The world of e-books has expanded tremendously over the past several years, as have the ways in which they can be read. Thanks to a 2011 grant from the Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence (VFEE), Jennifer Kleinknecht, the media specialist at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School, is doing her best to keep up with the trends and offer the latest options to the students.
The original purpose behind introducing e-books to the library was to provide a backup reading system for students. Kleinknecht felt that if students were working on a book report or readings for the Battle of the Books, and they had forgotten their book at school, it would be beneficial for students to be able to borrow the e-book in order to continue their work.
However, until recently, these books had to be read on a desktop or laptop computer. Follett, the publishing company that provides the books, now has an app available so the books can be read on mobile devices such as iPads, Android-based tablets, and even smartphones. This is even appealing to students who have not forgotten a book, but prefer reading on electronic devices. Kleinknecht, who has been at HBW since 2007, says she’s always looking for “any way to motivate kids to read,” and feels that with more digital books available through the use of apps, she can “bring reading into their world.”
The challenges of the system are similar to any other e-book environment. Publishers choose which printed books to make available as e-books, and from there, which ones will be available for library lending. Currently, there are 70 e-book titles available for lending through HBW, and depending on response from students more could be added. Each book has to be purchased, just as if it were being bought in print, so there would be additional expense to expand the library’s inventory of e-books.
For those students who are new to the e-book library, acclimation is fairly straight forward. Just like printed books, the lending period is two weeks. At the end of two weeks, the book disappears from the user’s device and becomes available for the next reader (an e-book can be checked out by only one student at a time). Other advantages of the e-book format is that it allows for highlighting, searching, and determining how the pages should be displayed for reading. The greatest benefit may be that students don’t have to remember to return their books.
The e-book library can be accessed through this page on the Verona schools website. Students in sixth through eighth grades should enter their name in this format: last name-first three letters of first name (ie: smith-joh) and the password is the first initial of the student’s last name and their six digit number (ie: S123456).
Ms. Kleinknecht is available to answer any questions from either parents or students and can be reached via email.