Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The 21st Century Library

In the age of the Kindle and the e-book, is the library about to become a relic of the past?

As far as Willows librarian Cathy Leverkus is concerned, the answer is a resounding “No!”

“There will always be a place for traditional books,” says Cathy. “Digital books are wonderful, but they can’t always match the tactile experience of holding a beautifully illustrated book in your hand and turning the pages.
“You can’t underestimate the wonderful things that happen when you flip through a book and just happen across something that captures your imagination or causes you to think about something in a completely new way.”

Keeping Pace with Technology
That said, The Willows’ library is keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change. In addition to the thousands of printed volumes on its shelves, the library offers audio and video to students, as well as access to numerous online databases and encyclopedias. The library is also purchasing e-books and researching which e-reader would be best for library use.

1-1 Laptop Resources
When the Middle School established the 1-1 laptop program in the fall of 2008, the library’s digital resources became even more vital. “Middle school students are using their laptops for everything,” notes Cathy. “It’s more important than ever that we equip them with tools to use online resources wisely.”

Hi-Tech Reading
Hi-tech has infiltrated the library on a smaller scale, too—one of the latest “hot items” on the Willows library shelves has been the PlayAway, an audio player that looks like an iPod but that plays a single audiobook. “They’re flying off the shelves,” Cathy says. “I’m so glad – it’s just one more way to get kids excited about reading.”

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