THE WEEKLY - Audio and ebooks in new wave of library offerings

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Vacation travelers and people on the go have even more reason nowadays to bring their reading along with them or squeeze it in during free time.

The Walla Walla Public Library now offers free downloadable ebooks and audiobooks from the Washington Anytime Library. With small portable devices able to hold many titles at once, the downloads save space while traveling. For multitaskers, audiobooks enable listeners to enjoy books while hands are otherwise engaged.

And both formats are helpful for people with limited vision; ereader devices easily adjust text size.

The Washington Anytime Library is a group of libraries in the state that combine resources to offer free downloadable books to patrons. It currently has more than 2,200 audiobooks and 2,000 ebooks for adults and young adults, with new items continually added to improve variety and availability.

The service functions much like a physical library, allowing patrons to check out and place holds on titles. However, a major benefit for those away on a trip or with busy schedules is that items are returned automatically on their due date, releasing patrons from concern about overdue fines.

To get started, follow the "Download audiobooks & ebooks" link at wallawallapubliclibrary.org or go to the Washington Anytime Library website at anytime.lib.overdrive.com . Helpful links are in the "Getting Started" box on the left side of the screen, and the "Quick Start Guide" will help you through the initial set-up.

With your library card, a computer and an Internet connection, you can download and then transfer books to a wide variety of portable ereader and audio devices. If you have an Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, or Windows Mobile device, you can bypass the computer and download directly to your device. A list of compatible devices is continually updated in links to "Supported audio devices" and "Supported ebook devices." Kindle compatibility is to be added later this year.

The Washington Anytime Library search for a particular title, author, or subject, or browse the many categories featured on the left side of the screen. Coming is a search for downloadable books directly from the Walla Walla Public Library catalog.

To check out books, log in by selecting "Walla Walla Public Library" from the dropdown menu and then entering your library card number on the back of the card.

An introduction to downloadable books and troubleshooting will be offered at a tech assistance session at the library Wednesday at 6 p.m. Help also is available by calling 509-527-4550, or by asking staff on your next library visit.

Alexis Rodegerdts is a public services specialist at the Walla Walla Public Library.
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