Lambton library adds ‘fast lane’ app to collection

Louis Pin, The Sarnia Observer | January 23, 2019

The Lambton County Library has added another app to its growing collection of digital material, giving rural residents a so-called “fast lane” option when browsing online.

The new app, called CloudLibrary, is the latest micro-shift for the Lambton County Library which has widened its mandate to include more community programming and a selection of digital materials. While books and other physical materials are still borrowed more often than digital ebooks and audio recordings, the Lambton library and others have found success with virtual borrowing.

“We’re always seeing more and more people (using) our digital resources,” Brian Bowley, with the rural library, said. “This is just an attempt to give people quicker access to books.”

CloudLibrary is not like Overdrive, the library’s other ebook-borrowing app. Instead of long hold lists — the classic in-person library model — the new app will let any virtual card holder borrow their material right away. If you can see it, you can start reading.

The tradeoff: users can only check out two books at a time, and will only have one week to finish them.

“There can be lengthier wait times on some of our books,” Bowley said. “In CloudLibrary you can’t place any holds . . . the effect is there will be much more turnover on the books. All the stuff you see, you can check out immediately.”

The new system adds another wrinkle to an already complex digital borrowing experience. In brief, the library adopted Overdrive in 2010, an app for borrowing up to five virtual ebooks at a time. The newer Libby app, also supported by the Lambton County Library, was added to enhance the Overdrive collection.

Same virtual library, different ways to view the books.

CloudLibrary — like the other apps supported by the library — subscribes to a different online catalogue. The Lambton County Library bought around 300 books for the app to start but say they will increase that number before too long.

“That’s expected to increase,” Bowley said. “It’s definitely going to grow.”