JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- It seems like a foregone conclusion that there will be more e-readers and tablet computers needing gift wrap this holiday season than all previous ones combined. Before anybody in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community starts making e-book purchases with their shiny, new devices, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation wants you to know ... your library remains open.

Whether it's a modern book or a classic, for approximately two years already, the previous Air Force and Army libraries, now two main joint base libraries, have had access to the EBSCOhost and OVERDRIVE databases respectively, which have offered thousands of virtual publications to qualified customers and their families.

Listings in JBLM FMWR e-libraries support most digital e-readers, including the Kindle, which was added to OVERDRIVE'S capabilities earlier this fall. The following steps can be be done from a separate computer from which the e-reader is connected to, or possibly from the onboard browser on the device itself.

1. Visit www.adobe.com/digitaledition, download the free utility from Adobe and install it on your device. Some later generation e-readers don't require this step.

2. If you haven't already, first-time users must visit either the Grandstaff Memorial or McChord libraries to get signed up for a borrowing account. There they'll have you set up an online credential.

3. Visit www.jblmmwr.com/libraries and click the "research" link on the right side of the page.

4. Use your library-issued credential to sign in at FMWR's General Library and Information System.

5. From the "eResources A-Z" list, depending on your military service affiliation, select either the EBSCOhost or OVERDRIVE collections. Despite JBLM's joint-service community, access to EBSCOhost is sponsored by the Department of the Army, while OVERDRIVE access is paid for by the Department of the Air Force. JBLM Soldiers and everyone else who are Army-affiliated can sign into EBSCOhost with their AKO credentials, while Airmen from McChord Field and everyone Air Force-affiliated can physically get a permanent pass code from JBLM libraries personnel which will help them access OVERDRIVE.

Sometimes compatibility between sources and e-reading devices can be a problem, but both Mac and Windows platform computers have applications to simulate most e-readers, which means every person with internet access in either of JBLM's Army or Air Force communities hypothetically can benefit.

Mary Lengel, a library technician at McChord Field, who led one of the two trainings last month on accessing JBLM FMWR virtual libraries, said though in her opinion the e-book will never replace the written word, e-reader technology is successfully expanding the horizons of the conventional library.

"Our hardcopy books can only fill as much space as we have at the library," she said. "Access to a virtual library only expands the opportunities for our readers to enjoy a good book; I don't know one librarian who'd be against that."

Though a virtual library doesn't involve literal copies of books, instead dealing in data files, the number of files, or digital copies, remains limited. For example, if the JBLM libraries have six electronic copies of Sun Tzu's "Art of War," and all six have been downloaded, it will be unavailable until the first one is "returned." Virtual libraries don't require any action for returning e-books as the file will just expire and become unusable after the lending period. Customers can also put a hold on a book to get priority access to it when it becomes available.

For more information on using this free benefit via your device, call the libraries at 967-5889 on Lewis Main (Bldg. 2109 on Pendleton) and 982-3454 at McChord Field (851 Lincoln Blvd., first floor.) You can also visit them online at www.jblm.com/libraries.

(NOTE: Accessing third-party websites such as www.adobe.com or downloading e-reader applications to your computer will be done at the user's own risk.)

Page last updated Fri December 23rd, 2011 at 00:00