On Thursday, October 13th Library Journal held its 2nd annual eBook Summit web conference. Paige Jaegar, the coordinator for School Library Services at Washington Saratoga Warren Hamilton Essex BOCES, not only attended this year’s conference, but she presented during it, as well. Paige was kind enough to answer a few of our questions pertaining to the conference itself:
OverDrive: Tell us about the eBook Summit conference.
Paige Jaegar: School Library Journal hosted an eConference on digital books, eBooks, and other virtual resources for our Transliterate students. We are working with students who are what CNN calls “digital omnivores.” They will consume whatever you place in front of them, and even the digital immigrants, such as myself, seem to have multiple devices and fit those characteristics, also.
We have migrated from a print consumer to a digital consumer MO. Therefore, SLJ found it imperative to heighten librarians’ awareness to this growing digital platform. I told the conference that I love print. In fact I love large print—but surprisingly, I love reading on my iPad and I was surprised how much I enjoy reading on an iPod touch. We are all immigrating to this digital community.
OverDrive: What was your role/presentation about?
PJ: I was asked to join an afternoon presentation with three other virtual colleagues from around America. The first, Kathy Parker, spotlighted her use of devices in school and the learners. The second guru, Wes Fryer, spoke on how to create an ePub. I wrapped up this afternoon school presentation by encouraging people to move the conversation from device to delivery. We need to be consciously preparing a digital banquet table for our digital omnivore students. This transliterate generation will feast on any electronic medium you place in front of them. Devices will come and go, change, evolve and morph. However, the content read upon a device will stay compatible much longer. Therefore we have chosen to build our digital virtual library through OverDrive to give our students a digital presence.
OverDrive has been great to work with and we opened a second digital library for elementary students this year. We have chosen to build two separate digital libraries for two different reading content areas. We view OverDrive predominately as a “reading” platform and are choosing to infuse high-interest fiction and non-fiction into the collections. However, our plans are to add non-fiction resources as they become available. Our usage is up more than 200% in the first six weeks of school. We believe we are reaching the tipping point where the library will see exponential usage growth.
OverDrive: Any other comments you’d like to state about the conference?
PJ: It was interesting to see a conference so well-attended by thousands of people across America and to realize that most people are on the same page. Librarians all across America are trying to position themselves virtually for the students of tomorrow, but often don’t have the monetary resources to do this. I would encourage librarians and school districts to place as much emphasis on building data to support the need for a digital download library. It is a shame that our school districts spend more money on football teams than they do on their library resources. A virtual library will benefit every student. A football expenditure will benefit a student body by adding festivities and school identity to the student body (both important elements to the school experience), but it might not build brains.
I would encourage librarians to aggregate data from Pew Internet Studies and other resources that will paint a picture of the growing imperative need to provide quality resources online to a generation of transliterate teens who enter the school with adaptable devices in their pockets. The Horizon Report tells us we have a three year incoming tide. That is ample opportunity to be equipped for this nation full of hyper-connected youth.
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