Libraries lending out Kindle

This is a list of libraries that are lending out Kindles and setting a great precedent. There’s also a discussion of Amazon’s stance on Libraries lending Kindles at the end.

Libraries lending out Kindles

Every once in a while an article will release about a library that is loaning out Kindles. The perception is that this is rare. Thought it would be fun to list out every library using a Kindle and see whether there’s a trend developing.

All these libraries, and the people in charge, deserve kudos for pushing the boundaries. This is based on just 1-2 hrs research so its just the tip of the iceberg –

  1. North Carolina State University Library has 18 Kindles, 12 Kindle 2s, 2 Sony Readers, and blogs regularly about them. They were one of the trailblazers.
  2. Mary White, Director of Howe Library in Hanover, NH – The Kindle Library Loaning Page. Lending out Kindles since Jan 14th, 2009.
  3. The CRISS Library at the University of Nebraska Omaha has 9 Kindles for lending. Thanks to Julie for the update.
  4. University of Alabama are lending out 12 kindles each in Gorgas, Bruno, and Rodgers Libraries.
  5. Sparta Public Library in Sparta, NJ have 2 Kindles for lending.  
  6. LaCrosse Public Library lends out 1 Kindle. 
  7. Rancho Mirage Public Library lends out Kindles, although its unclear whether its internally or patrons can take them home.
  8. Texas A&M University Libraries have 18 Kindles (add your name to the waiting list here) –

    University Libraries staff at Texas A&M have been lending 18 of the compact devices for four months.

  9. Sawyer Library at Suffolk University has acquired 4 Kindle 2s, and lends them out for up to 28 days at a time (wow!).  
  10. River Forest Public Library in River Forest, Illinois has a Kindle lending program (5 Kindles). Thanks to Mary for the update.
  11. The Gardner-Harvey Library of Miami University Middletown lends out Kindles.
  12. The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library at Bowdoin University has started lending out 4 Kindles and 1 Sony.
  13. Frank L. Weyenberg Library of Mequon lends out 3 Kindles.
  14. Palm Beach Community College lend out a Kindle and even have a blog for it.
  15. Madison High School Library received a Kindle 2 via a grant and lends it out.
  16. Jackson Library at Stanford has a kindle you can test drive if you are at Stanford.
  17. An article in a local newspaper (which is now untraceable) that had a librarian talking about his library as the 2nd library in that particular state to lend out Kindles.  
  18. From the comments in Rochelle’s blog there seem to be 3 additional libraries lending out Kindles and seeing lots of demand (there might be overlap with the list above).  

Does your library lend out a kindle? Do leave a comment so we can add your library to the list.  

There is also a Facebook Group of organizations and libraries lending Kindles. Half or so of the libraries found were via this group.

As far as Sony –

  1. Broward County Library is lending out 13 Sony Readers.
  2. Joe Wikert had blogged about Sony giving Penn State Libraries 100 Sony Readers. Wow!

Also, BYU University suspended their Kindle lending program today –

The Lee Library announced the pilot program to faculty members on June 5, but a story in the Library Journal last week put the program in the spotlight.

“Hotdog, someone has started a much needed plan to get ebooks part of the ILL program,” Sue Polanka, head of reference at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, wrote in her blog, “No Shelf Required.” But she warned, “Verbal permission was given from Amazon, nothing in writing. Highly recommended to speak with Amazon before you delve into loaning out Kindles.”

Gerrit Van Dyk of BYU Library also talks about it at his blog, Shaping Libraries. They were only lending it out to faculty. They had verbal confirmation of sorts. However, they didn’t want to proceed until they had 100% approval. So they stopped it.

It would be a rather boring world if everyone waited for permission, let alone written permission, before doing things.

Makes the initiative the libraries on the list are taking even cooler.

Amazon’s official stance on Libraries lending out Kindles

Amazon’s stance as far as lending out Kindles seems to be –

You can lend Kindles. However, turn off the account so library patrons can’t download additional titles.

They do not give this in writing, however, and its scared off some libraries like the BYU one above.

This is a supposed snippet from an Amazon email (courtesy Rochelle’s blog) –

Greetings from

Thank you for contacting Kindle. We appreciate your interest in using the Amazon Kindle in your Library.

We have reviewed through our Terms and Conditions regarding this matter and the Amazon Kindle. You will be able to purchase Kindles for your library to use for checking out to patrons, as long as you are not reselling the digital content.

One thing we recommend however is that once you have transfered your content that you unregisterthe device through the settings menu on the Kindle. This is because once the device is registered you may make purchases to the default card on the account with out having to log in, and thus preventing a patron from making an accidental purchase on your account.

