Tag Archives: ebooks

From an email conversation about public domain books, BYOD and more

Ongoing conversations in email with several librarians, admin…. One email mentioned a speaker who emphasized the need to make sure a teacher’s knowledge base doesn’t limit a child’s futures….Also, the suggestion comes up that we need to offer more public domain titles (nothing wrong with that, we’re lucky to have public domain titles!) but it’s complicated when you’re talking about young readers, hence my reply. PS Donate to the Internet Archive, they’re saving some real treasures!


Jack and the Giant Killer, courtesy Internet Archive

Public domain offers very little to most K-5 readers. In elementary, we all have a few fans of old and classic (and old and not classic), but for the most part, the public domain titles come from the era before books for young readers exploded in availability, diversity and popularity….

Here is where I get most of mine, to recommend to students, because the Internet Archive has some of the better illustration and format choices:
Hey, elementary librarians, notice the top 5 recent downloads and ask yourself how your fairy tales and Wizard of Oz titles are circulating compared to titles published in the last 5 years?
I love the Wizard of Oz series and enjoy a lot of the books in public domain, but when it comes to free choice reading and the interests of the MAJORITY of K-5 readers, classics and old titles will never be more than a small (if not tiny) part of our collections.

In secondary, any amount of choice will end up looking good, since many teachers’ ideas of  canonical lit titles is limited. That’s probably more true in HS – but please, sec lib’s, chime in! If you’re seeing the English teachers offer more choice in reading, I’d love to hear : )

As for what the speaker you heard said (…re not wanting his child’s learning to be limited to what the teacher already knows…), if my child’s teachers are reading widely and especially in current professional literature, they know a LOT! And have an eye on what’s changing, where the reader’s and publisher’s activities are headed… keyword IF. The more we as librarians can help teachers with information on many fronts, the better. The speaker you heard clearly has a stereotypical view of teachers, and his notion of someone whose knowledge base is frozen in the past insults the kind of teachers and librarians I admire.

The “which device” talk is rapidly going away, since so many offerings are aimed at every possible platform, but the need is to give our students lots of chances to read on a variety of devices and learn the key skills:
Finding what appeals to them,
Knowing where to look,
Evaluating informational text,
Maximizing their time and money…

So what hold us up from BYOD in K-5? Permission slips for parents? Getting clear with teachers about what it will look like? The equity issue? Or maybe I should say BYOD in gr 3 –5, since they’ve got more self-control and ability to keep up with their stuff? Anybody planning for BYOD this fall?