Despite disagreeing with the title (suggesting we are in an adversorial role “fighting” technology) I had an enjoyable afternoon at the networking meeting of the South West Region of the School Library Association. Everyone was very friendly!
I’d been asked to share Kingswood School’s experience of developing a library e-collection through Overdrive which I did and the lively discussion that followed was really informative. The were two main questions that we considered:
Should we loan e-book readers?
There were about 20 school librarians present and I discovered 3 of them had bought multiple Kindles which they were loaning out to students using the ability to archive one title on 6 Kindles. I am personally unsure about the legality of this see Buffy Hamilton’s post from last July : Why we won’t purchase more Kindles at the Unquiet Library Also research into young peoples mobile reading habits suggests they choose to use their own multifunctional devices (ipads, ipads, android phones ) rather than a dedicated e-reader.
Should we be managing digital textbooks?
Some of the librarians asked me about information titles/textbooks available through Overdrive. I have discovered Raintree KS3 titles but these are available in pdf format only which I believe is more suitable for desktop PC viewing rather than on a mobile device. There are also a number of academic publishers like Elsevier (with 11,000 titles available) but these are more suitable for third level organisations.
From the discussion it seemed to me that some librarians are trying to validate their existence by attempting to take on the role of managing digital textbooks for their school. Although someone needs to co-ordinate textbook provision I personally would be wary of pursuing this direction. I think school libraries should be there to support the curriculum, provide resources that enable students to go “off piste” and pursue their independent passsions and most important of all encourage reading for pleasure. These activities have been shown to raise attainment levels in education and we don’t need to justify our existence by venturing into the world of textbooks.
Please feel free to agree or disagree with my strong opinions by adding your comments to this post!