The North Bend Eagle


NBC offering electronic library

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/5/12

There is a new library in town. And it only costs a fraction of what the last one built here did.

NBC e-readerNBC eighth grader Aaliyah Scott was one of the first to check out an e-reader from the school library.

But of course, it has no building or paper books. It’s the big library in the sky - where students can get books 24/7 without having to go to the physical library at school. The e-library at the North Bend schools is similar to the e-library Overdrive that the public library offers.

The new library at the schools is newly up and running. Media specialist Chris Gross-Rhode wants parents to be aware of the new e-library in case they are thinking of buying their student an electronic device for Christmas.

“Not every (device) will work with our e-library,” Gross-Rhode said. “Some (e-readers) may only be able to (use) books from specific stores.”

Gross-Rhode encourages gift-givers to know for what use the student wants the electronic device, whether it be a phone, iPad, or similar device.

“Do they want it just for reading or also for internet access, taking pictures or to use apps?” Gross Rhode said.

She recommends a web site, to compare different devices and their capabilities and cost. Anywhere from $90 on up can be spent on such devices.

If a new electronic device is not in the budget, the high school library has four e-readers that students can check out. They were purchased with funds from the Kay Eveland Memorial by way of the North Bend Central Foundation. Students and parents have to sign a responsibility form for use and care of the device before being able to check it out for a two-week period.

“I purchased a two-year product protection plan in case of damage to the device,” Gross-Rhode said. “Only if the device is lost or stolen, will the student/parent be responsible for its replacement. The current devices are valued at $90.”

Gross-Rhode thinks e-readers are a thing of the future. They make it easy for books to be checked out even if someone is stranded at home. Libraries no longer have to deal with lost or overdue books. Books can be read on multiple devices by just logging in. Once a book is downloaded to a device by way of WiFi or internet, the reader no longer needs the internet connection to read the book.

Gross-Rhode is excited about the possibilities of the e-library. To get this at the schools, NBCPS joined together with 11 other schools to buy this library, working with Diane Wolfe at the Educational Service Unit in Fremont. This multi-school consortium library is the first of its kind in Nebraska. Librarians spent time researching several book companies. One thing considered was ADA (American with Disabilities Act) capabilities and the text-to-speech option for students who need this help with their reading skills. This is just one of the advantages to the versatile e-library. Another one Gross-Rhode said is that others will not know what level of book they are reading.

“If a 12th grader reads at a fifth grade level they can read with an e-reader without everyone knowing. At least they are reading. No one is going to get better at reading unless they read.”

There are three libraries in the NBC e-library - elementary, middle school and high school. The elementary can only check out at their level library, but students logged in the high school and middle school libraries can check out e-books from the other level of libraries.

Eighth grader Aaliyah Scott was one of the first to check out an e-reader. She prefers the e-reader to a hard copy of the book.

“I think e-readers are the best thing ever,” Aaliyah said. “You can go on the internet, check your e-mail, and of course read books. I also you the calculator for some math.”

Justin Mensik, a eighth grader at NBC, has his own iPad and has signed up for the NBC e-library.

“I use it a lot in TAP to read books,” Justin said. “Sometimes I have trouble getting the book I want because e-books are the same as real books, there’s only one or two copies! So the same book has like five schools that can read it.”

The books can be down loaded directly on iPod, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Fire HD, any cell phone or tablet that runs on Android 4.0 or later. There are others that can be used, but a computer is needed to download the book. There are more to come, Gross-Rhode said.

“The e-book industry is going through the same growing pains that the microcomputer industry, the music industry (with iTunes), went though in the past,” Gross-Rhode said. “We have found that not all publishing companies are making their books available to e-libraries.”

Gross-Rhode was excited that within the first week three of the four e-readers were checked out.

“They are on a trial basis,” she said. “I’ll wait a year to see how it goes, if they are taken care of. The question is if I need to get a different kind.”

Students in grades seven to 10 seem to be jumping on board faster Gross-Rhode said. She has 16 kids in the elementary school who have signed up for the e-library, but have to use their own electronic devices. The students have to: 1. contact Gross-Rhode to register for the; 2. download the app to their reading device; and 3. register with the ESU library of their choosing.

“While I don’t see the printed book going away any time soon, e-books are the way of the future,” Gross-Rhode said. “I think it is important for schools and libraries to give our students the opportunity to explore and learn to use them.”

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