Category Archives: eReaders in the School Library

My Library This Christmas

Books are Snow Wonderful Bulletin Board

It’s “Share the Gift of Story” this week, with readers from the community coming in to read to K-Gr. 9 library classes. It’s so great for the kids to see that it’s not just school staff and parents who enjoy reading stories. Our local RCMP really get in on the act with several constables joining in the fun this year. Perfect way for the kids to meet the local police officers too!

Easy Street decorated for Christmas with New Fireplace

A long-time participant, whose grandchildren are now in school noticed a couple of years ago that the YouTube fireplace video that I put on the Smart Board behind the readers was a little pathetic. It couldn’t be seen well, it distracted the kids as the tender rustled logs and it often froze. This year, this kind gentleman brought in our very own electric fireplace to lend ambiance to our seasonal program and story time throughout the year. What a wonderful gift!

The Circulation Desk with Christmas Tree

Our Grade 6 class decorated the library. Doesn’t it look great?

The big project on the go is a wonderful collaboration cooked up between our local public librarian, Nancy Keough and me. It all started, more or less, with my not being able to work out how to offer e-books to our students. I get my own, personally through the public library system along with a plethora of other resources that aren’t available to us otherwise. Some of our students do have memberships but the majority do not. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had access to all the wonderful things they offer?

Nancy took the idea to the library board, who generously offered us a great deal on public library memberships for the entire school! All staff and students. Our administration gave the go-ahead and four local business have helped to fund it. We’re just collecting forms now and are hoping to have everything in place now.

For more about the membership project, the sponsors and a few other things around the library, see my December newsletter.

Other than that I’m finding myself with a little time to clear up my desk and check off some of those stickier tasks on my to-do list. Next week will be our last week before the break and I’ll read to library classes from my selection of Christmas favourites.


After that, it’s focus on family (and shopping and cooking and wrapping and crafting) for 2 whole weeks! I wish you all a great holiday, if that’s what you’re in for as well and if not, enjoy December wherever you are.


Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Library Class, Library Programs

You Might Like Books Better, But Your Brain Doesn’t Care

A recent paper at PLOS ONE postulates that although you may subjectively prefer to read from printed paper, it actually takes no more effort for you to get just as much from reading on an e-reader or tablet.

Figure 2. Ratings for the pleasantness of reading (choice of preferred reading medium) in absolute numbers of answers. 

For those of us in schools it’s interesting to see the differing results from young adults and explanations of that difference.

From the abstract:

“In the rapidly changing circumstances of our increasingly digital world, reading is also becoming an increasingly digital experience: electronic books (e-books) are now outselling print books in the United States and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, many readers still view e-books as less readable than print books. The present study thus used combined EEG and eyetracking measures in order to test whether reading from digital media requires higher cognitive effort than reading conventional books….Our findings thus indicate that people’s subjective evaluation of digital reading media must be dissociated from the cognitive and neural effort expended in online information processing while reading from such devices.”

Read the rest of this open access, peer reviewed paper:

Subjective Impressions Do Not Mirror Online Reading Effort: Concurrent EEG-Eyetracking Evidence from the Reading of Books and Digital Media

Via Library Link of the Day


Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Reading

Sunday Selection: a Mishmash

20-Year-Old Hobbit Pub in Southampton threatened with legal action by US movie lawyers.

Mr. Library Dude’s delightful list of 10 things …They Didn’t Tell You About Being a Librarian

SLJ’s App Review: Best of Apps & Enhanced Books (February)

Pick Your Monopoly: Apple or Amazon from the Washington Post

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany – Collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years.

In case you haven’t heard yet…from March 2nd – Necessary Evil? Random House Triples Prices Of Library E-Books

An inspiring Media specialist turns up enthusiasm at library

Should Libraries Get Out of the eBook Business? from Librarian by Day

A List of Free Apps for Students with Hearing and Visual Impairment from Education Technology and Mobile Learning

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Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Humour, Library Management, Online Resources

Valuable Professional Development

A couple of times each year on our district professional development days, the library staff from most of the 13 schools in my district get together. For the last two years, we have been meeting at each others’ libraries, a practice that we have found to be invaluable. I’ve decided to share our day here to summarize for my group as well as to suggest to others that if you are not already (1) getting together with other library people and (2) taking advantage of professional services available to you (in our case through our regional library), then you really ought to consider both. My only regret is that I didn’t take pictures to share. Next time I will.

On Friday, we spent the morning at Fort Assiniboine School library, which is a combined school and public library serving the K-9 school, the village and much of the very large Woodlands County. The partnership works very well, with the county providing such faithful support that the school benefits from a very attractive, well-stocked library with a full-time manager and part time clerk. A large-screen TV sits above a Wii station in a comfy den-style alcove. (Unfortunately, if you weren’t there, you’ll have to use your imagination since I didn’t take pictures.)

After a good chat with everyone as they arrived, we enjoyed a tour of the school, discovering a gorgeous hand-crafted tree-house reading-loft in the Kindergarten room (how I wish I had brought a camera) among the always unique and inspiring classrooms and common areas. (It was especially fun to see the graduation photo of one of our group members who attended the school a few years ago).

(Because I couldn't go any farther without a picture.)

Returning to the library, we then settled in to talk about e-readers and the learning commons concept with Yellowhead Regional Library consultant, Jocie Wilson. Before we got started Elaine Dickie from Barrhead Elementary, brought up the possibility of sharing subscriptions for journals like School Librarian and School Library Journal. The discussion led to the idea of asking YRL, through Jocie, to put together a package of journals including the above plus Quill & Quire, Resource Links and others, that could rotate through our schools by inter-school courier before being sent back. Elaine will compile a routing list.

