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EBooks and 21st Century Learning

By Deborah McKenzie - Posted Jan 1, 2009
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School libraries are filled with traditional paper books—great resources for the students who take the time to go into the library, locate the book on the shelf, leaf through it to see if it has potential to provide the information they need, and then check it out to spend serious time with it.

But put that way, it sounds like a lot of work to access a library book, doesn’t it? Maybe more than most of today’s fast-moving, digitally savvy kids are willing to do.

The library’s resources also offer teachers an abundance of options to enhance daily classroom lessons. Yet with all that teachers are expected to do each day just to present the core curriculum, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spend any amount of time in the library looking for additional resources.

Enter ebooks into the equation, and you’ll discover an entirely different result. When electronic versions of books in the library are made available to students and teachers via the internet, an array of new teaching and learning possibilities unfolds.

The potential of ebooks in schools can be forecast by the sheer popularity of ebooks in society in general. Over the last 5 years, ebooks are the only book publishing segment consistently showing double-digit sales increases. The Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) 2007 "S1 Report" reveals that sales of ebooks have enjoyed a compounded growth rate of 55.7% since 2002. And there’s no sign of a slowdown. AAP statistics show that the sales of ebooks are continuing to grow at a staggering rate—up by 77.8% for the month of September 2008 ($5.1 million), reflecting an increase of 55.2 percent for the year.

Why should librarians and other educators jump on this bandwagon? Twenty-first-century school libraries really need to do more than inventory information for students. They need to provide the tools and resources students need to develop technology and information literacy.

Ebooks move school libraries into the 21st century for a few very simple reasons:


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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