If you're visiting the library, pack your e-reader or your laptop

People are reading more library books these days, but not everyone is turning pages in the usual way. More titles are now available in digital formats and patrons have access to a virtual library that never closes.

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District site (www.lvccld.org) features an extensive electronic media area, including materials that can be read or heard on computers, portable MP3 players and many electronic readers. The digital shelves at the end of 2009 held more than 18,000 copies of nearly 14,000 titles in various formats.

To get started, Clark County residents will need a current library card and a personal identification number. You'll need to visit a library branch so information and identity can be verified, then you'll be ready to e-borrow.

I don't advise computer novices to go it alone, as I was asked to install three programs to enable reading and listening to audiobooks on my computer. Patience is also recommended, as the download sites walk you through upgrading programs before downloading the programs to borrow digital books, videos and music.

You'll need to install Adobe Digital Editions, MobiPocket Reader and OverDrive Media Explorer to enable reading, viewing or listening to materials formatted for downloading and portability. Plan to spend 20 to 30 minutes getting everything installed.

Library patrons can check out up to 35 titles at a time for up to 21 days. Most materials can be renewed online, but don't wait until the expiration date; the digital rights management embedded in the files will automatically expire and disable the title on the due date.

Online borrowing rose 92.6 percent last year, with more than 52,000 items checked out, compared with 27,000 in 2008, library district Executive Director Jeanne Goodrich said. Total circulation (hard materials) was more than 13 million last year.

If you use an Amazon Kindle e-reader you're so far out of luck; the formats aren't yet compatible with the device. The Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook, however, do work with some e-formats. Many titles also play on the Apple iPod, but the device must be formatted for use with a PC, not a Macintosh.

A Digital Bookmobile from OverDrive is scheduled to visit three library branches this week. The semitrailer is outfitted with digital media and staff to help people with digital downloads.

The Digital Bookmobile will be at the West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd., on Thursday ; at the Enterprise Library, 25 E. Shelbourne Ave., on Friday ; and at the Summerlin Library, 1771 Inner Circle, on Saturday . Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

See the library district Web site for details.

Share your Internet story with me at agibes@reviewjournal.com.