“Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web browsing. This week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, became one of the first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod shuffles,” Cyrus Farivar reports for Wired News. “For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the portable MP3 devices to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store. They started with six shuffles, and now are up to a total of 10. Each device holds a single audio book.”
“The few library patrons that have checked them out seem to have had positive experiences… Ken Weil, the library’s director, said that the library had been looking for a way to share digital audio content with its patrons for some time, and that until recently, the existing iPods were far too expensive. ‘It’s the right product with the right price,” he said. “We said that this is a great way of getting these out to the public.’ The library currently offers several titles, including Grisham’s The Broker and Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. ‘If patrons want a title that we own that we don’t have on an iPod, they could request it,’ said Joe Latini, the library’s assistant director,” Farivar reports. “Instead of having an entire book take up several CDs, one book fits within several MP3 files, usually ranging from 150 MB to 350 MB, he said. The library currently stocks both of the two versions of the iPod shuffle — six of the 1-GB model, and four of the 512-MB model.”
Full article here.