FARGO — Paper books remain the Fargo Public Library's stock in trade, but staff say digital offerings are finding a growing audience.
"The book is the book, it's not outdated," said Melisa Duncan, community relations specialist for the Fargo Public Library.
Duncan said people still like to read books and hold books, but she said the convenience of e-books is catching on and the library's download offerings are varied and many.
In addition to e-books and e-audio books, which the library began offering around 2010, library patrons now have access to things like online magazines, streaming movies, music and online versions of comic books, particularly graphic novels.
Today, about 20 percent of the library's overall circulation involves digital/online materials, according to Ben Daeuber, electronic resources librarian.
Some download offerings are eclipsing older library technologies, particularly when it comes to e-audio books.
"A couple of years ago, for the first time, e-audio book circulation surpassed our physical audio book circulation, like audio books on CDs. And that trend is continuing," Daeuber said.
The Fargo Public Library provides materials to users through a number of online platforms, including Hoopla Digital, which provides things like e-books and e-audio books as well as movies and graphic novels; OverDrive, whose offerings also include e-books and e-audio books; and RBdigital, another library app.
Anyone interested in using download offerings must first get set up with a library card, which must be done in person at the library.
After that, Daeuber said an internet connection and device apps are all someone needs to access everything from e-books and streaming movies to online versions of popular magazines.
"You've got your device, you've got your library card in good standing and wherever you have internet, you can access materials," Daeuber said.
Users of all ages utilize the digital offerings, but Daeuber said the 40-and-older crowd is particularly well represented, perhaps due to the option readers have to change the size of text.
"The ability to adjust the text size is a big one for a lot of people," Daeuber said.
In an effort to help meet demand for download offerings, the library recently raised its monthly limit for using Hoopla items.
Users can now avail themselves of six Hoopla items a month, up from five items a month, which was the previous limit.