School Section Report

Submitted by Shannon Babcock
Wildly Successful!
Personal stories, digital policies and animated discussion were the order of the evening at the school library section E-book event. Participants were eager to share and discuss experiences using and purchasing e-books and multiple platforms in schools. There was an encouraging turnout, with representatives from public as well as CEGEP libraries. This evening addressing e-books and digital formats in a school context was held on April 20th, 2012 in the Centennial Academy library.
To start the evening, Shannon Wallace, (ABQLA school section vice-president), created and shared an extensive document outlining available and forthcoming e-book resources from a variety of sources, ranging from free to subscription services. She also gave suggestions and recommendations on the relevance of the content of these services to school and student contexts. Kudos to Shannon for compiling such a valuable reference document! As the evening continued, a panel consisting of Joan Fraser Burton (New Frontiers School Board), Maria Varvarikos (Lower Canada College) and Kathy Conroy (Lester B Pearson School Board), (with moderation by Shannon Babcock) gave diverse perspectives and recommendations that sparked a great deal of conversation. Usage of e-books varies from community to community: while some limit digital books for teacher use, others use digital resources to engage and give incentives to reluctant readers. Some see the format as so many bells and whistles; others see the format as an opportunity to address the differing reading needs of diverse young people. Questions of responsibility, and policies surrounding use, gave way to a passionate discussion of digital citizenship and the role of librarians in education. The hour and a half anticipated for the topic stretched to almost three hours! Interest was high, with no conversational lull whatsoever! This promises to continue to be a hot topic as content increases.