CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 23, 2013 – Baker & Taylor, the world's largest distributor of digital and physical books and entertainment products, has been selected as a platform partner with the Illinois State Library and Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), to provide ebook circulation services for Illinois libraries as part of the new eRead Illinois project.
The project will provide Illinois library users with shared access to a robust ebook collection and the capability for participating libraries to craft local collections to meet the needs of their individual communities. Baker & Taylor is working closely with the eRead Illinois project team to build the service which will support adult, student and children readers throughout the state of Illinois.
Libraries participating in the eRead Illinois program will combine their resources and access to ebooks through Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 digital media circulation platform, which is compatible with PCs and mobile Apple iOS and Android devices including smartphones and tablets. The Axis 360 platform also works with Blio, the multi-function ereader born from the partnership of the National Federation of the Blind and visionary Ray Kurzweil, to provide an ADA-accessible ebook solution for Illinois library patrons.
The collaboration is made possible through a pioneering two-year, $985,219 grant from the Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White through the Illinois State Library.
"Because of the foresight of state officials, hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents will be able to discover and experience ebooks quickly and conveniently through libraries in their communities," said George Coe, president of Baker & Taylor's Library & Education division. "Baker & Taylor is pleased to lend its expertise in collection development, library technology and digital materials to this exciting and worthwhile partnership."
"RAILS selected Baker & Taylor's Axis 360 platform for the eRead Illinois grant because of the breadth and depth of available titles, the flexibility of options to meet the diverse needs of our libraries across Illinois and the ADA compliance of the Baker & Taylor Blio ereader," said Dee Brennan, Executive Director of Reaching Across Illinois Library System. "Equal access for all users is very important to us. Baker & Taylor has been a true collaborative partner in our effort to expand resource sharing through ebook access for Illinois libraries to better serve Illinois residents."
Axis 360 gives library patrons the ability to borrow and read best-selling, classic and new release fiction and nonfiction titles for adults and children in electronic formats which are directly downloaded to their devices.
About Baker & Taylor
Baker & Taylor, Inc. is the world's largest distributor of books, digital content and entertainment products. The company offers cutting-edge digital media services and innovative technology platforms to thousands of publishers, libraries and retailers worldwide. Baker & Taylor also offers industry-leading customized library services and retail merchandising solutions. Charlotte, N.C.-based Baker & Taylor is majority owned by Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P., an institutional private equity fund managed by Castle Harlan, Inc., a leading private equity investment firm.
About Reaching Across Illinois Library System
RAILS provides delivery, shared online catalogs, e-book services, talking book services, continuing education, consulting, and communication services to all types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special) in a 27,000 square mile area in northern and western Illinois. More information about RAILS is available at: http://www.railslibraries.info.