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eBooks are Replacing a School Library

December 2, 2010

I love this. A high school in Houston has removed most of the books in the library and replaced them with ebooks.

According to the Houston Press, Lamar High’s library offers students access to Questia, an online library resource … Teens can access books, articles and more through the service, and read while hanging out on library couches, sipping coffee or noshing on a snack.

The flagship Houston Independent School District school has also reportedly purchased 35 new laptops for the space, and as HISD rep Sarah Greer Osborne says, the school is putting their money into electronic resources instead of paper.

“Yes, there are still books there, but most of it is now e-books where the kids can check out the book, and as long as they have Internet access they can read the book,” she adds. “The library is now open from 6:30 to 6:30, a.m. to p.m., and [Principal James McSwain] says the kids are eating it up; they have never seen so many kids in the library before. They only did this a week ago and he says the number of e-books being checked out is through the roof.” (article source)

When I first read about this, it seemed very strange. A school without a library? But even when I was in high school, 11-15 years ago, I hardly used the books in the library. We had an electronic encyclopedia, and even at that time, the library had computers with internet access. Doing research by using paper books had already become slow and boring.

This may even help schools save money. Schools always have a hard time with getting funds for new books, and if students are using ebooks, that saves money because one ebook can be shared by an unlimited number of people.

Plus, anything that gets kids to read is good. According to the article, it sounds like they love it so far. The newest generation is always the most comfortable with current technologies, so I bet it feels very natural to them. It will also help save space and weight in their backpacks. I remember having to check out a stack of books at the library and haul them home to do my research. Loading up some ebooks onto an e-reader instead will save some sore backs.


From → eBook News

  1. Is it possible that Ebooks are merely changing the way a school library looks? It sounds like someone is still in charge of understanding users, purchasing materials for their unique needs and providing an environment (albeit an increasingly more virtual one) for those users to interact with those materials. I’m also curious about the statement, ” one ebook can be shared by an unlimited number of people”. This seems like an exaggeration. If any copy of any ebook could be viewed by an unlimited number of people, it seems to me that this would devastate the publishing industry.

    I’m a school librarian who loves ebooks and is working to provide them for students. I don’t see myself as a dusty luddite, holding on to an outdated information medium. I still believe that traditional books hold many advantages over their electronic counterparts.

    Just my two cents

  2. It’s true that it saves time, perhaps, but I can’t imagine a time when libraries that contain tangible materials might be void of any real purpose. It’s just not the same to be using a digital book than to be able physically to engage with the text and write/scribble on it at will.

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