ebook

Choosing an eBook Platform(s) for Your K-12 School Library

Many thanks to ALA TechSource for allowing me to do another webinar with them last week and to the gracious participants who took time to join us!  Be sure to check out my Scoop.it magazine on eBooks and eReaders.

Nook Program @ The Unquiet Library Update, March 2012

Catching Up

Many of you have been writing or Tweeting for updates on the Nook program we had planned to launch last fall; unfortunately, several factors slowed our launch date for the program, including:

  • a lack of clerical help this academic year
  • an incredibly busy schedule of instruction (a good problem to have!) in the library; since the teaching and learning focus comes first, we prioritize our energies into that effort first
  • significant delays in the communication process with Barnes and Noble in processing our ebook purchase orders

At this time, we own 50 Nook Simple Touches; Nooks 1-35 are designated with our Barnes and Noble Managed Digital Locker program for classroom use, which could include literature circle book study or independent reading selections.  Nooks 36-50 are for circulation to students who return a parental permission form or who would like to use them in the library during a class or lunch visit.  I worked with Dan Boon, my Community Relations Manager at the Alpharetta Barnes and Noble,  to establish groups of Nooks so that it would be easy for B&N to deliver the eBooks we order via purchase order to the appropriate Nook devices.

Challenges with the Digital Managed Locker Program

In terms of the digital managed locker program, there have definitely been some problems that I have experienced as have many of you.

1.  Barnes and Noble has frankly not done a very good job in educating its employees about the Digital Managed Locker program.  As you can imagine, librarians who are trying to inquire and find out more information about the program feel frustrated when they can’t get the answers they need, and the B&N employees also feel frustrated that they may not have been provided the information and training they need to help implement the program with school librarians or classroom teachers in an effective manner.  I know these concerns have been concerned to B&N management from those of us in the trenches as well as from employees, so I’m hopeful they are committed to being more systematic in communicating the information more effectively.  If you are not able to get the answers you need from someone at the first store you visit or call, I recommend contacting a neighboring store or the regional Barnes and Noble manager for your area.

2.  In some store locations, the community relations manager or person designated as the “go to” person for the Digital Managed Locker program is just swamped with multiple responsibilities; consequently, they may have difficulty dealing with the communications from librarians or teachers in a timely manner.  Since there is no electronic/virtual  interface at this time that librarians can access to submit purchase orders and manage eBook (or app) orders, eBook orders can be delayed significantly when there are gaps in communication.  We as librarians and teachers desperately need a virtual interface to manage these orders; email is simply not an efficient means of managing the orders; we as customers need the option of having more control over reassigning texts to different devices if needed.  While I appreciate that B&N is doing a lot of the management for me, I need to be able to have a point of access to do it myself when needed.

Our local store and representative are committed to helping B&N address these concerns; I very much appreciate that Dan has shared my suggestions for improving the communication channels and order management with those who work at a higher level in the company.  In addition, I appreciate that Dan is willing to come out to my school site if I need assistance with devices.

In terms of technical issues, they have been minimal so far.   We have not had any issues connecting to wireless, and the downloading process has been fairly seamless.  We did have one device go bad as we could not unlock it; after not having any success with the 1-800 technical support, our representative Dan was helpful in resolving the issue and actually bringing us a replacement device (a major time saver–thank you!).  We did have one device not receive the appropriate eBooks assigned to that device, but we are working on resolving that issue as we speak.  One other helpful hint:  it took me a while to realize that the power button is on the back of the Nook; thankfully, the covers we bought are designed to stay on and have the Nook symbol on them so that you can press it and power the device off and on without having to remove the cover.

First Steps of Implementation, Spring 2012

We have now started circulating devices to students for free reading (yes, I let them take the devices home—students and parents sign an acceptable use agreement, and we also bought a 2 year warranty), so I hope to have their feedback for you soon.  The initial impressions, though, have been very positive–students really seem to like the “swipe” technology as well as the size of the devices (it fits in their pockets).   One student in particular is absolutely thrilled to have the chance to use a modern eReader—I am not exaggerating when I say he was giddy and glowing when he left the library!  At this time, the free circulation Nook collection (36-50) is purely student driven like our Kindle eBook collection since students submit eBook request forms when they turn in their permission forms).   At this time, the loan period is one week although we hope to extend that in the future.

Our other initial pilot group is Deborah Frost’s 1st period  9th Literature/Composition class.  The majority of the class, boys, chose to read Monster by Walter Dean Myers; the remainder of the class, girls, selected The Secret Life of Bees.  Since many of the students in the class are self-described reluctant readers, we”ll be surveying them regularly about their reading experiences on the Nooks to see if the medium of reading has any impact on their feelings about reading.  The students are excited  (as are we!) to be the first pilot group; I hope to provide some updates in April when they finish their unit of study.

