‘Unquiet Library’ lends e-reader devices to students (Updated)
March 25, 2012 | 8:12 pm
Update: I had not noticed until it was pointed out to me in the comments that the article I was reporting on was a year old. It was shown in Zite as a recent article (probably because of the “March” dateline without a year in the blog posting format). My eyes slid right over the “2011” in the subject line. I should have done more research, but I was in a hurry to post. I apologize for misreading the date.
In fact, there was a more recent article from July stating that, due to friction with Amazon’s education representatives, the Unquiet Library would not be using the Kindle any longer, and was moving to Barnes & Noble’s Nooks in the future. The Unquiet Library was using five Kindles per account, as consumer accounts are allowed to use up to six, but Amazon now requires libraries, including K12 and school libraries, to use a single Kindle per account.
At the time the article was written, Amazon didn’t offer any other content management systems other than a subscription to Overdrive—not financially feasible for school libraries. As stated in the comments below, the Unquiet Library is now using Nooks (though I couldn’t find any articles about how it is using them in searching the site).
I still stand by my comments in the last paragraph of my post. The article said:
7. Can you purchase ebooks for the Kindle from someone other than Amazon at this time?
In other words, as phrased, this says it is illegal to purchase e-books to read on the Kindle anywhere other than Amazon. It’s almost certainly the result of bad phrasing rather than any intention to mislead, but it’s still a completely inaccurate statement by an otherwise reputable librarian, and I couldn’t let that pass.
Original post: For the last four months, the library/media center at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia has been lending out ten Kindle e-readers to its students. Librarian Buffy Hamilton has posted a summary of the results to the library’s blog, The Unquiet Library.
With the exception of one student (who does not consider herself a reader), every student who has tried the devices has been very happy about the program. Students enjoyed the ability to customize the font size and page view of the Kindle, and the way the library would purchase books they wanted to read. They have been very good about returning the devices within their one-week checkout period, and as the library adds more devices it plans to extend the period to two weeks.
Cataloging the books has presented a problem, as the way their on-line card catalog and checkout system is set up means they cannot list the Kindle e-books in it. They purchase the devices and e-books through a corporate account, and have been using AMEX gift cards to buy the books themselves (but are looking at switching to using Amazon gift cards from their local CVS Pharmacy instead).
One thing that’s a little puzzling is that Hamilton seems to be under the impression that she can’t legally purchase e-books from other places than Amazon to load onto the Kindle. Of course if she assumes the only places to buy e-books are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other DRM-restricted stores, that’s correct, but Baen sells its e-books DRM-free and includes instructions on how to load them onto Kindles. Likewise, there are plenty of free public-domain e-book resources such as Project Gutenberg that make e-books available in a variety of DRM-free formats. I’d have thought an e-book-using librarian would have been better informed.