Sharing Knowledge

When I think of the number of years I spent fumbling about on my own, I very much appreciate the networks I’ve discovered in the past few years, the newest of which is the potential of this blog. Many thanks to Susan for all the feedback and great links. You’ve encouraged me to stick with this blog and motivated me to keep working towards a challenge that seems somewhat overambitious. The ‘revolutionary’ Anythink library site has a wealth of resources that I’m just beginning to understand, thanks to her.

Another relatively new network that has been highly beneficial, is the group of 13 librarians in my district. We have been getting together three times a year for a few years now. Yesterday was our final meeting for this year. We rotate our meetings through each others’ libraries, an idea that has really consolidated the group. We share ideas, knowledge, concerns and frustrations, and I always come away feeling positive and motivated.

Although we all belong to the same Regional Library System and School District, we are a very diverse group. Working hours range from 6 hours per week to full-time, and many of us split our duties between the library and in classes as program assistants. About a third of the libraries are combined school and public.

From a couple of brief discussions yesterday, I took away a few ideas and opinions with regard to my project. I didn’t feel ready to present a full-on discussion about the potential implementation of the book store concept, but I hope some of my colleagues will follow me here and offer their advice.

We did, however, discuss e-book readers. I discovered that a least one other library is looking into them as well. With the group’s help, I managed to pin down several brand options (including iPad, which my computer technician generously let me borrow this week), as well as some questions I need to answer before purchase is made. Topping the list is the issue of e-book availability. Apparently some brands are affiliated with specific suppliers and formats are not universal. Will I have to decide on a supplier before I decide on a reader?

An autumn morning welcomes me to my library

A priority for me and a function I couldn’t find on the iPad is read-aloud, or text-to-speech capability. This is an essential feature for struggling readers and one of the prime reasons to buy e-readers for the Special Needs department. According to the most recent chart I have so far found, Amazon’s Kindle is one of the few that has it, but that brand has a couple of big disadvantages, not the least of which is the inability to borrow e-books through libraries. An equally important function is the integrated dictionary. I think I will be narrowing down my choices by those two features first.

So here I am on Saturday, researching e-books and ways to transform my library. If the sun comes out for an evening show, I am going to go out with my camera. Thank goodness housework is so very patient (and I can’t see it when I’m staring at my computer monitor)…

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Filed under eReaders in the School Library, Rethinking My Library

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