E-readers in the library Pros and Cons By Karen Gilmore INST 6031 ~ Dr. Kathryn Ley
The Rise and Popularity of E-readers There is no doubt that the evolution of mobile devices intended to expand and enhance reading practices has rapidly multiplied in the past few years. Many libraries, both at the school level and in the realm of public libraries, are determining if they should offer access to these services to their patrons.
E-readers in the library There are several reasons for libraries to offer their services through e-reader devices. E-readers are becoming a very popular method of accessing literature, both current and classic. One role of a library is to offer a wide variety of literature to its patrons. Using e-readers is one way to offer library services.
Pros Readers are able to download several books onto one device, which replaces the necessity to manage a variety of books The interest in learning about all of the possibilities e-readers have can entice reluctant readers to try out the device
Pros English-language learners can hear the words spoken in their native language Students with learning disabilities can benefit from the use of e-readers. For example, those requiring a color overlay can change the settings on the e-reader for their benefit
Pros All of the Texas Bluebonnet Book nominees could be downloaded onto one device, allowing students to participate in the state’s reading program without having to wait for the books to become available from the library Utilizing e-reader capabilities will eliminate the use of natural resources (trees) needed to produce books
Pros Teachers could download a certain title (such as Great Expectations) onto several devices for a classroom book study The small amount of space that e-readers take up become a big advantage for travelers, replacing the need to carry several books with them. Libraries can download books, for free, onto the e-readers of library patrons for a certain timeframe (typically two weeks)
Cons There are, however, reasons to argue against supporting e-readers through a library’s services, the most obvious one being the expense that is required to purchase them. Most libraries, both public and school-based, do not have a surplus of funds that would be needed to meet this user need.
Cons Policies would need to be well-established to address these and other potential issues: Keeping the e-readers charged (whose responsibility would it be to replace batteries?) Breakage of the device How to handle the loss of the device
My Personal Feelings My opinion is that as wonderful and handy as e-readers are, I do not feel they are the right tool for emergent readers. I believe that young children need to learn how to hold a book, turn the pages correctly, and understand what happens if they do not care for a book properly. I can see a benefit of having e-readers available for older students, but not students at the elementary level.