Core Ebooks Interest Group

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👐 Anyone can view all content in the group, but only people who join it can post to it. Anyone can join to participate.

Purpose: Provides a regular forum for discussion and to meet at Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings. Core represents a large segment of libraries and can be influential with publishers and vendors to benefit libraries and library users as the ebook landscape evolves. Core welcomes any type of library or library agency, as well as consortia, to join this group.

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  • 1.  large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 04, 2023 12:15 PM


    Where can I find a list of public libraries with the largest ebook collections?
    I am also interested in finding public libraries with extensive ebook collections that offer digital access to non-residents.
    Thanks!! pamela

    Pamela Wren

  • 2.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 11:34 AM

    Hi Pamela --

    Your best bet may be the IMLS Public Libraries Survey, which collects data on all US public libraries annually.  The most recently completed survey is 2021, but relative collection sizes will not have changed significantly in the last 18 months.  There is a column in the data that counts eBook collections -- I don't recall the column heading name so you will have to look that up in the PDF with each survey that explains the data. 

    As to digital access for non-residents, this is a library-by-library policy and there is no single source that lists them.  These policies will also vary widely by library. Some may not offer digital access to non-residents at all.  Some will offer limited access through interlocal agreements with geographically-adjacent library systems.  Some libraries are required by state law to offer access to everyone in the state.  Every public library should have its policies posted somewhere on its site, though. 


    Carmi Parker

    Carmi Parker
    ILS Administrator
    Whatcom County Library System

  • 3.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 11:43 AM
    What Carmi said. Ebook circulation will reflect collection size to a degree and you could look at OverDrive's annual list of top lenders. It is imprecise because there are other vendors and not an exact collection measurement, and because consortiums are included, but OD is the market leader and you'd have a general idea of who licenses many titles.

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  • 4.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 12:00 PM


    Thanks so much for the suggestion, I will check it out. 

    Pamela Wren

  • 5.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 12:28 PM
    It strikes me that "collection" is an altogether misleading word when applied to ebooks in libraries, since mostly, libraries don't "have" ebooks, libraries "offer" ebooks. If you offer 100 items on a buffet, would it be accurate to call it a "collection" of food?

    Maybe we should do our best to avoid using the word "collection" for ebooks until such day as we can really "have" them!

    "Catalog" is a perfectly good, library-ish word for ebook offerings. Even if they spell it wrong in England!


  • 6.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 12:38 PM

    Agree, Eric, and I recently took someone on Goodereader to task for writing about Big 5 "sales" to libraries.


    There are no sales.


    Only licenses.


    Until we can in fact own digital content, the word "sales" and what it implies-transfer of ownership--should be embargoed.


    That loud, irregular, and clumsy sound you hear is me dancing on my soapbox.


    I'll stop now.






  • 7.  RE: large ebook collections?

    Posted Aug 10, 2023 11:57 AM


    Thanks so much! Great info and I will certainly look into the survey.

    Pamela Wren