Saturday, October 1, 2011

Are We Having the Same eBook Discussion?

The eBook discussions seem to be getting muddier instead of clearer. Colleagues from the world of public libraries are posting incredible, informative and cautionary information on their experiences.

Three recent posts have been particularly fascinating:

INFOdocket Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy:
eBooks, Privacy, and the Library « INFOdocket

Chris Harris:
EBook Summit 2011: Don't Buy Ebooks

Bobbi Newman:
Public Library eBooks on the Kindle - We Got Screwed

Our learning commons has been writing grants and purchasing ebooks. We are focusing purchasing on developing a complete ebook reference collection, and a professional development collection. Future purchasing will concentrate on nonfiction, to support the goals of the ELA Common Core. (Unlimited access, where one ebook can be used by an unlimited number of patrons, is definitely the way to go.)

All our ebooks are web-based, because, as research resources, they are ideal for keyword searches and are not meant for extended reading. Text-to-speech functionality also allows reading disabled students to access the content. Push your vendors for this - they need your input to push publishers.

I worry that the frustrations surrounding Kindle, Nook, Overdrive and other proprietary platforms and devices, will deter school libraries from entering the ebook waters. Like our public library colleagues, we need to get in there and experiment, and learn about this environment. We need to accept that, during this transitional time, not everything is going to work.

But that doesn't mean it won't work! It is time to read up and start advocating administration, and writing grants, to do whatever it takes to start building our ebook collections.

A recent Facebook interchange with a school library soul buddy (Hi, Anita!) really crystallized this

Be brave. Be prepared to get it wrong, document your learning curve, and accept the transitional nature of "the book." I have high hopes for ebooks in school libraries.

If you want a fabulous FB school library friend, check out Anita! I am always looking for new library friends on FB, Twitter (concordrobin) and my new HAPPY PLACE Google+!

: )

PS - Thanks to Gwyneth for permission for the pic. She had already given a creative commons license on Flickr, and when I contacted her for permission she readily agreed. How wonderful to find photos from a school librarian on Flickr Creative Commons! I pledge to start posting school library photos tagged for other library bloggers. Thanks, Gwyneth!

Photo Credit:
Flickr Creative Commons
Kindle Library Skin
 The Daring LibrarianGwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones


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