Digital lending debuts in Glendale, Pasadena

The Glendale and Pasadena central libraries on Thursday were not places to seek peace and quiet as city officials unveiled a new digital lending technology — the 3M Cloud.

In Glendale, an ice cream and cookie truck attracted dozens of people in the late afternoon as librarians sought to give as many library cards to people as they could.

Using the “cloud,” patrons can download ebooks to their computers, iPads, iPhones, Androids and ereaders with their library card's PIN, checking out up to five books at a time for up to two weeks with the ability to read them without the Internet. The book disappears from the digital reader when it's due.

Glendale resident Jeremiah Comey, 68, downloaded his first ebook, “Freakonomics,” on his iPad.

“It's great,” he said. “It's time consuming going from your house to here. Why couldn't they have invented this four years ago?”

Mayor Frank Quintero offered a proclamation to 3M representatives — eight of whom had flown in from St. Paul, Minn., to assist to new users.

“I have a Nook as well as an iPad so I'm looking forward to using this service,” he said.

Glendale and Pasadena, which share library inventories, are among the select few systems in the U.S. to get the 3M cloud technology.

In Pasadena, an old reference desk decorated with white and gray balloons was made new with a sign announcing it as an “Exploration Station: Learn. Discover. Connect.”

“It's a bit like magic,” Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard told the crowd of 30 people, joking that “the bad news is, overdue fines as a source of revenue for the library will disappear.”

People searched for ebooks on four new touch-screen displays, on which there are more than 1,400 book titles to choose from.

“That's growing every day,” said Pasadena librarian Beth Walker.

Pasadena and Glendale libraries are the first in California to offer the new cloud technology created by the Minnesota-based 3M company. They are one of 10 libraries across the nation selected by 3M as a yearlong test site.

Glendale and Pasadena libraries will also maintain their prior digital platform, OverDrive, which debuted in 2005 and has more than 6,300 ebooks, audio and video files.

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