.


Holds can be placed to request titles and you can use the NEW App available online.


The latest and greatest new books are on the Ohio Digital Library from a variety of publishers.


Hoopla is the funny title for the world’s largest digital media service which is offered to users of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County right here at home.


Started in 1989 by the owner of a video rental store, his company has moved to the sales of DVDs, Playaways, and Books on CD as well as online digital products; and it is an Ohio company founded in the Toledo area.


Available to you are the thousands of materials that you can download to use ranging from movies, music, audiobooks, comic books, and eBooks including the back files of the HarperCollins Publishers.


You can download up to 15 items per month, set to increase to 30 per month in September.


New to their database are the Great Courses series, the Britannica Digital Learning Library, and products from the Gale/Centage Co. specifically for students.


The Sesame Street Library is now offered on Hoopla, as well as 40,000 titles of Audiobooks, some 160,000 eBook titles, and 9,000 titles of comic books scrolled in Action-View.


Yes, our physical libraries still has books made with paper that can be checked out and they can be found in our shared database with 92 other public library systems in Ohio.


The public library is an exciting place to visit today, as we are the gateway to information in a way we have never experienced before.


I don’t know if I should share this with you or not; but most librarians found the old card catalog (that appeared in our library system pre-1993) to be dull & boring, and we know that most people didn’t know how to use it anyway.


Today’s online access to books, eBooks, and information in general clearly provides more things at your fingertips than ever before.


But, remember, you need one of those little library cards.