County libraries offer new way to obtain books

The Colusa County Free Library is now offering Zip Books, a project funded by the California State Library through a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act. “Zip Books allows librarians to pull from the ‘shelves’ of Amazon.com when a book is requested by the public that is not part of our collection,” said Colusa Librarian Stacie Costello.
Using a “buy vs. borrow” model, Zip Books is an alternative to traditional interlibrary loans Costello said.

“It is a cost-effective method to secure the books you want to read, and has a much quicker turnaround time for patrons to receive the requested materials,” said Costello.

Requests are reviewed by library staff, and if approved are ordered from Amazon and sent directly to the patron’s home. Once the book has been read, or heard in the case of an audiobook, it is returned to the local library branch.

“The program allows only one item per Zip Books request, but once the book or audio book is returned to the library, another request can be made,” said Costello. “We ask only that you return the Zip Book directly to library staff. We will then either add your Zip Book to the collection, or offer it to the Friends of the Library to be sold at the Bookworm.”

There is no cost to patrons to “check out” a book through Zip Books, and all Colusa County Free Library members are encouraged to participate in the program provided any fines and/or fees they owe to the Library are less than $5.00.

“The program could not be simpler,” said Costello. “Find a book you would like to read, or listen to, and ask your local librarian if it is available to Zip! Zip Books requests can be made in person at any of the seven Colusa County Free Library branches.”

Participants are asked to return the item directly to a library staff member rather than using the book drop.

The Zip Books program includes new and used regular or large print books or audiobooks that are available on Amazon.com. Zip Book item value is limited to $35. Textbooks, e-books, music, videos and DVDs are not available through the Zip Books program.

For more information on the Zip Books program stop by your favorite branch location. ■

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