In June 2014, Willow Park Middle School’s eLibrary went live. Over the summer, early adopter teachers and students started reading online. Some of us took our eLibrary traveling all summer. It was awesome!
I know. Some people think that students need to feel paper, that reading on screen causes eye strain and that a device that could die if dropped in a bathtub, can’t be seen in harsh sunlight and depends on battery life is so far inferior to a book it’s not even worth trying, never mind investing in a library of said choices. Fair enough.
For naysayers, I know that you know that eBooks are a done deal. They exist with or without your approval. For those people that don’t want to read eBooks, don’t. For those people that do… here’s what we love about eBooks:
We’re using OverDrive. It’s an expensive subscription and it contains eBooks and audiobooks. We choose it because of the ease of enrolling our school population and because the Calgary Public Library uses it. We have a pretty strong partnership with Fish Creek Public Library. For those of us that were already using the OverDrive app, it was really simple to just add a new library.
One of the coolest things about OverDrive School Library is the Book Club ebook. OverDrive has a program called “Big Library Read”. It’s world wide and your school can borrow unlimited copies of “Anatomy of A Misfit” by Andrea Portes in either an audio or eBook version. They’re marketing it as “Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being Being a Wallflower” and so far the Willow Park Book Club loves it!
If you’re thinking about using eBooks in your library, you’ll have some serious things to consider. With OverDrive you buy a subscription… every year. With Follett you buy the book one time and you have it forever. We’ve tried having a few tablets with certain eBooks and audio books on them available for sign out and we didn’t find huge success with that route. We are finding huge success with our eLibrary, because it suits our student population. We’ve also had a huge amount of success with students creating their own eBooks and eMagazines. I don’t think eBooks are going away, just like I still read hard copy books and I don’t see them going anywhere fast either. I choose to embrace them. To me it’s not should we use eBooks, it’s how should we use eBooks?
Karena is a Learning Commons Teacher. She works at Willow Park Arts-Centred MIddle School in Calgary.
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