Access, in all meanings

I just found out today that my provinces library system has a new and fairly comprehensive e-book library online that, by renewing my library membership, I now have access to. So I took a few moments today to browse their selection of fantasy and science fiction.

Awesome! It’s not the largest collection I’ve ever seen, but it’s got enough on there that I could probably keep myself busy for a year without ever having to open a physical book. Not that I’d want to, of course. But the option’s there.

Some people scoff at the way that e-books are getting more publicity, and that libraries are starting to carry them. And in some ways I can agree to an extent; there’s nothing quite like picking up a book and turning pages and reading a book the old-fashioned way.

But the large access to books online through this library (which also has audiobooks, by the way, and might tip the scales in favour of me starting to review some) made me think of something that I hadn’t quite considered before, and it was all encompassed in the little word ‘access’.

I know some people, by way of the Internet, who are for most intents and purposes, housebound due to disability. What may seem like a simple trip to the library for most people could for them mean needing to spend half the week recovering from the hour-long excursion, and suffering pain on top of the fatigue. That’s no exaggeration. I myself am not disabled, but I suffer from enough health crap that I know very well what it means to have to know ones limits and have less strength and ability than your average person.

But then comes along something like this, where someone who’s in that position suddenly has an entire library at their fingertips. For free.

And even if it doesn’t come down to the issue of ability or disability, what about the simple convenience of not having to walk half an hour in the rain or through a snowstorm to return and borrow new books? If you’ve got a computer with Internet access, you’ve got your new batch of novels for the week.

And this is just New Brunswick’s online library. I imagine that bigger and richer provinces probably have more at their disposal.

This is a truly wonderful thing to have access to. While my reading log for e-books is pretty backed up at the moment, the good weather means I’ll be walking home from work more, and that means an hour and a half, five days a week, in which I could be listening to audiobooks as I get my exercise and soak up some sunshine.

Yessir, I’m pretty happy about this discovery.

2 comments on “Access, in all meanings

  1. You're lucky that your selection for ebooks and other materials is so good. My library has a similar program, but has a very small selection of books and an even smaller selection of things that will open/play on my computer/iPod (I'm a Mac, and lots of stuff won't play on Macs). Once I've narrowed it down like that, pretty much the only ones left that I want to read are the classics – a good resource for those, but disappointingly lacking otherwise. Keep touting it though, maybe more libraries will get the idea!

  2. Ihave downloaded a lot of audio books from my library. at first they didn't have a huge selection, but it has grown considerably. i don't have a problem with all the different options of a book. All have their place and it's up to the reader to determine how they want them.

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