No E-Readers? Librarians Should Still Be Savvy

After reading some of my colleagues' responses to Travis Jonker's  SLJ article "Fine. I Got an Ereader. Now What?: A newbie to digital reading gets his first Kindle" and Doug Johnson's blogged response:  "Reactionary librarians aren't cute" I feel the need to confess: my school library does not own any e-readers yet. Buying e-books and e-readers is not absent from my list of things to do and I feel that e-readers and books are important.

It is incredibly important for school librarians to have a working knowlege of e-readers even if they do not make personal use of these devices and even if their library does not own any.  I personally own an iPad. I can show you how to use the Kindle app, use ibooks and I have purposely familiarized myself with other e-readers. In partnership with our State Library, I hosted a "Technology Petting Zoo" for my faculty. The "Petting Zoo" featured e-readers, iPads and cameras.

A few students proudly brought their new e-readers to school with them after winter break to ask me questions about their devices. Of course, their librarian would be able to help them with their new e-reader! A couple of my students were upset. "I got an e-reader for Christmas, but my family doesn't  have a credit card. How can I get books?" Another student got a Dell tablet, "How do I get books onto this thing?" she asked. Who else would a student ask? The librarian! We are now planning our first e-reader club. Students will bring their own devices and we will share tips and tricks with eachother. I regularly share free e-book titles with my students and faculty.

Budget and staffing challenges currently make purchasing e-readers and e-books something I am just getting ready to do. I am depending on the trailblazers to help me make the best choices in the near future. However, I know it would be a disservice to my students and faculty if I chose to remain uninformed about e-readers.