E-Books and E-Readers in the Libraries

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E-Books and E-Readers in the Libraries

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Introduction

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  • #13601

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Allie Verbovetskaya and I’m the Instructional Technologies Librarian at Lehman College. In January 2011, I was given the reins to Lehman’s downloadable eLibrary via OverDrive, which began in Spring 2010 as just an e-reader project but has grown to include downloadable content (in Fall 2010). More information about our project can be found at http://libguides.lehman.edu/ebooks/

    I created this group after it became clear during the 2010 LACUNY Dialogues event about e-books that such a space was desired and necessary. This automatically made me the administrator but I’m happy to share admin rights with others who want the responsibility.

    I see this group functioning as thus:
    * Forum: Used for discussions and Q&A.
    * Blog: Used to document our experiences with e-books and e-readers on our campuses.
    * Documents: Used to upload supporting documentation (such as e-reader lending agreements).

    Feel free to voice your opinions about how this group should be managed, led, and/or organized. Group name suggestions are also welcome! 🙂

    Please forward the name and URL of this group to all those who may be interested in joining us and having a discussion about the emerging use of e-books and e-readers in our libraries.

    Thanks!
    Allie

    #20942
    Amrita Dhawan
    Participant

    Allie,
    Thanks for starting this group. I looked at the Lehman College Overdrive collection and it’s nice to see a good collection of academic e-books.

    I have been using an e-reader for personal use – books from my local library and free books on the internet and was curious about scholarly e-books. I personally prefer the Overdrive model (a book can be checked out to read anytime) to the the Ebrary model where one needs wifi access to read the book.

    I like the storyboard you created and think that e-books will certainly lighten the load for students, but don’t most students have a laptop? If so, they can download the e-book to their laptop. In fact, a laptop may be more flexible e.g. Overdrive has several audio books which are in WMA format which cannot be handled by most e-readers(ipads and iphones can play WMA). The useful service here may be the selection of e-books provided by the library and not the device itself.

    Also, what if several students with e-readers want the same book? e.g. five students with e-readers want to borrow “Introduction to Microeconomics” (normally a large heavy book) will the library be able to lend the book to five students at the same time?

    When you lend an e-reader to the student does it come pre-loaded with books or does the student load the book? I know that downloading an Overdrive e-book from my local library to my Nook involves several steps: I have to first download software to my PC. Then download the book to my PC and then side load from the pc to the device. So, to use the e-reader I first need access to a PC. The steps are easy if you know what you need to do but they are not ‘intuitive’ so I wonder if the student will need help from a librarian when they first use it.

    Overall, I think e-readers are really useful and fun to read on. I have been using a great software called Calibre (free) to collect my RSS feeds. Calibre converts them to epubs (or mobi) which I load to my device to read.

    Amrita

    #20943

    Hi Amrita,

    I actually have two e-readers: B&N Nook and BeBook Neo. (The former was a gift while the latter I purchased for myself.) So I, too, am a proponent of e-readers for personal use. I don’t know whether e-readers are right for all academic/scholarly use, though. The lack of intuitive note-taking features is a real disadvantage. (Although, when I was a student, I never highlighted or took notes in the margins of my textbooks. All my note-taking was done in a separate notebook. But that’s just me.) There is also the issue of e-ink vs LCD: should the e-reader be a standalone device or be integrated in a tablet-like PC? Reading lots of text is best on e-ink display but students in the sciences need images & color, so they’re more likely to use tablets. (But why spend another $300-800 on a device when your existing laptop can do everything a tablet can?) It’s a battle for survival out there. The one left standing is what the libraries will have to adopt.

    Vendors like OverDrive institute a one-book/one-user policy. So if the library only owns one copy of “Introduction to Microeconomics,” only one student can check it out at a time. The library can purchase multiple copies or minimize lending period. (Lehman lends e-books & audiobooks for 7 days, which is 2 weeks less than the standard circulation time for print books.)

    Our e-readers don’t leave the library premises so they are to be used within the building. They do not come pre-loaded (because OverDrive said it may be illegal to do so) so users have to load the books themselves. We offer training workshops for library faculty and staff to help students with this involved process. (NPR recently reviewed library e-books http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133060893 and described how cumbersome the loading process really is.) Most of the public computers in the library already have Adobe Digital Editions and OverDrive Media Console installed so users can load the e-readers from a machine in the library.

    Thanks for looking at my storyboard! You made a great point about e-readers vs laptops so I drew up a pro/con list (on my trusty whiteboard!) to see if one should be featured in the promo video in favor of the other. And what I’ve come up with is that I think I’ll include them both! And others! The beauty of stop-motion is that things pop into and out of scenes like magic, so I can make the student reach into her bag and pull out a laptop. But as she’s looking at the laptop, it turns into an e-reader… and then an iPod-like device… and then a smartphone. (All tuned to the same book.) All to show that the content is available to be consumed in a variety of ways.

    Thanks for your great comments and feedback!
    Allie

    #20945
    Stefanie Havelka
    Participant

    In response to this:”

    Vendors like OverDrive institute a one-book/one-user policy. So if the library only owns one copy of “Introduction to Microeconomics,” only one student can check it out at a time. The library can purchase multiple copies or minimize lending period. (Lehman lends e-books & audiobooks for 7 days, which is 2 weeks less than the standard circulation time for print books.)”

    not 100% true – OverDrive offers some books with a multiple license agreement – meaning you purchase on book but it has several multiple user license – e.g. 7 simultaneous users can read it, obviously these books are more $$

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