The province is celebrating access to education and life-long learning with the one-year anniversary of the public libraries downloadable book collection in rural Nova Scotia. Downloadable books are popular in the province with Nova Scotians downloading over 2,000 more books and titles per month than they did this time last year. The start-up collection included 646 audio books and 378 e-book titles for both adults and young people on more than 70 subjects, fiction and non-fiction. The Nova Scotia Provincial Library invested $40,000 to set up the collection for the rural regional library boards. After an additional investment by these boards of $38,000, the collection now includes 1936 e-books and 1400 audio books. “This program not only appeals to those who love to read but it also appeals to people who may not be able to read the traditional book because of vision loss, learning disabilities, or a disability that prevents them from physically holding a book”, said David Wilson, Minister, Communities, Culture and Heritage. “Libraries remain an economical option for Nova Scotians, with the free public library card opening up a world of reading and information for families.” In August 2010, 1164 books were downloaded. In July 2011, the number had increased to 3364. Readers now also have access to 34,000 recently added titles whose copyright has expired and are now in the public domain. The new titles are a selection of classic fiction and non-fiction in a variety of genres and languages. Readers can access classic romance, old westerns, and children’s books from authors that include Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter. “Since 2010 the increase in the use of e-books is kind of an industry-wide phenomenon,” said Dyan Perley, manager, Systems and Collections Access, Nova Scotia Provincial Library. “We’re hoping to reach the people who have recently purchased e-readers and, or are using e-book apps.” Anyone with a public library card can access the collection. Users can read or listen to the books on their home computers, laptops or handheld devices. The online collection works much the same way as a traditional library. If the title is borrowed, a library user can place a hold on it and be notified when the book has been returned. Unlike traditional borrowing, returns are automatic, so there are no late fees. People in the Halifax Regional Municipality have had access to a downloadable collection since 2008. The downloadable book collection is available at http://digitalmedia.library.ns.ca.