The Metropolitan Library System is expanding its electronic services to include applications that will allow users to read books from their iPhone, iPad or Android phone.
Those devices join a growing list of electronic devices that the library system supports.
Although the new application will work on the iPad, the text will appear smaller than normal because the application is designed for smaller devices, library system officials said.
An optimized version for the iPad is coming soon. The iPad application, which will include improved resolution and additional features, could be available as early as next month, said Anne Fischer, director of information technology for the library system.
The library system has more than 3,700 audio books and more than 2,000 electronic books available, Fischer said. That compares to about 2,000 audio books and 500 electronic books in February. New titles are added often, Fischer said.
â€œI think it's a growing service for us because it's very convenient,â€ Fischer said. â€œCustomers can do it from their home.â€
That convenience is something Glenda Choate, of Jones, loves about electronic books. Choate, a member of the Metropolitan Library Commission, has checked out books for her Sony Reader device from home at night.
Choate said she is excited to be able to do the same for her iPhone and iPad.
â€œThat's the great thing about it,â€ Choate said. â€œIt never fails, I finish a book and it's going to be a day or two until I can get to the library. I have really enjoyed being able to just download books and read them.â€
Fischer said many people aren't yet aware of the new iPhone application, which became available last week. Library administrators expect some troubleshooting calls as cardholders learn how to use the new application.
The electronic books are automatically returned to the system at the end of the lending period. Electronic books will not have much of an effect on late fee revenues, which make up less than 1 percent of the library system's total revenues, said Kim Terry, director of marketing and communications for the Metropolitan Library
The library system has rights to a limited number of copies of each electronic title, which means library cardholders might have to wait for a book to become available before they can download a popular title.
For example, the library system might have only one copy available for download at a time of some book titles. Other more popular books might have several copies available for download at a time, said Kellie Delaney, manager of Web development and support for the library system.
The new iPhone application has been one of the most-requested services from library users, Delaney said.
â€œThis is just one way we can help our customers and show them we're trying to maintain what they're wanting,â€ Delaney said.