My First E-Reader Program
Even though I did a lot of research for my first talk to our Library patrons regarding e-readers, I was still worried that I had missed something important or that I’d be asked a question for which I had no answer. I think all of us who give presentations have similiar fears up to the moment the program starts. Certainly I was impressed by the number of library patrons who showed up on a cold night in January to listen to what I had to say about this topic – somewhere between 55 and 60 is my guesstimate. Before I began the formal talk, I asked for a show of hands as to how many folks already owned an e-reader and then found out which brand they used. The majority of attendees already owned a device, as I discovered, and most of them had a Kindle. Second in popularity was the Nook, followed by the Kobo (a surprise to me) and then one Sony Reader, one Nook Color, one iPad and one Pandigital. Those who didn’t already own an e-reader were prepared to purchase one in the near future.
I started my presentation with a brief description of each of six different devices (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Nook Color and iPad), highlighting the strong points and the downsides of each. I demonstrated the “Read to Me” feature on the Nook Color with Kipling’s How the Elephant Got Its Trunk. My audience seemed as impressed with my X-Mini red speaker plugged directly into the Nook Color as with the demonstration itself. In fact, after the talk was over, several asked for information on where they could buy one!
Since things were going so smoothly at that point, I got brave and went live for the next portion of the program. I attached the Sony Reader to my laptop and accessed our MCLS website and went through all of the steps to select and download an ebook. This is where I started to see my audience really become glued to the screen. I showed them how to choose a particular format (EPUB) and then limit their search to only those titles that were available to download immediately. Several patrons actually made comments like “Wow, I’ve been trying to do that for days” and “Now I won’t be so frustrated going through the long list of books that are already checked out.” For them, the program was already a success. There were also vocal responses to my explanation of how and why Adobe Digital Editions must be downloaded and registered on their computers as well as their devices. The whole process was finally starting to make sense!
I ended the talk fifteen minutes prior to the Library closing, but there were a lot of folks who just wanted to hang around to ask additional questions or hold the e-readers. I consider this first attempt an overwhelming success in that our patrons seemed a lot happier and more comfortable in their understanding of how their devices worked. Several folks told me they were going to “upgrade” their existing e-readers to another one, and a few more told me that they had decided to make the plunge and try this new technology. We’ll be holding three informal “Touch and Feel” sessions over the next few months at the Library and my program has been videoed and is now on YouTube. My Powerpoint presentation is located on Slideshare – http://www.slideshare.net/kpetlewski/getting-to-know-your-kindle-nook .