Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’
While doing research on Morgana leFay in an undergraduate library, the sun highlighted bans of dust and the library cat sat on the table, watching me pour over a pile of library books needed for a Medieval Lit class paper. The difference between newer books (smooth print, formatted with adequately kerned and tracked sentences) versus old (rougher, brittle pages that had old looking fonts and single spaced) could be reduced to a musty smell of stale Cheerios. I looked for a page that seemed to be not there. Was it ripped out? I flipped back and forth between pages, looking for consecutive paging. And then I remembered the Great Gatsby, with Jay Gatsby’s library full of “uncut” books. Later, I ripped open the page with a dinner knife – and found what I needed folded in between a bound page. My tactile experience with books, 20 years ago, doesn’t negate today’s convenience of googling research to find needed support for argument, especially during a library’s closed hours.
Yet there are those who still prefer “real” books over e-books, especially parents of young children who admit to a double-standard – they are avid digital readers yet want the tactile benefits of books, including bedtime cuddles.
Others say that we need more research before taking an either-or-stand. As debate rages on about the value of ebooks versus real books, the Cooney Center aims “to foster a productive dialogue about digital media and our kids” and the researchers who first posed the question of our report “Print Books vs. E-books” – sought to “measure levels of engagement — between parent and child, and with the book itself.”
Although parents and educators may feel strongly for either bound or electronic books, the bottom line for both is enjoying reading and increasing reading skills. We really don’t need to stand behind an either-or mentality, as hardcopy books and text media are integral part of our life. I would bet money that school libraries won’t ever go paperless, but schools are successfully using electronic reading programs, such as Big Universe (read about one teacher who integrates both in her classroom).
The value in shared reading, and a cuddle quotient, remains in the hands of readers – using hard copy books, ipads and electronic readers. In an unlikely, but shared reading experience, my sons gather round the computer and the three of us work on religion class survey-type questions and answers on mass and book readings (accessible through pdf) – sometimes with appropriate video clips. This however is not relaxed reading, but homework, yet I have to admit, to my own surprise, that they don’t treat it as work. There is a place for real books in our lives – and alternative reading mediums. Time to make room for both.
“Tablet PC Computer And Books” from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
At a recent School Librarians’ workshop, a very prestigious and knowledgeable speaker addressed the growing popularity of library eBook collections. He spoke at length about eReaders, and the expense of accumulating enough hand-held devices to meet the demand of borrowers. He taught me about the dangers of eyestrain, and of E-ink’s supposed benefits over backlit LCD readers. He discussed the controversy surrounding one particular eBook publisher who has limited the number of circulations that each eBook can have in one library. He spoke very engagingly, but the discussion turned away, I felt, from the true problem of loaning eBooks through libraries.
Books are not the paper that they are printed on, but the content and ideas within the covers. Libraries circulate books in all forms; it is becoming easier and more feasible to collect large numbers of eBooks in public, university and school libraries, and we feel very proud when we can point out how many e-volumes the library loans. However, are we discriminating against the less fortunate when we use library funds to purchase eBooks without also buying readers on which they can be enjoyed? If we loan audiobooks and eBooks, are we obligated to also loan the means by which a borrower can read that book? Or should we assume that the library user has an eReader or a CD player or a computer at his/her disposal? This is not as much of an issue in schools, as there are usually enough computers available which can be used for both functions; however, books are borrowed from school libraries to be used outside of those four walls.
As libraries transform collections from dusty paper to digital format, as I am sure they eventually all will, there must be a way to make certain that the collections are, as Melvil Dewey envisioned, free and accessible to all.
Have you seen Big Universe Learning mentioned anywhere?
Recently I have found it mentioned in a few places where I was not expecting to find it.
Kelly Tenkely is someone I have not met in person (yet anyway … I hope to). She writes an outstanding blog sharing technology resources and how to use them in the classroom called ilearntechnology.com. Kelly and I have gotten to know each other through our blogs and twitter. Not too long ago in one of her blog posts, Kelly shared a table listing sources for people looking to expand their home or classroom libraries with ebook. It makes perfect sense that Big Universe Learning is included in this list.
On the School Library Journal, there was recently an article that caught my attention called “Are Ebooks Any Good?” As I was reading through this article, I came across a list of ebook options that included Big Universe!
This article talks about the definition of an ebook, while also addressing these questions:
Are electronic picture books good for kids, and can they get them hooked on reading by expanding access to engaging titles? Are digital books one more step down that slippery slope to less and less interaction with print just when children need it most?
The article goes on to share how ebooks work with early readers. The article even mentions how digital content and ebooks could be an important way to increase access in disadvantaged communities. It even mentions that one of the strengths of ebooks is that, unlike with print books, readers can pull up additional titles, at any time and in any place, as soon as a child says, “I want to read that one, too!” I know that when I enjoy reading a book, I like to go and find more title by the same author. That is so easy to do with ebooks.
One line that really stood out to me was: The most pressing question may be not if but how teachers and librarians should use ebooks.
How do you think we should be using ebooks? How are you using ebooks?
What ways do you see yourself using ebooks from Big Universe in the future?