For students looking to temper sober textbook readings with a literary escape into the world of vampires and zombies, Oregon State University is loaning out Amazon Kindle electronic readers stocked with the latest in popular books.
The Corvallis, Ore.-based university has found it too expensive to fill its Valley Library shelves with fiction and nonfiction books that students would read for fun, not homework assignments or upcoming exams. So in November, the university began lending Kindle eReaders to students and faculty willing to part from traditional page flipping and embrace a technology being tested on campuses nationwide.
The immediate demand for the electronic books forced Valley Library officials to alter Kindle policies created by a campus task force last summer.
Because the library sign-up sheet now includes 189 students and faculty members waiting for their turn to use the Kindle, officials shortened the borrowing period from three weeks to two, and they bought 12 more Kindles in February to add to the original stock of six eReaders.
“Students used to approach us and say, ‘I’m just looking for a book to read,’” said Loretta Rielly, interim head of collections at the Oregon State library, adding that Pride, Prejudice and Zombies and books from the Twilight series were popular choices among students using the Kindle. “But we’ve never had Stephen King, we’ve never had those kind of books … so we’re glad to provide a popular reading collection now. It’s a way of investigating new technologies and trying to keep up with the devices students are using.”