Just in time for the latest round of Christmas-gift mobile devices, residents of Scott County are getting access to a trove of e-books.

Half a million dollars’ worth of books have been added to the system as part of an experiment in cross-library collaboration.

The initiative layers 3M e-books on top of Scott’s previous system, so that users can choose from either. It’s also happening in other metro library systems.

Behind it is the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), a consortium of metro libraries that is paying the fees for Scott and other members.

The collection will be jointly owned by member libraries, and MELSA’s board will cover the cost through 2015.

The libraries already share old-fashioned books, but couldn’t share digital books.

MELSA and 3M arranged this deal partly as “a test for potential national implementation,” officials told Scott County board members.


David Peterson