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.
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