If you've wanted to try reading books you can download online but didn't have an e-reader, here's your chance.
Walla Walla Public Library now loans Kindle and Nook e-readers for people wanting to experience this increasingly popular way of reading.
If you're hooked on downloadable books and are thinking about getting a reader, the loaners let you to try before you buy.
Each e-reader is preloaded with a selection of current fiction and nonfiction titles. Among them are "The Sense of an Ending," by Julian Barnes; "State of Wonder," by Ann Patchett; "The White Woman on the Green Bicycle," by Monique Roffey; "Steve Jobs," by Walter Isaacson; and more.
The devices also are compatible with downloadable books available to check out through the library's membership in the Washington Anytime Library consortium. Visit anytime.lib.overdrive.com to explore the thousands of titles in the catalog.
In addition to portability, the devices have other appealing features for different types of readers. For example, if you have vision trouble the text size can be increased to reduce eye strain. There also is a dictionary on the device so readers can improve their vocabulary by looking up unfamiliar words.
Walla Walla's library was selected by Washington State Library in 2011 to participate in an e-reader training program. This grant provided some devices at no cost, while the rest were bought with a one-time funding opportunity in the library's technology budget.
The new experimental program is available at very few libraries, which operate with varying levels of restrictions to guard against the likelihood of damage to the devices. Because Walla Walla's library strives to provide broad access to its materials regardless of a person's financial status, any adult with a Walla Walla Public Library account in good standing may borrow an e-reader free of charge.
For more information, call the library at 527-4550, stop by at 238 E. Alder St., or go online to www.wallawallapubliclibrary.org.
Alexis Rodegerdts is a public services specialist for the Walla Walla Public Library. She can be reached via email at: email@example.com.