Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interview(s): Youth Librarians and E-Books

For my project, I am interested in how e-books are used and integrated into public libraries, and especially with youth. I wanted to get a variety of opinions and experiences so I created a brief survey and connected with over a dozen librarians in the South Central Library System. I have several responses that I've compiled into some bullet points and am still waiting on responses from others to incorporate into my final project. Here are some of my main takeaways:
  • Most patrons questions about e-books are, in fact, about how to use their e-readers and Overdrive. Patrons are typically not looking for advice on what to read next, but instead on how to download and access the material.
  • Formal training is typically presented for adults by adults. A good time for these trainings is right after Christmas, when many patrons receive tablets and e-readers as gifts. 
  • Largest audience for e-books are typically adults and teens, but gaining more popularity with 'tweens.
  • E-books are rarely incorporated into programming in youth services. Middleton Public Library does offer a Books and Brownies program, where children can check out e-readers with pre-loaded books and then discuss the material in a group setting.
  • Picture e-books are awful (widespread opinion). However, there are some more interactive app-based books for children that are gaining popularity. 
  • Many adults/parents engage in "pass back" activity- "here's the game, go ahead and play"- instead of interacting with the child and technology together. 
  • There was a general positive attitude toward e-books, as a great technology for travel and personal use. These may be difficult to incorporate into programming for group sharing, and better for one-on-one discussion. 
 I am looking forward to getting more responses from librarians around the state. The librarian from Sun Prairie Public Library also included a presentation from a conference she attended recently, on using interactive apps in storytimes,  and several handouts on e-lit.

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