Reading Arizona has launched!

Arizona State Library Launches eBook Platform

Arizonans now have easy access to more than 500 books about their state, thanks to a new ebook platform hosted by the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records. Titles range from historical fiction to academic biographies, haunted tour guides to thrilling mysteries.

The State Library formally launches Reading Arizona, (www.readingarizona.org), the statewide ebook platform, at the Arizona Library Association conference, Nov. 13-14.

The ebooks available through Reading Arizona may be borrowed within the state simultaneously by multiple users. Readers get to decide how long they want to keep a title, rather than being tied to a traditional return date. Reading Arizona is powered by BiblioBoard, the content management system from BiblioLabs, and is available on iOS, Android, and Kindle tablets through BiblioBoard Library.

“While the collection is still growing, there’s something for everyone,” said Joan Clark, State Librarian and Arizona State Library Director.  Reading Arizona includes three types of content: contemporary ebooks, digitized out-of-copyright works, and self-published ebooks.

“We’re thrilled to add this collection of digital books to resources we provide to Arizonans. The eBooks will complement our Arizona Memory Project (a digital archive) and the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program,” Clark said.

“The collection includes early Arizona fiction and histories, as well as contemporary works by authors such as Jana Bommersbach, Edward Abbey, Jon Talton, and James Sallis,” said Laura Stone, Digital Content Director. “I am especially pleased that we are able to include works from the University of Arizona Press,” she added.

Patrons accessing the website inside Arizona will be able to see the collection and create a user account to mark favorites, download ebooks to an offline bookshelf, and offer ratings and comments. Once patrons create an account, they can access the site even when traveling outside the state. A Getting Started guide provides further instructions online.

Reading Arizona includes Library Journal and BiblioLabs’ innovative SELF-e platform that exposes authors’ self-published works to libraries. Authors may submit their ebooks for consideration for a national Library Journal collection made available to subscribing libraries. Ebooks featuring the Southwest will be considered for inclusion to Reading Arizona. In October, more than 100 Arizona authors piloted SELF-e as they used the online tool to enter ONEBOOKAZ, the State Library’s annual ebook writing competition.

Mitchell Davis, founder and Chief Business Officer of BiblioLabs, says he was eager to see SELF-e used so effectively with ONEBOOKAZ. “Watching the submissions roll in smoothly was gratifying. We then handed the submissions off to the ONEBOOKAZ judges, who are currently reviewing the books and identifying the contest winners.  We look forward to giving everyone in Arizona access to the winning titles on the Reading Arizona platform this spring and hope to help Arizona break ground with other innovative eBook projects in the future.  It has been a great partnership.”

Reading Arizona builds on Pima County Public Library’s centennial project by the same name. The original project featured an interactive map highlighting 100 books about the state, which is still available to readers at the website. The website also includes a blog, Back Story with Reading Arizona, with more information about how the project was developed.

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is a division of the Secretary of State.  Through its branches, the State Library provides access to unique historical and contemporary resources, and statewide leadership to the library, archives and museum communities.

BiblioLabs, based in Charleston, SC, provides libraries with access to digital content—historical, contemporary or even the library’s own physical collections. With a focus on making the experience easy and fun for patrons, the BiblioBoard platform offers access through native apps on tablet devices and the web. All content is curated into thematic collections and topical anthologies for easy browsing.

The project is funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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