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Feb 03
eLibrary goes live

(Students at Georges Vanier elementary have been reading eBooks)

A new system of electronic book lending has been rolled out at schools across Surrey school district.

The eLibrary, which allows students to read books on their computers or tablets, is going district-wide after a trial at seven elementary and seven secondary schools. Students will have access to more than 1,100 fiction and non-fiction titles through the virtual library.

“It’s fun and cool,” says Khushi, a student at Georges Vanier, one of the schools in the eLibrary trial.

“There are all kinds of books,” she adds. “I forgot one of my home reading books at school so I went on here and I got my book.”

The flexibility to take a book out, even when a student is not physically in the school, is one advantage of the system. Another is that by making the books available on tablets, it makes reading attractive to students who may happily embrace new technology but don’t readily engage with traditional books.

“You don’t have to go to the library, you can just read online so it’s cool,” says Gavin, another George Vanier student. “It’s way easier.”

Students using the eLibrary can take out three books at any time over and above their regular library books. They don’t require a specialized device on which to read a book, but it cannot be simultaneously read on different devices. Books can be signed out for a 10-day period and automatically sign themselves back in unless the reader returns them.

Georges Vanier teacher-librarian Anna Crosland says eBooks will complement, not replace, traditional books and school libraries will still cater for students that prefer to curl up with a paper copy.

“It’s not the demise of libraries,” she says. “It’s a useful alternative and it fits in with the whole development from library to learning commons.”

Learning commons are a new type of library emerging in the school district to meet the needs of students in the 21st century. While books remain a key resource, the learning commons also embraces electronic technologies and revamps the physical environment in which the students work. Moveable seats and more open work areas promote collaboration and accommodate different learning styles.

In the learning commons, students can share their learning and projects online with a global audience so students are comfortable with digital technology and responsible users of social media. Teacher-librarians use the digital technology to work with classroom teachers, share resources and encourage students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers, as well as developing skills they can use in education throughout their lives.

(Two Georges Vanier students browse books available in the eLibrary)


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