Questions via Email and the Blog

First I want to apologize if you have emailed me in the last month, and I have not answered your email individually.  For the last year or so, I have tried very hard to answer each inquiry individually and in a timely manner.  However, the number of inquiries has come to a tipping point, and I’m just not able to continue answering inquiries personally at this time.    I’m hopeful that either this blog, my Kindle LibGuide, my Nook LibGuide, or my recent chapter in No Shelf Required II edited by Sue Polanka, will give you the answers you’re seeking; you might also want to follow my Scoop.it magazine on eBooks and eReaders.

I’ve received several emails as of late about how we are circulating the eBooks via our OPAC and tracking what students read.   At this time, there is no way to do either–neither Kindle eBooks on a Kindle device nor a Nook book via a Nook device.   I do not assign MARC records to the eBooks for Kindle or Nook although I do catalog the devices; as I’ve written before, I don’t catalog the Kindle or Nook eBooks individually because 1.  you can’t really “circulate” them via your OPAC and 2.  I don’t assign them to the devices in the MARC record because media specialists in my district do not have rights to edit existing MARC records.    If you need to track that kind of data or circulate eBooks electronically, then you will need to look at an eBook platform like Follett eBooks or Overdrive that is designed to function in those ways.

Next Steps

We’ll now provide students post-reading surveys about the Nook reading experience to determine if they are a good fit for our students;  I’ll also be working with Ms. Frost to get her feedback as a classroom teacher.   While I’m still looking for an eBook platform whose licensing agreements are acceptable for my library and learning environment, especially as our district is now ready to implement a bring your own device policy for 2012-2013, I still think there is a place for circulating the devices themselves since so many don’t have one of their own.  I look forward to giving you a new update in a few weeks as I document our journey of learning and exploration of eBook and eReader experiences and options.

FREE eBOOK: SCHOOL LIBRARIES: WHAT’S NOW, WHAT’S NEXT, WHAT’S YET TO COME

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the over 50 authors who contributed to School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What’s Yet to Come, we are delighted to announce that our crowdsourced eBook is now available for free download!

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96705

We hope you will enjoy downloading and reading these diverse perspectives on where school libraries are and what school librarians are doing to redefine, stretch, and expand traditional services.

Please feel free to share this link with your colleagues, administrators, professional and union organizations, Board of Education members, and more. Help us spread the word and build the conversation about the possibilities of school libraries!

We have it available for free download in three formats:

  • PDF for those who want to read it on a desktop/laptop
  • .mobi for those who want to read it on Kindle software or a Kindle device
  • .epub for those who would like to read it on Adobe Digital Editions software, iBooks, Sony Reader, the Bluefire Reader app, Nook, and most other eReaders

While you can find the eBook on Smashwords now; in about 2-6 weeks, Smashwords will send it out to the major eBookstores (including Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Sony Bookstore, and others, although Amazon is in negotations) for free distribution.

With deep thanks,

The Authors of School Libraries: What’s Now, What’s Next, What Comes After

Editors:
Kristin Fontichiaro, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Buffy Hamilton, Creekview High School, Canton, GA

Foreword:
R. David Lankes, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Photographs:
Diane Cordell, Retired Teacher Librarian, Queensbury, NY

