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Estacada Public Library patrons take advantage of digital options, but still appreciate print

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Patrons at the Estacada Public Library downloaded 4,705 digital items between July and December 2018.

Though libraries often are associated with plentiful stacks of books, many patrons also are taking advantage of digital options for reading. Estacada bibliophiles are no exception to this trend.

In May 2012, readers at the Estacada Public Library downloaded 93 e-books and digital audiobooks, a figure that grew to 875 downloads in December 2018.

From July to December 2018, Estacada patrons downloaded a total of 4,705 digital items.

"The circulation has just gone up and up," said Estacada Public Library Director Michele Kinnamon. "It's gotten more and more popular as people find out about it and become adept with devices."

The Estacada library has digital content available through Library2Go, which is purchased by the state of Oregon, and Cloud Library, which is paid for by the Libraries in Clackamas County, or LINCC.

E-books and digital audiobooks can be downloaded to devices like Kindles, iPads or smart phones, allowing readers to access them while they are on the go.

Most digital selections are purchased with a fee that allows for unlimited use, though some book purchases cover a specific number of checkouts. Audiobooks typically cost more than e-books, since more steps are involved in their creation.

Kinnamon estimated that LINCC will spend nearly $200,000 this fiscal year on downloadable e-books and audiobooks.

She noted that there are books for all reading levels available digitally, including the selections for the Oregon Battle of the Books.

For those who are unfamiliar with the technology, Estacada Adult Services Librarian Leslie Pearson offers tutoring every Friday.

Kinnamon said the versatility of digital options is one reason for their increasing popularity.

"A lot of people like to use audiobooks in the car, and listen to books on their commute. You can do everyday activities and listen to audiobooks," she said. "For e-books, people have their devices and can use them on vacation if they don't want to take 15 books with them. It's a convenience."

But even with these new innovations, print isn't dead.

Estacada Public Library patron Wanda Parks said she prefers physical books to digital options.

"I have a sign at home that says "Read Real Books,'" she said. "If you're glued to a screen, it hurts your eyes. We need libraries and real books."

Kinnamon noted that print books remain the most popular items at the library, and they also make up a larger portion of the budget than digital downloads.

"Loads of people still like to curl up in front of the fireplace with a physical book," she said.

Digital items in demand

The following is a list of popular e-books and digital audiobooks from the libraries in Clackamas County, based on checkout trends and holds place during the last six months.

Adult Fiction Titles

"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

"Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty

"The Reckoning: A Novel" by John Grisham

"Past Tense" by Lee Child

"Unsheltered: A Novel" by Barbara Kingsolver

"Crazy Rich Asians" by Kevin Kwan

Adult Nonfiction Titles

"Becoming" by Michelle Obama

"Fear" by Bob Woodward

"Educated" by Tara Westover

"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis

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