The importance of eResources at Scotch cannot be overstated, as migration to online information services is critical to the strategic direction and therefore effectiveness of all libraries. eResources at Scotch are the tools the library provides to support the educational programs in a more generic sense. They are not necessarily linked directly to the academic programs but are those services we engage to meet the needs of the community. Below are some of those resources we have and an explanation of how they are used day-to-day at Scotch.
Our eBook resources are provided by Overdrive (see suppliers for details) with this service comprised largely of fiction books for all libraries. This service is unique in the way that it is a joint subscription for both Scotch and PLC with approximately 1805 titles available to both communities.
There has been a lot of discussion relating to eBooks, their application/usage and whether they are a preferred medium for reading. From our statistics at Scotch we know that the boys access these titles when directed but increasingly, we see these titles being accessed without prompting or even promoting the service. This has taken a considerable effort on the part of teacher librarians to show, train and develop the collection to make it appealing to the students.
Following the increased uptake of eBooks, we have begun—in parallel—to increase the number of fiction audiobooks within our collection. The intent of the audiobooks was initially to engage some of the reluctant readers by demonstrating that book content can be interesting and engaging when the mode of delivery suits the student. This has resulted in significant borrowing from this collection. This use of audiobooks is, at its core, the standard fiction borrowing with no non-fiction audiobooks currently within the collection.
As part of this process, we have a limited number of iPods that can be loaded with individual licensed novels and texts the students are studying. This facility aims to engage those students with specific learning needs and is only made available in consultation with academic support.
We have seen a significant number of boys requesting the use of the iPods. When looking at this in terms of trends, a contributing factor may be that many of them are already regular users of these or similar devices, making such use a extension of something familiar. Even within this though, the challenge is to get students listening to the right narrator at the right time. They may have previous exposure to audiobooks through a text to voice conversion—always inferior to a human narrator—and some reluctance may need to be overcome in this area due to pre-conceived notions of the experience.
The provision of databases is proving increasingly valuable as they form the foundation of academic content, beyond the world wide web, that link the library services to the curriculum areas. These databases are accessed and visible from each of the library home pages and teacher librarians filter content when helping students and teachers, by employing direct links within research guides.
As we are reviewing the usage of our non-fiction we have been mapping—with greater clarity—the need to provide access to subject specific databases in support of academic programs. We review the number of students enrolled in particular subjects, map this to existing resources and as a result are able to tailor subscribed content to give each boy the highest quality research tools.
Increasingly in this space, databases can be individually searched from the research guides page without multiple clicks into other areas. The link below demonstrates the use of code to ensure that this process is easy and has an emphasis on user experience.
As part of our normal process of obtaining high quality resources we have often sought the purchase of single edition or single copies of articles. This has meant that many specific topics of study can be resourced in an economical way. Where possible, we purchase a license that allows for multiple copies to be read simultaneously and these are cataloged and placed within guides, accessed via authenticated login.