Should you lend out Kindles at Your Library?

If you are considering lending out Kindles, you can reach Amazon at 1-866-321-8851 and ask for yourself.

  1. As the list above should make obvious, a LOT of Libraries are lending out Kindles.
  2. Main stream media and even the blogs that discuss this are not doing their research and claiming that just a few libraries are lending Kindles.
  3. It took me an hour or so of searching to find 14+ libraries lending kindles. There are probably dozens more, perhaps even hundreds of libraries, lending out Kindles. People have added 2 more libraries to the list in just the first 4-5 days.
  4. My opinion is that you should go ahead and lend out Kindles.
  5. Its great for users and Amazon has bigger things to worry about (Apple, Google, Publishers) than libraries giving it free publicity and reinforcing its brand.

Amazon really cannot come out and say Yes and give it to you in writing because publishers (the same publishers who attacked the text to speech feature) will sue them or do something similarly stupid.

0 thoughts on “Libraries lending out Kindle”

  1. Also, can’t the libraries just turn off their credit card 1-click in their password-protected Amazon account when they want and then put it back on when they’re in buying mode?

    Deregistering seems somewhat extreme or, at least, more work. I guess this is such a tender subject, Amazon would have had a few consultations on this before writing that though. They used to be more cautious about the library thing, usually just being passive about it rather than give any kind of go ahead in writing. This is an improvement.

  2. Thanks for mentioning the Kindle loaning program at the NCSU Libraries. We actually have 18 Amazon Kindles and 2 Sony Ebook Readers. We have recently added 12 Kindle2 readers as well.

  3. There are over a hundred thousand libraries in the US – I think it’s more than a bit of a stretch to say a lot of them are lending Kindles.

  4. Are any libraries lending out the iPod Touch? It would be great to have a list of those. (But I haven’t found any…)

  5. Just got on a waiting list for the Kindle at Sheboygan’s Mead Public Library in Wisconsin ( ). It’s a seven-day lend, and you get a real kick in the rear to bring it back…$5 per hour you’re late getting it back to them! Just started offering it mid-month, found out about it today, and I’m #44 on a waiting list involving 5 Kindle units donated by a benfactor. It’s locked down to a list of 120 books with no ability to add; once I finally get it I’ll know what it feels like.

  6. Really useful post, thanks.

    Can you tell me what the name of the Facebook Group of organizations and libraries lending Kindles is? There are over 500 Kindle groups to scroll through & none of my searching has turned anything up – ~Thanks.

      1. Many thanks, I’ve found it plus another one called “Sony Readers in Libraries”.

        I am in England & as we don’t have the Kindle here yet I think it will be while before this debate hits our shores. We do have the Sony though & think it will only be a matter of time.

        I’m mainly looking into the possible future use of ereaders in medical/health libraries for my dissertation topic. If anbody has any knowledge/experience of a medical library using them I would love to know.

  7. Sawyer Library has 6 Kindles for borrowing, not 4.

    We’re also in the process of testing out a pair of DXes. (DXen?)

  8. The Frank L. Weyenberg Library of Mequon-Thiensville (WI) continues to lend out Kindles successfully. What started as a trial of one Kindle 2, the collection has grown to a circulating collection of five Kindles, and one DX kept in house for patron “playing” and for magazine and newspaper titles. Comments range from “I’d always use a Kindle” to “maybe” to a few “not user friendly.” The holds/reserves keep coming. Definitely this is a topic that libraries need to explore.

  9. Does a system/program exist whereby libraries can loan ebooks to Kindle owners? I guess the ebook would have to self-uninstall at the end of the loan period.

    1. Chuck – not at the moment.
      Sony has a Library Finder feature that allows for getting library ebooks via Overdrive. Kindle does not support this at the moment.

  10. We’ve acquired two Kindles as trials for e-reader lending. If they do well, we’ll acquire more. They are themed for cohesion (religious studies, counseling and diversity, texts on psychotherapy, etc.). Our library is Pacifica Graduate Institute.

  11. Just curious: what lending periods are you all assigning to kindles, and how much do you charge if lost or damaged?

  12. We love the DX, but please include the Las Vegas and Henderson library as we are seniors and could utilize them too!

  13. Do you happen to have an updated list of academic libraries that loan out eReaders, iPads and tablets? Our Palm Beach State College e-reader blog doesn’t link above aymore. Here is the new link.

    We loan out iPads, Kindles, all 4 models; Sony’s and Nooks. We are looking forward to purchasing the new Amazon Tablet in the Fall.

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