Courtesy of Wired: Library Shuffles Its Collection

Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web browsing. This week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, became one of the first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod shuffles.

For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the portable MP3 devices to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store. They started with six shuffles, and now are up to a total of 10. Each device holds a single audio book. The few library patrons that have checked them out seem to have had positive experiences.

Instead of having an entire book take up several CDs, one book fits within several MP3 files, usually ranging from 150 MB to 350 MB, he said. The library currently stocks both of the two versions of the iPod shuffle—six of the 1-GB model, and four of the 512-MB model.

The library even throws in a cassette adapter and an FM transmitter for use in a car. Patrons do, however, have to provide their own headphones for sanitary reasons.