Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Future Ready Librarians

I had the wonderful privilege of working with graduate students in library science this summer and one of the topics that really caught our attention is Future Ready Librarians. 

This initiative is part of the Future Ready Schools work which at least 2200 superintendents from 17 states (representing 16.3 million learners) have pledged to support.  That list includes local Winnetka D36.  Basically, the focus is on digital technology and transformative learning.

What is truly exciting for librarians is to see the advocacy tools for our profession – especially the Fact Sheet which is available at this link.  There also is a short video and some additional resources available here. An impressive set of thought partners, including real world practitioners like Mark Ray, Carolyn Foote and Joyce Valenza, contributed to this overview.

Take a moment and glance at these graphics… what do you notice?  
What do you see? Personalized Student Learning at the center?  The many, many facets of a school librarian’s role?  The opportunities for leverage and impact?  The focus on how we actively promote (builds, designs, empowers, leads, facilitates, etc.) student learning?  

I encouraged my graduate students to be proactive and initiate conversations on Future Ready Librarians with their administrators, particularly because these materials helpfully highlight the many ways in which school librarians are positioned as leaders in the digital transformation of student learning.  

Now, take a few moments and reflect on your own practices.  What are your strengths? Where do you want to grow this year so as to be more future ready?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

eBook Updates, pricing and trends

Based on an annual study from Follett and School Library Journal, we can see that the percent of school libraries offering eBooks has plateaued, although the size of the collections continues to grow:

Perhaps this is due to the disparity in pricing and availability, which while better than a few years ago, is still an issue for libraries.  Based on work pioneered at Douglas County Public Library, we looked at comparable prices for this year’s Abe Lincoln award nominees:

The above chart basically shows that a librarian could buy roughly 20 (21) hardcovers OR 40 paperbacks OR 18 ebooks for the same money ($320 to $325). That amount is roughly double the cost that an individual would spend on Amazon ($172) to buy the same eBooks or, again, roughly double the cost of buying one paperback copy ($161) of each title.  Prices are as of June 2016.  Perhaps we will see some movement in the future as more consolidations occur.  This past spring, Follett purchased Baker & Taylor and last year, OverDrive announced it was being acquired.

Do you have an interesting way to promote eBooks?  Let us know.  Interested in etextbooks use of digital content in schools? Check out this joint report from ASCD and OverDrive, published in April 2016.