This month’s help desk author, Dr Jill Abell, talks about the practicalities and benefits of setting up a digital school library.
EREADER devices and the new educational publishing e-commerce models are revitalising school libraries.
Publishers’ competing standards and changing purchasing, licensing and lending or digital rights management are adding to the storm.
Any school library using major e-platforms such as industry leader, OverDrive, (www.OverDrive.com) or Wheelers (www.wheelers.co.nz) for delivering eBooks, eTexts, audio books, music and video can report efficiencies in resource management but also marked increases in reading across all age groups in both p-books (print) and eBooks.
The Hutchins School Libraries introduced the extension and digital library services via these two e-platforms because we wanted a 24/7 service for the whole school community. Some staff and students were already using the public library OverDrive service at linc.lib.overdrive.com, so it was a natural extension to add more educational titles and e-texts through the school’s own service at hutchins.lib.overdrive.com.
Students are downloading as well as using their traditional physical resources and services in the school day. Students, staff and parent reading groups have responded enthusiastically to the services.
Teaching staff often request both print and digital versions of texts to assist struggling or reluctant readers, second language learners, as well as gifted readers, to have choice, to encourage both critical literacy and listening skills, to help busy students find time to read beyond the school day or to just engage them via the digitisation and social networking benefits of e-publications.
The library staff add value to the service by enhancing the record discovery and retrieval of titles of interest for the students by ensuring that the cataloguing metadata provided by the eBook-lending platform can be tagged to the new Australian Curriculum online.
For their first time use, readers follow instructions on their library’s website to download two free software applications to their computer or laptop or smart device — OverDrive’s Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions. Then they can check out or download the digital items using their personal library login to their device.
At the end of the lending period, audio books and eBooks automatically expire, so no late fees or overdue notices!
When building your eBook-lending platform, OverDrive takes into account the school’s branding and customer needs. Staff can subscribe to the Overdrive blog, and connect via Facebook, Twitter or follow on Pinterest to guide purchasing.
Dr Jill Abell is director of information services and ICT at The Hutchins School, Hobart.
ATM November, 2012: Vol 8 Issue 10
There's more to this story in the free digital edition of November's Australian Teacher Magazine. Visit itunes.apple.com/au/app/teacher/id456805570 to download the iOS version, or play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.paperlit.android.teacher for Android devices.