Digital is booming at Hawaii public libraries


The number of online items checked out through the Hawaii State Public Library System has more than tripled since 2009, library officials said.

The state library has added about 6,000 items since then, and seen circulation numbers go from about 40,000 to more than 131,000.

“The e-books, there’s a huge demand for that,” Library Development Services Section Manager Susan Nakata said Thursday.

Today, the library system is expanding its online offerings from e-books and audio books to full online courses, complete with an instructor and tests — at no cost to library patrons.

Ed2Go courses offered by colleges and schools range in price from $99 for a six-week, 24-hour course in photography to more than $200 for 44-hour medical certificate courses. People with library cards can take the courses at no cost.

Types of classes include personal development, such as an introduction to journaling or a tutorial with a dietitian on how to cook quick, healthy meals, as well as refresher courses for teachers in subjects such as teaching elementary school science and English as a second language. The program offers several introductory science courses, as well as guides for a number of computer programs and applications. Several courses are primers on different career fields.

People can also find classes on general business skills, resume writing and a wide variety of topics. Each course listing provides a syllabus, laying out what each lesson will cover, and the requirements for someone to take the course, as well as student reviews.

To access Ed2Go through the library system, go to librarieshawaii.org, then click on the link for services. On the left, click E-Learning Services, which leads to the link for Ed2Go. Library patrons will be prompted to enter their library card number and a PIN.

“Our rapidly expanding collection of electronic resources provides our users statewide with additional opportunities to reach their educational and career development goals, lead more engaged and fulfilling lives, and support their life long learning interests,” state Librarian Richard Burns said in an email Thursday.

The state library system was able to pay for the program through the federal Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided a grant to the library for upgrading computer services.

Also new at the library is access to OneClickdigital, a new way of downloading e-books and audio books. The service offers nearly 4,000 fiction titles and is compatible with Apple, Microsoft, and Android devices. There is a 10-item limit, and the books automatically disappear from the device after 21 days.