Forsyth County Public Library is virtually expanding.
The library will release a collection of books formatted for electronic readers on May 2.
More than 600 titles will be available to card-carrying patrons to view on eBook readers and mobile devices.
The timing of the eBook catalog will coincide with the library restoring some hours in May, said Director Jon McDaniel.
Some hours had previously been trimmed to meet a budget crunch.
"We were trying to package everything together to let the public know we appreciate them supporting us," McDaniel said.
"We're taking baby steps to get back to where we were before the recession, but we continue to add new products."
The library had planned to launch the eBook collection in July, he said, but demand sped up the release.
"We went ahead and diverted money into this project because people are asking about it," he said. "This is not a large collection, but it's a beginning."
The library plans to continue expanding the collection as money allows, McDaniel said.
Through the company OverDrive, several devices will be supported, including iPad, Barnes & Noble NOOK, Literati, Sony Readers and several smart phones.
At this time, the Kindle is not a supported eBook reader, though it would be included if OverDrive adds it, McDaniel said.
Like a physical book, only one user will be able to view a title at a time, he said, unless the library has purchased multiple electronic copies.
Titles can be checked out and accessed from handheld devices until the selected circulation period expires.
The new "eBranch," as library board member Tim Plotner called it, will add to the library's existing online services, which let users download books in .pdf files to their computers.
In an e-mail, Plotner wrote that he's excited to watch the library lead the way for public eBooks.
"We anticipate our new eBranch to be a great new way our library can meet the needs of our existing patrons," he said.
"We also hope it allows us to reach a whole new group of folks across our community -- all without significant new costs."