Today Rockford Public Library began circulating Kindles today and SOL has been asked to comment.
SOL supports RPL's decision to circulate this small number of Kindles as described in the above linked story-- as a "soft launch" to test circulation policies and get feedback from patrons. Having e-readers that patrons can check out does help bridge the digital divide and help patrons access RPL's large e-book collection (some of which are not available in print format).
SOL is hopeful that in the upcoming months, the RPL board and administration will listen to patron feedback about the circulating e-readers. There are some concerns that Kindles are the wrong e-reader since one major publisher does not allow libraries to lend on these devices, but does on others such as the Nook. Others are concerned that an e-reader is too fragile and breakable to even circulate at all. As long as the circulation of e-readers is done slowly and thoughtfully (and is not done to justify a further increase in the e-book budget) this "soft launch" could mark a positive future for the Rockford Public Library and its commitment to serving the community's needs.
As spoken of previously, this site (though the domain will stay the same) is now called Support Our Rockford Library as we hope to move forward working to support RPL and its endeavors.