SCC schools get eBooks, audio booksStudents in the St. Croix Central School District have new options for reading books offered through the schools’ libraries. The district now offers eBooks and audio books for students and staff.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
Students in the St. Croix Central School District have new options for reading books offered through the schools’ libraries.
The district now offers eBooks and audio books for students and staff.
St. Croix Central Library Media Specialist Amanda Olson describes eBooks as “basically a digital version of a book. Sometimes they’ll scan in the pages and turn it into a PDF and sometimes they actually have someone re-type it into a special format so you can read it online or on some kind of device.”
She said the digital books are changing the schools’ libraries and how the resources are used, because students are no longer limited to access of the library resources only during school hours.
“With the eBooks we purchase, students have access to them 24/7 all through the year, even during the summer,” she said.
Olson said it’s important to offer the electronic resources to students.
“They’re using this of technology already, with devices like Kindles and Nooks. I want to be able to tie that in and say ‘hey, you have this great device, look what we can give you for free that you can use in your classroom or at home to learn something more or just be entertained by a cool story.’ I think people forget how much free stuff you can get from the library,” she said.
The eBooks and audio books can be accessed through any Internet connected computer—home, school or on the road. They can also be downloaded to iPads and Android devices through a downloadable Follett reader application.
The books are purchased through a library company called Follett which works like a library system. There is a login username and password to ensure only SCC students are gaining access to the district’s electronic library system.
When an eBook is downloaded or “checked out,” the student has the book available on their device for two weeks. After the two-week period the eBook is automatically returned and deleted off the device.
Olson said it’s easy to keep track of electronic books.
“When it’s digital material you don’t have lost books. You don’t have damages. You don’t have kids leaving it at home,” she said.
While the cost of an eBook is similar to the price of paper copy books, the audio books cost about two to three times more than paper versions.
Olson said the money for the eBooks and audio books is in the library’s budget, since it’s just a matter of reallocating funds.
“Our libraries’ regular library books are still used quite a lot, especially the fiction books. However, the use of our non-fiction section, factual based or reference books, has gone down because a lot of students want to use online resources. So we’re just kind of shifting from print material to more digital material,” she explained.
Olson said she purchased a lot of non-fiction eBooks so teachers could use them on their classroom SMART Boards. She said many people have already accessed the electronic resources.
The district has only been using eBooks and audio books for about three weeks and so far there are 24 eBooks at the elementary school, 15 eBooks and six audio books at the middle school; and 16 eBooks and eight audio books at the high school.
Olson said she plans on ordering more eBooks and audio books by the end of the month.
She said she orders eBooks based on popularity, requests and reviews she’s read.
Olson said students and staff are excited about the new reading technology and she’s been given multiple lists of books that people would like to read in an electronic format.
Olson said she hopes to continue to grow the district’s eBook collection and possibly even offer unlimited access eBooks for use by entire classrooms.
Olson said she’s willing to take suggestions for new eBooks or answer questions about the eBook process.
Olson can be contacted at ao firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-796-2256.