Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teens eRead

I recently read an article in Young Adult Library Services, called Now Is the Time E-books, Teens and Libraries by Linda Braun. The article gave me a few things to think about. The author discusses how to promote ebook collections to teens, and emphasizes social media sites such as facebook. Some libraries are not just promoting books, but are having book discussion groups via facebook and other web sites. I started thinking about the positives and negatives of having these discussions online.

~ One obvious positive effect is that if teens are having book discussions online, they are reading. They are sharing ideas, recommending books to their friends and encouraging others to read. Definite, big time plus.
~ Braun states that giving teens the, "ability to discuss with others something in a book at the time an idea strikes, not two weeks later, helps guarantee that a teen is able to articulate thoughts about a book successfully." Also, if a reader posts their thoughts on a book, it is likely that another reader will read the comment and respond to it within a few hours, giving almost instant gratification.
~ Librarians who are part of the discussion will be able to see what teens are writing and what interests them. That way, the librarian can be sure to add books they know teen readers will like to the collection.

~There are a few cons to having online discussions, one of which is that it eliminates the need for teens to actually interact with their peers. Instead of talking face to face, all of the communicating is done online. I don't remember if I read this somewhere or if someone simply made the observation to me, but some person said they noticed that many middle and high schoolers text their friends all the time, but when they actually get together to hang out, they look awkward and don't know what to do. They are used to communicating with their friends but not talking to them.
~This is a major "what if," but what if teens come to rely completely on ebooks? They may check the library web site for a book and see they do not have the ebook but that it is available in physical book format, but decide not to read it because that would require turning pages. Will teens, and readers in general, forget about physical books?

Just a few thoughts I had.

Also in the article was a mention about Glogs. I had no idea what a glog is, so I looked it up. Turns out it's a type of online poster-ish thing. This web site may explain it more clearly. I thought it was a pretty cool marketing tool, as it can be used for educational and personal use, depending on which web site you sign up on. There were also some minor things about ebook collection development (minor meaning it took up a large part of the article), but I'll save that for another day.

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