The gist of the questions:
- What is it?
- How is it different from me borrowing Kindle books through your library?
- Can I do it right now?
Like a good librarian, I do not know all of the answers, but I know how to seek them out. So for those of you who want the nitty gritty I suggest:
For those of you who want the basics, I will summarize. The Amazon Kindle Lending Library is a collection of mostly backlist bestsellers, available for "check out" for not extra charge to Amazon Prime Members. When you "check out" a title, it is uploaded to your Kindle\and it is yours for as long as you want it. It does not need to be returned.
It is different than accessing Kindle ebooks from the library's Media on Demand console because to do this, you do not need to pay the fee to join Amazon Prime, you just need a library card and a way to read Kindle books. These books are available based on your library or consortia's purchasing and availability. They check out to you at the BPL for 14 days with 1 renewal, if there is no one else waiting.
That's the basics. If you want more detail and commentary, I highly suggest the articles above, written by experts in the field.
Of course, I will answer any further questions at the BPL desk or here at RA for All.
In terms of impact on those of us in the public library, I think it is minimal, but time will tell.