What if every ebook available from Project Gutenberg, along with songs and artwork produced within your local community, could be stored on a flash drive and be distributed wirelessly using a pocket-sized router? This technology is already available through the open source, Creative Commons and GPLv2-licensed LibraryBox project led by Jason Griffey, head of Library IT at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Librarians and others are already using these devices to store and distribute ebooks, music, artwork, and other digital files.
COSLA believes that ebooks will be the preferred format for reading materials in the future. As a result, it has set a goal for all U.S. public libraries to offer ebooks and downloadable media by 2015. As a step in that direction, LJ is publishing a series of articles that closely examines the various ebook platforms available, including this environmental scan.
On February 14, OCLC announced a new beta cloud-based service, Website for Small Libraries (WSSL), with which libraries with fewer than 20,000 items in their collections may construct a low-cost, simple but dynamic website. Features include basic patron and inventory management, including checkouts, returns, holds, and renewals, among other functions.