Monday, February 27, 2012

What I Learned & Sources

Developing a Final Product- What I Learned
            The first, and most important, consideration when choosing which e-reader is the best fit for a school library media center is what purpose(s) the e-reader will play.  Each e-reader has qualities that make it good or bad for any situation so it is important that the librarian understand exactly what she will be expecting of the e-reader.  Once the purpose of the e-reader in the library media center is determined, the librarian can proceed to researching the various e-readers and deciding which is the best fit.
            Perhaps on of the most important questions the librarian will need to ask is whether the e-reader will be solely for reading or if it will perform other functions as well.  Most of the basic Nook, Kindle and Sony e-readers are intended just for reading books and have the e-ink screen that is easier on the eyes thant the color LCD screens.  If the librarian plans on purchasing more than one devise, the Nook is probably the more practical choice.  The Kindle only allows books to be downloaded onto one device while Nooks can be grouped so that a book can be downloaded onto six devices.  Since Nook is a part of Barnes and Noble, the librarian will also have access to support from an actual store and its employees where Kindle cannot offer that.
If, on the other hand, the librarian is interested in a more versatile device, a tablet may be the answer.  The iPad is probably the tablet with the most flexibility.  It has a wide variety of classroom functions that can be applied to a library setting and also allows for free Kindle and Nook apps that make it useful as an e-reader as well.  It offers textbooks that come with videos and interactive features that make classroom learning more hands-on.  For a library that may not have a computer for every student, an iPad can be useful for doing research, emailing, creating documents and presentations as well as finding books.
Another important thing to consider is whether or not the librarian will be interested in taking advantage of e-book lending libraries.  Nook is compatible with many more file formats than Kindle is so it allows for lending.  Kindle devices are compatible only with lending libraries that offer Kindle specific files, so they are much more limited.  If the librarian is going to be loaning the e-readers themselves out to students, the battery life is going to be a fairly important consideration unless she is also willing to send the charger with the student.  All the basic e-readers have very long battery lives, plenty for a two-week checkout period.  The tablets tend to need charging more frequently.
Again, the most important consideration in choosing an e-reader is purpose.  Every librarian is going to have different priorities so it is impossible to come up with one definitive answer as the best e-reader.  Each librarian needs to determine for him/herself what are the most important features and decide from there what e-reader is the best fit for their library.

 (2012) Apple in education. Apple Inc. Retrieved from

Barack, L. (2010, May 1 ). Is the iPad fit for school?. School Library Journal. Retrieved

Barack, L. (2011).  The Kindles are coming: eReaders and tablets are springing
            up in schools- and librarians are leading the way. School Library Journal,
Retrieved from

Casida, F. (2011, April 24). Nook vs. Kindle: some new thoughts. Retrieved

Falcone, J.P. (2011.) Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you
buy?. Retrieved from

(2011). Kindle Touch vs Nook Touch vs Kobo Touch eReader Comparison.

            Retrieved from

 Marlowe, S. (2009). eBook file formats. Scott Marlowe: Fantasy Author and Blogger.

(2011.) "SchoolLibJournal's Channel - YouTube." YouTube. School Library Journal,
Web. 28 Jan. 2012. <>.

Sprague, W. (2012, January 25). Personal Communication.

Final Reflections

A family friend died of cancer a couple weeks ago and then I caught a nasty flu bug so I have not been keeping up with this blog as I should.  On a more positive note, here are my reflections on the research process:

How should school library media specialists determine which e-reader is the best fit for their library media center?

Selecting a Topic-
Since e-readers are becoming so popular, I was interested in looking at them for my inquiry project.  At first, I assumed that I would simply do some research to compare the pros and cons of various e-readers.  From there, I would determine which was the best for a school library setting and then I would be done.  Of course nothing is ever that easy, and this project was no exception.  I quickly realized that I could compare memory space, screen type, size, etc. for months but that would not bet me anywhere.  All of that information would be useful eventually, but I needed more direction first.
Luckily for me, my mother is a school library media specialist and had recently added five Nook Simple Touch readers to her collection.  I sat down with her and we had a discussion about how she chose which type of device to buy for her library.  It was this discussion that got me thinking about the purpose of e-readers and I started doing some research with that in mind.  I was then that I found a great blog on that very topic which really helped me to cement my topic choice. 
Finding Information

            More and more questions came up as I started to do my research.  Some of the things that came up during research process are:
·      Does the librarian want the e-readers to be for more than just reading? (magazines, internet, email, Facebook, etc)
·      Are the e-readers solely for reading?
·      How many will the LMS purchase? Will each student have one or will there be only a few on loan to students?
·      Will the LMS buy books for pleasure reading or required books for class?
·      Does the LMS want the e-reader to be compatible with Overdrive and other e-book lending libraries?
This was the first time I had ever used the bookmarking site Delicious for researching and I found it to be very useful.  Before too long, I was faced with a similar problem as when I was selecting a topic.  I had a wealth of information at my fingertips and I needed to determine what would be the most useful and relevant.

Using Information
            At this point, I decided to take a hands-on look at how a couple of different devices are being put to use in a real school library.  Shortly after my last post I was able to get my hands on both a Nook and an iPad to play with and compare the two.  The Nooks have been VERY popular among the students with a long waiting list so I was lucky I happened to be working in the school when a student returned one.  As for the iPads, they are not being used as e-readers very much but did have the free Kindle app so I was able to download a free book and compare the app with the Nooks.   According to the librarian, she is only just starting to use the iPads in a research project she does with her 6th grade Library Skills classes.  Since there is not enough iPads for every student they are not being used for textbooks, although that is something the school is looking into for the future.
            After talking to the library media specialist and some of her students, I realized that (at least for the purposed of that library) the Nook Simple Touch really is the best choice.   In a different library, where e-readers are being used with a slightly different purpose, this might not be the case and another e-reader would be more appropriate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tablet vs. eReader

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the merits of purchasing tablets as opposed to e-readers.  Many of tablets such as the iPad or the Kindle Fire seem to offer everything that the basic e-readers do and more.  The iPad has apps available for both Kindle and Nook books and can be an amazing classroom resource.  After looking at the Apple website, I am excited about all the different things available on the iPad.

As I said before though, a lot is dependent upon what purpose the e-reader will be serving in the library.  Some people do not enjoy using the tablets for reading and would much prefer a reader with the e-ink screen.

Fortunately, the school I work for has a lot of iPads as well as five Nooks so I can check them out firsthand.  I have been trying to find the time to sit down with both devices to compare them.  If only the students didn't always have the Nooks checked out... (not really! I think it's great that they are so popular!)