LitPick is a site I only found about recently, and it is one I really like the look of. Although the site is based in the US, it is just as relevant to your keen readers in the UK, or any other country where students are happy to read books in English. I contacted the people who run the site, just to check that there were no hidden costs, and was reassured that it was completely free to use. Students can join to review books, which are then sent to them as eBooks if they live outside of the United States. Once a student submits a review, it is evaluated by one of their adult underwriters. Feedback on the writing is given, and once the review is approved, the student is able to choose the next title. Students can sign up to Litpick here. Students can earn points and badges for good reviews as well as the feedback, which is invaluable. If you wish to sign up a group of students instead and have an overview on what they write, that is also possible here. I have spent a little while looking at this and thinking about it, and can see no downside. Pupils get to read new books, and they are theirs to keep. Have a look – we all have keen readers who would love to be the first to get their hands on a book! And, just to make clear, as with everything I post, I do not get any financial reward for posting this. Enjoy!
Librarian Chigozie Nri from the East London Science School, wanted to make browsing eBooks more of a physical experience. She felt that the students missed out on the ability to browse through eBooks the way they could through physical books. All of her students have tablets with an embedded NFC reader- a form of wireless technology which allows the transfer of data between enabled devices. So Chigozie bought some NFC tags and embedded them in laminated book covers (see pictures). This way the students can tap their tablets on the covers and find out more about the books. They can also automatically download their books to the tablet – a fantastic idea! At the moment she can only use public domain books like those on Project Gutenberg, but the project has been a great success so far. It is a great innovative idea, and shows the way that school librarians are always looking for ways to promote books and reading, whatever the format. Fantastic idea Chigozie!
There have been a few questions recently both on this page and on the SLN Network about using Kindles in schools. Initially Kindles seem to offer many possibilities, with up to 6 Kindles sharing one account, and many schools invested in them; recently Amazon have clarified their position. Amazon states that Kindles are for personal use only; and it is breaking the terms of your agreement to lend the Kindles and the books out. For very clear statement of what the current position is, see the JISC Legal Team statement and the School Library Association statement (for members, log in and look for e-resources). If you have already bought Kindles then you are in a difficult position. If you haven’t, then consider buying Kobo’s or other ereaders which are not tied to specific accounts (Nook is tied to Barnes and Noble). Until Amazon change their position, then using Kindles in schools may put you in a difficult position (UK). Please don’t contact me with any legal questions as I am not a lawyer; please contact JISC, Amazon or the SLA. This update does not constitute legal advice; if your school has concerns then it needs to contact a lawyer directly.
I heard about this amazing project a few weeks ago, and instantly contacted the Librarian, Adam Lancaster, to ask him to write this project up for Heart. It is just the sort of innovative stuff that connected school librarians are exploring. Alongside the App Club, Adam runs a New Technologies intervention as well, connecting students with new technologies in order to create reading strategies. Follow the links to read about both of these projects in more detail, and if you want to know more, you can contact Adam on this address: firstname.lastname@example.org