Henley HS has just joined Overdrive and rented some 300 books, not 16000! At an average $16 each, such a collection would cost a quarter of a million. Would that every principal would spend this on books, e- or otherwise, in a year!
Henley High School scraps books. The Australian 30 May 2012 by Natasha Bita.
Well, it is daft, as Mal Lee has said, but not as daft as getting rid of their teacher librarian first! And I have been told that “Henley’s literacy levels (reading, persuasive writing, spelling and grammar) have not gone through the roof but dropped this year.”
But, let’s look at the books vs laptops issue yet again. Yes, formats are changing. And isn’t it a good thing TLs are being trained in addressing all the complex issues of that change. Trained TLs with a deeper knowledge of resource selection and provision and use do not throw out entire paper collections. They know that paper will be around for some time yet, as we move to digital collections.
Trained TLs know how to get those reluctant readers hooked on books – not just on virtual worlds and social media. They know that boys love those shocking books, books about the weird and wonderful, the supersized and superheroes, the biggest, smelliest, fastest, most dangerous….so many great reads not yet in e-form. They know that kids must want to read, and to read a lot, in order to master reading enough to work online without the hyper-link hop and cut and paste.
If books were so passe, why did students and staff walk off with armloads at Henley?
If “no books” was such a good idea, why are so many books still in the top Anglican and Catholic and independent school libraries, along with e-books and along with a library staff which can reach 10 positions!
These trained TLs can deal with the problems of negotiating licenses, conditions of use, lack of actual ownership and circulation challenges of e-books. They can determine when the paper version is still the better value. When the paper version suits the learning styles of their students, or when subscription to a digital reference work is better than a paper version.
They know kids jump to texting and FB the minute they can; that they have difficulty concentrating on any sustained narrative, let alone a digital one. With Google-cut-and-paste alone, we are in danger of shallow knowledge, knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep.
Teachers and teacher librarians working together can overcome this danger by designing authentic, real-world based, problem solving learning experiences which require critical thinking and do not allow for cut-and-paste. Learning using all available formats, paper, digital, video, audio, kinesthetic, visual, interactive….
Do the parents of Henley HS and Varsity College (which isn’t throwing out ALL books) realize how disadvantaged their children will be? Parents at Cambridge HS, NZ, forced the government to reverse the decision to turn their library into a cyber cafe and the principal who made the decision was replaced. Windsor (Canada) Catholic schools reversed their no books/”learning commons” decision. Parents were outraged, as the parents at Henley and Varsity, and all educators and parents, should be.