Library manager, Louise Davison had closed the library for the day, but while we were there she admitted several patrons to browse while we continued on with our meeting in the middle of the library. Her words on my query about being closed were: “They have driven 20 kilometres to get here. We’re open.” That’s library service.

Jocie showed us some images of school libraries he had recently toured in Edmonton, that in many ways exemplified learning commons. We saw libraries that were the centre of their schools and were open, accessible, flexible and indispensable to students and teachers. I was surprised to learn that teacher-librarians managed these libraries, two of only six in the Edmonton public school system. One, however, was only half-time in the library, with no assistance, and the other was seldom in the library at all, doing team-teaching for research projects with mobile laptop labs in classrooms, while a library technician managed the library.

Jocie brought some e-readers to look at and we discussed the dismal progress of affordable solutions for schools in purchasing multiple copies of eBooks or utilizing Overdrive. Jocie described cloud solutions coming online recently, where a fixed number of e-books could be purchased and downloaded on any number of devices. Because of the inflexibility of titles available in any given ‘cloud’, (no access to new or otherwise requested books), this would only be worthwhile, in my opinion, if the cloud contained all titles commonly accessed for novel studies in all grades in Alberta.

We had a wonderful lunch provided by the Fort Assiniboine Public Library Board after which we reassembled at Barrhead Composite High School library, which serves Grades 7 to 12. We all stopped at the ‘Great Books’ display, where Library manager, Hilda Froese deceives trendy teens by displaying hidden gems among new books, ensuring their discovery and inevitable check-out.

With shelving angled in a pleasing design for maximum line-of-sign at the edges of this large and cheerful space, there is plenty of room in the centre of Hilda’s library for tables, where we participated in a 10-minute-read exercise with numerous graphic novels that Jocie had brought to show us. She gave us a book-talk guide and instructed us to examine the front and back covers, any summaries or blurbs we could find, then read the first chapter or 10-20 pages, a small section in the middle and at least a few pages at end.

This was a challenge for me. I chose Black Butler by Yana Toboso, a black-and-white manga, which happened to be #5 and chapters 20-23 of the series. Now, I can negotiate an Archie comic with the best of them, but I have to admit that I have completely neglected my manga-reading skills. I gathered that it was set in India during British colonialism and was about a cooking contest. Somebody got tied up in the middle of the book, but must have been freed because the good-guys won. I couldn’t think of any of my students who might be interested in it.

After we had all given our brief book talks, Jocie commented that although she had had a similar reaction to Black Butler, she had recently encountered a group of students who informed her that it was the best series ever! Just goes to show that hockey players shouldn’t try to choose toe-shoes for ballerinas. Listen to your students!

Below are some of the other books reviewed and recommended. Click on any image for the GoodReads page with reader reviews.


All in all, it was a productive, rejuvenating and affirming day. Being isolated, as we nearly all are in one-person libraries, we all get feeling that no-one knows what we do. There is no one with whom to discuss our successes and challenges. When we get together like this, we find others who can relate, who can admire and commiserate. We learn so much from each other and appreciate our YRL consultant lending her expertise to keep us on track and motivated.

But next time, I’m going to bring a camera. Oh, right. Next time is to be in my library.

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, eReaders in the School Library, Library Management

Sunday Surfing Selection – e-Readers &Tablets

I collect so many great links that I want to share, that I thought I would copy the idea of many bloggers and create a weekly link dump. (And I can’t resist a corny alliterative title.) If you have or are thinking about e-Readers or tablets in your library you will find a very helpful selection of resources in this week’s collection.

Unshelved (Click)

The Truth About Tablets: Educators are getting iPads and ereaders into students’ hands—but it’s not easy goes into detail about the sticking points in the issue.

E-Books and Libraries: 25 Resources Collections, Purchasing, Vendors, Controversy and Miscellaneous.

Penguin Ends E-Book Library Lending And Relationship With OverDrive…at least until it finds a new partner. Also read Amazon’s Kindle Plays A Part In Penguin’s Library Decision.

Announcing OverDrive Help as of February 14th, OverDrive Help will contain ” hundreds of newly-written help articles covering everything users need to know to enjoy eBooks, audiobooks, music and video from your digital collection.”

The International Children’s Digital Library whose goal is “a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.”

58 Sites for Digital Storytelling Tools and Information Information & Online tools

Best Kids’ Book Apps of 2011 Reviewed selections for toddlers through teens, from traditional titles to new creations just for tablets.

Goodbye Textbooks, Hello iPad “A technology shift is under way. The PC’s promise to transform how learning happens in the classroom is being realized by Apple’s iPad.”

ICT Magic just won a Best Education Wiki award for being “a truly inspiring collection of IT resources for students and teachers”.

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Filed under Education, eReaders in the School Library, Online Resources, Technology

Ludite or Sage? Jonathan Franzen warns ebooks are corroding values

Jonathan Franzen at the Cartagena festival: 'All the real things are dying off.' Photograph: Stringer/Colombia/Reuters

For serious readers, Franzen said, “a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience”. “Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change,” he continued. “Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that. That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.”

Read the rest of the article at The Guardian

Via Library Link of the Day

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Filed under eReaders in the School Library, Technology

Are Secret Deals Keeping eBook Prices High?

The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers.

Read the rest of the story at the LA Times.

The publishing industry has been struggling for some years. I want it to survive with health and diversity. But…

Is is ever right to save an industry by cheating?

Via Library Link of the Day

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