As the popularity of eReaders and digital media continues to grow, the Newton Public Library is getting back into that realm with one particular resource, officially launching service with Flipster to offer digital magazines to members starting this month.
"We're always looking at different things, ways of reaching people," said NPL Director Marianne Eichelberger. "This is a way that people can get our resources when we're not open and have it available."
This is not an entirely new service offered by NPL, as Eichelberger noted that it tried something similar a few years ago, but that program did not have great user response and there were issues with the interface, leading the library to do away with it last year.
Hearing input from other libraries (through conferences, seminars, etc.) that had similar issues, NPL was eventually led to the opportunity with Flipster.
"We've heard positive things about it from some other libraries who had tried our previous product and then had much better response to this new one," Eichelberger said.
Currently, there are 70 magazines (with varying subscription costs for the library) available through the NPL account, which was set up on a one-year, trial basis. Depending on feedback from users, Eichelberger said that selection could change in the following years, especially as Flipster's catalog itself continues to grow with the addition of activity books, adult coloring books, etc.
Selections offered in the first year include Food Network Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Men's Journal and many more, with all those titles being purposefully hand-picked.
"The ones we chose were kind of based on what had been their most popular magazines for 2016 and so we used that kind of as the basis," Eichelberger said.
Usage, unlike with the last product (and other, previous individualized efforts), is not something Eichelberger foresees as an issue with Flipster, noting a number of members should be able to use the service at any given time. With an NPL account, she noted they will be able to access the program both at the library and using personal devices in their own homes.
On top of adding digital magazines back into the fold, the NPL continues to offer the ebooks and other digital media (music, video, etc.) it has for some time now. Eichelberger noted there are some larger databases (like Flipster) users can pull from, the most notable being the Sunflower eLibrary of which NPL is just one of many member libraries from across the state, while NPL also has some unique selections available to its members.
Numerous hard copies of books, movies and music are still available as well, but Eichelberger noted the library strives to stay at the forefront of technology, whether in offering assistance to patrons to help with numerous programs (including those the NPL offers) or researching more ways to easily reach its patrons in the 21st century.
"We are always looking to what's coming up and trying to share our resources with people that also help them know about more things that are coming, too," Eichelberger said.
Members can see a list of all services offered by the library and access Flipster (through "search database," under the resources tab) at www.newtonplks.org.