Wednesday, November 17, 2010

E-Books in our catalog and print books on our shelves

We have begun collecting e-books that can be accessed by students without leaving the computer. We also still have print books for those students who prefer to come into the library to work with a more familiar format.
Yesterday I attended a panel discussion on the future of libraries at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury. Presented by the Greater Boston Cooperative Library Association, panelists presented their visions of how expected changes in the world will transform both library spaces and offerings. While a few libraries have decided to purchase more electronic books and fewer paper books, the panelists stressed that the future library will contain books in various formats. One panelist noted that some students refuse to use Kindles when offered, preferring to wait for the paper book to return. Multiple learning styles will require us to cater to information in all its formats. One recurring theme in the presentation was that electronic sources are not yet as structured as print sources, making information more difficult to locate and less comprehensible. The ability to locate information in context, as part of a coherent and in-depth study was mentioned as a strength of paper formats. Library as space was also discussed with panelists assuring us that the library will continue to exist as a meeting, research and study space even as virtual spaces are created to house electronic materials.

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