Sony issued a press release on Tuesday, June 29th—Library Advocacy Day—announcing the Reader Library program, a new initiative to help promote and expand ebooks in public libraries.
The Reader Library program provides public libraries with educational material about ebooks and digital reading devices. The program educates librarians about ebooks and ebook readers, and gives library staff digital devices to use.
The press release says that the Reader Library program is open to public libraries with robust ebook lending programs and that the program components include:
- A training program for library staff developed by Sony. This one-time web-based session covers digital reading formats, an overview of sources for digital materials, and training on Sony’s Reader digital reading devices.
- Sony’s Reader digital reading devices for use by library staff. Educational materials to provide readers background materials on digital reading devices. Sony will begin the program with a handful of libraries nationwide to tailor educational materials that reflect the content and features of each library’s digital collection.
- Bi-annual update sessions designed to keep libraries and their staff current with latest developments in digital reading content, format and devices.
Sony has been using free library ebooks to promote their ereaders since the Sony Pocket and Sony Touch came out last year. This program takes it a step further by getting Sony’s name and products in libraries for people to see and use in person. Whether libraries will start lending dedicated ereaders is unclear, but its an intriguing possibility.