Contributors:
Kelly Ahlfeld, Mettawee Community School, West Pawlet, VT
Diane Erica Aretz-Kernahan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Emilia Askari, Living Textbook Project, McCollough Unis School, Dearborn, MI
Kathleen Atkin, Louis Riel School Division, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Robert Baigent, National Library of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand
Susan D. Ballard, Consultant and Simmons College, Boston, MA
Angela Washington-Blair, Emmett J. Conrad High School, Dallas, TX
Dan Bowen, ICT Learning and Teaching Consultant, Surrey, England, UK
Holli Buchter, St. Vrain Valley School District, Longmont, CO
Jennifer Branch, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Len Bryan, Cedar Ridge High School, Round Rock, TX
Jennifer Colby, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Diane Cordell, Retired Teacher Librarian, Queensbury, NY
William Cross, Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Meg Donhauser, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ
Joanne de Groot, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Stacy Dillon, LREI – Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, NY
Andrea Dolloff, Ethical Cultural Fieldston School, New York, NY
Meg Donhauser, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ
Laura Fleming, Cherry Hill School, River Edge, NJ
Lorna Flynn, American International School in Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Elizabeth Friese, University of Georgia,Athens, GA
Rachel Goldberg, East Middle School, Plymouth, MI
Beth Gourley, Western Academy of Beijing, Beijing, China
Dorcas Hand, Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX
Alida Hanson, School Library Teacher Program, Simmons College GSLIS, Boston, MA
Violet H. Harada, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Heather Hersey, Lakeside School, Seattle, WA
Valerie Hill, Ethridge Elementary School, The Colony, TX, and Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies, Denton, TX
Kimberly Hirsh, Butner-Stem Middle School, Butner, NC, and G. C. Hawley Middle School, Creedmoor, NC
Shannon Hyman, Byrd Middle School, Henrico, VA
Pamela Jackson, East Wake High School, Wendell, NC
Melissa P. Johnston, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Jesse Karp, LREI – Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York, NY
Sara Kelley-Mudie, The Forman School, Litchfield, CT
Tricia Kuon, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Neil Krasnoff, New Tech High School at A. Maceo Smith, Dallas, TX
Jennifer LaGarde, New Hanover County Schools, Wilmington, NC
Teri S. Lesesne, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Margaret Lincoln, Lakeview School District, Battle Creek, MI
Kate MacMillan, Napa Valley USD, Napa Valley, CA (see also Chap. 9)
Adrienne Matteson, White River Elementary, Noblesville, IN
Kathleen McBroom, Dearborn Public Schools, Dearborn, MI
Walter McKenzie, ASCD, Alexandria, VA
David Meyer, TMC Furniture, Ann Arbor, MI
Ben Mondloch, Cherry Lake Publishing, Ann Arbor, MI
Leslie L. Morgan, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Cathy Jo Nelson, Dorman High School, Spartanburg District 6 Schools, Roebuck, SC
Beverley Rannow, Otsego Public Schools, Otsego, MI
Howard Rheingold, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Nikki D. Robertson, Auburn High School, Auburn, AL
Daniella Smith, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Evan St. Lifer, Scholastic Library Publishing, Danbury, CT
Jennifer Stanbro, South Portland School Department, South Portland, ME
Caitlin Stansell, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jeff Stanzler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Carolyn Jo Starkey, Buckhorn High School, New Market, AL
Wendy Steadman Stephens, Buckhorn High School, New Market, AL
Michael Stephens, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Linda Straube, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL
Cathy Stutzman, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ
Mega Subramaniam, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Margaret Sullivan, Smith Systems, Plano, TX (see also Chap. 6)
Joyce Kasman Valenza, Springfield Township High School, Erdenheim, PA
Karen Villegas, Grosse Pointe North High School, Grosse Pointe, MI
Jeanna Walker, Portage Public Schools, Portage, MI
Donna Watt, Invercargill City Libraries, Invercargill, New Zealand
Holly Weimar, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Senga White, James Hargest College, Invercargill, New Zealand
Erin Drankwalter Wyatt, Highland Middle School, Libertyville, IL
Amanda Yaklin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Alice Yucht, Retired/rewired Teacher-Librarian, NJ
Marci Zane, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ

PS – Want to create a Smashwords book of your own? We recommend the Smashwords Style Guide (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52).

The New Normal? Challenges of Leveraging the eBook Opportunity in K-12 Libraries

I was honored today to participate in the Library Journal and School Library Journal’s Digital Shift virtual ebook summit opening keynote panel featuring Robin Nesbitt and John Palfrey .  A heartfelt thank you to Ian Singer, Brian Kenney, Barbara Genco, Dodie Ownes, and the fabulous tech team along with 1300+ participants who helped make our session happen.  I’ll be publishing a separate post this week with follow-up answers to questions directed to me in the Q&A chat that we didn’t have time to address in today’s session.

“School Libraries: What Next?” Ebook Project

CC image via http://bit.ly/pt6jTF

We are delighted to accept submissions for a collection of crowdsourced short essays on the future of school libraries from multiple perspectives, to be published in e-book format to coincide with Treasure Mountain and AASL in October 2011. We believe this e-book is a way for librarians to take the lead as content creators and publishers with custom, community-significant content for patrons. We imagine e-readers as publishing platforms for us, not competition.

Whether you’re an ardent supporter or see the proverbial handwriting on the wall, what do you see as the next 10 or 20 years of school libraries? This book will also tackle an “elephant in the room” question: with the nation’s education systems in an economic depression and many school librarians being pink-slipped, what is the future of school libraries? How might they be reinvented to remain deeply significant – for student learning? Should they? What past practices will we need to jettison? What stalwart beliefs must we hold tightly?

We’re posing a set of essential questions that will encourage you — and us! — to think deeply about the future of school libraries in the areas of:

  • Gaming
  • 21st-Century Learners
  • Who and When Do We Teach?
  • Reading
  • Emerging and Multiple Literacies
  • Networks and Organizations
  • The Physical Library
  • The Virtual Library
  • Collaboration
  • Collection Development
  • Librarian Coursework and Professional Development

You can learn more about our project, the topics we are exploring, and how to submit by visiting the links on the Submissions page. The Submission Guidelines document will let you know more about the length, style, and topics.

Thank you for your interest in our experiment – we hope you will join us!  Please visit the project page by clicking here.

Best,

Kristin Fontichiaro

Buffy Hamilton