Electronic Books

Public Library Pilot Extends Free E-Book Access to High Schools

A new pilot program is putting electronic books in the hands of high school teachers and students free of charge through local public libraries.

Through the program, public libraries that subscribe to the ebrary digital content service will gain access to thousands of digital books and will be able to offer access to the complete selection to local public high schools. The collection includes content from a wide range of publishers and spans topics for education, general audiences, trade, and specialty markets. These include school books and study guides in literature and language; science; education; and history, political science, psychology, religion, and other social sciences. The collection also includes fiction and poetry, as well as technical books covering a wide range of topics. There's a total of about 20,000 full texts in the collection.

The ebrary system is a hosted digital repository platform that provides a suite of tools for content management and presentation, including contextual linking to online resources, various search and navigation options, personal bookshelves for storing links, automatic citations, highlighting, annotation, text to speech capabilities, and a variety of viewing options.

In addition to the actual texts and the free access for high schools, the pilot program includes multiple user access (with no checkouts); Web-based training; support for integrating third-party content; reporting tools; and a variety of utilities designed to aid research.

"Today's public libraries play a more important role than ever before, especially in light of the current economy," said Christopher Warnock, CEO of ebrary, in a statement released this week. "In many cases, public libraries are an important resource for local schools, which have been hit hard in terms of materials budgets. They also serve as career counselor, helping unemployed patrons find work and others build their careers. Furthermore, public libraries are often the only place where patrons who do not own computers can gain access to government forms and other critical information. With this program, we aim to give public libraries a helping hand to address these and other community needs."

A preview of the electronic book selection is available here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .