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Phoenix Public Library evolving with e-books, streaming

(Facebook/Councilwoman Debra Stark)

PHOENIX — As the world continues to trend towards digital, many fear what this may mean for brick and mortar institutions.

However, that doesn’t seem to be a fear for Phoenix Public Library.

Beyond the physical stacks of books and perfectly positioned computer monitors around the library, there are thousands of e-books that can be accessed, even beyond the four walls at Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix.

“Fortunately, public libraries are, for the most part, forward thinking organizations,” Karl Kendall, deputy director of collections and programming with Phoenix Public Library said. “Phoenix Public Library, as far back as 2004, believe it or not, saw the eBook trend coming and got involved right off the bat with eBooks back then with a company called Overdrive, which is now the main provider of e-books for libraries.”

He said that today, 25-30% of the library’s total book selection is made up of e-books.

Kendall said that carrying written selections in multiple mediums doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the digital content the library has available for the public.

“People think e-books but we offer so much more in electronic format,” he said. “It’s e-books, we have e-magazines, newspapers, audio books, even movies and music. We have so much to offer in the area of e-resources.”

And while streaming services like Netflix and Hulu continue to duke it out for their share of the movie market with fluctuating prices, the library is free.

“That’s where we have the edge on so many of the other streaming services,” Kendall chuckled.

Beyond just the digital and electronic files you can access from anywhere through the library, there is still plenty of tech-based reasons to head to the library. There are 3D printers continued education classes and more available through Phoenix Public Library.

Kendall said that while the world continues to evolve, the library will continue to change with it but they’ll always stay true to their roots.

“Our brand is still the book but that’s available in so many different ways now,” Kendall said.

You can even get an e-card, in addition to a physical library card into order to access streaming and downloads from your computer or phone through the library’s website.

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