If your idea of an ideal trip to the library involves losing yourself in the printed word, you are well catered for – but so are those visitors who tastes run to the digital.
Access to a streaming service, ebooks and downloadable audiobooks are among the services offered by community libraries in a digital age.
The Riverina library, which is free to join, has just begun offering the streaming service Kanopy to its members, who are still able to borrow books, magazines and DVDs.
Amy Heap, the Riverina Regional Library’s outreach and promotions co-ordinator, said libraries had “always been there for the whole community”.
“Not everybody can afford to buy every book they want to read or a newspaper every day and not everyone has got Netflix or Stan and all the other services you can pay for,” Ms Heap said.
“This is one way where the library pays the subscription fee for the whole community.
“It’s still stories. We all need stories.
“I might read 90 books a year roughly, but I still like films and television, and the great thing about on-demand services, you can watch them when you’re free. We no longer have to go ‘well my show’s on at this hour and I’m not free because I’m going to be at maths tutoring or soccer training.”
Ms Heap said downloadable books – or e-audiobooks – were becoming increasingly popular.
“The original audience for e-audiobooks was truck drivers. You can’t keep enough e-audiobooks for drivers, It’s how they keep amused while they’re driving for so long.
“But they’re for anyone who wants to listen to a story while their hands are busy. While you’re driving, cooking or gardening, while you’re running.
“This is a library where people have a demand and we have to meet it.”
Ms Heap said the feedback coming back to the library from members about the new digital offerings had been positive.
“People want to be able to access their stories any time, wherever they are. Not just during library opening hours,” she said.
“We have to be able to provide people access to these things any time and wherever they are, so long as they have an internet connection.”