If you have followed my previous posts, you are aware that I have delved into the world of eBooks in my middle school library this year with tenacity and enthusiasm. As with many other librarians who are paving the way into the digital book age, I have experienced insightful moments along this technological path.
Aha moments may come in the most unusual times and places such as my last aha moment. It was a typical library conversation with a fellow district librarian when I experienced my latest aha moment. I was sharing my summer reading plans with Naomi Bates, librarian extraordinaire, since she graciously volunteered to be on our summer reading committee. I thought she would be an excellent committee member since most of my 8th graders will be attending her high school next year. Our conversation included some interesting eBook statistical information that I diligently watch daily. I made the statement that on the previous day the majority of our eBooks were checked out by boys and the content was predominantly nonfiction. I also explained that I invited some boys to step into my office to discuss the phenomena. Obviously they were quite animated in explaining that reading eBooks on a device was "cool" and middle school boys wanted to be "cool". But as I described this scenario to Naomi we both realized at about the same time possibly another explanation. Secondary boys want to be seen as "cool" and carrying a library book around might not appear "cool". With device in hand who would ever know they were reading about ancient civilizations, the latest wars, or parts of a cell? Many of us struggle with motivating boys to read but I think I found another venue for some of our reluctant male readers. My afterthought is that boys want to read and learn but being seen with a book is not "cool". With eBooks and a device, their reading choice would be completely private. I cannot prove this theory but I'm willing to investigate the possibilities that eBooks might be motivational for some reluctant readers.
Next year our school district will present students with their 2nd 1:1 device. We are moving from a NetBook to a newer device and with this transition I feel that our students will be reading more digital content. With the increased eBook demand, I will need to reevaluate our selection and acquisition process.