Tag Archives: eReaders

Sunday: e-Book News and Some Online Literature Portals

Andrew Zack explains the process and costs of eBooks in Making E-books Is Harder Than It Looks.

Espresso-machine eBooks – The Antidote to e-Books

Everything in moderation: Enhanced ebooks are bad for children finds American study

Pew Poll shows 62 percent of American readers didn’t know if their library had e-books for lending. That and other survey stats at Most U.S. readers unaware of e-books at libraries: poll.

Ottawa’s Public Library has offered e-Books since 2010 and demand has skyrocketed although they still tackles challenges: Despite technical issues, e-books a best seller for library

After a pilot project, all 17 branches of the Edmonton Public Library will be lending e-readers to their patrons: Library Opens New Chapter With e-Readers. (I wonder which ones they bought?)

Read Books Online seems to be a fairly decent portal to the world of electronic literature delivery.

A very extensive indexed list of sources for online books can be found at The Online Books Page.

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Creative Uses for the Old Card Catalogue

I wonder if any libraries actually threw away their old card catalogues? If so, I wonder if they regret. Mine has been repurposed as drawers for everything from markers to elastic bands and the cards have long since been used us in the library and by classrooms for a multitude of uses.

Here are some of the more creative re-uses I’ve found on the ‘Net.

Find out how to wire it up for eReader storage like Bloomington Junior High School Media Center

Vintage library card catalogue, The Paris Market, Savannah. (via Tara Bradford)

Yale University Card Catalog from Ellen Su on Vimeo.

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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

High-Tech Dickens

I’m not a city-lover and avoid crowds and noise when I can, but I would jump at the chance to explore many of them just to ingest the history.  I ever get to London, I will explore some of the places rich in literary history – places intricately laid out and described in the interactive map by David Perdue. (Via TYWKIWDBI)

Click for interactive map on David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

Meanwhile, back in Canada, I will be vicariously touring London in Dickens’ time on the iPad via “Streetmuseum: Dickens’ Dark London”, YALSA’s  app of the week.

Streetmuseum: Dickens' Dark London

“An enriched graphic novel, this app explodes stories drawn from Charles Dickens’Sketches by Boz: illustrative of every-day life and every-day people, to create a real sense of place from a combination of striking monochromatic art and theatrical narration.” (YALSA)

There is also an Android version here.

I like to think Dickens would be tickled to see his works converted to graphic novels and interactive experiences, but it’s fun to think how technologies might have been explained to him in his time.  Rachel Walsh, a student at Cardiff School of Art and Design, created the work below to describe the Amazon Kindle e-reader to Charles Dickens. (via The Atlantic)

Designing a 19th Century Kindle: An E-Reader for Dickens

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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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