3TD E-BOOK LIBRARY – NATIONWIDE SUCCESS THROUGH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Introduction to a new social project in Latvia – “3td e-BOOK Library”, which offers free e-books in Latvian to all public library patrons. It is an online service, available on www.3td.lv. The project is a continuation of the “Father’s Third Son” (“3td”) project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During the implementation of the “3td” project, modern information technology tools and software were provided to Latvian libraries to ensure equal access to information and knowledge for all Latvian residents. “3td e-BOOK Library” is another modern and attractive way to entice readers and promote reading.
Successful cooperation between municipal public libraries, governmental institution “Culture Information Systems Centre”, “Tieto Latvia” and publishers has been the cornerstone of this project. Public libraries in Latvia have a central part in it because they provide users with authorization data – you have to be a library patron to access e-books. “3td e-BOOK Library” is now one of the many services public libraries offer their patrons. It has been running since early 2019 and has now more than 10 000 readers. There are more than 300 e-books in 19 categories available from four publishers. The website is continuously updated with software improvements and new e-books every week.
Freely available e-books can contribute to improving literacy skills as the new generation uses digital content more than ever. Even so, libraries in Latvia still work together to improve literacy through traditional media. Using the experience of the Netherlands and their National Reading Aloud Days, children in Latvia aged 11–12 have the opportunity to participate in the National Reading Aloud Competition. Valmiera Library hosts regional finals of the competition and helps improve reading and literacy skills of the participants.