Less Jargon, More Practice: Successful eBook Instruction



ipad-1721500_640Wyoming residents have great e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines available through GoWYLD.net. With Christmas upcoming, many library patrons will soon have new smartphones, tablets, and e-readers in their hands — perfect for downloading and reading this content. Thinking about a program to help your patrons access these materials? Here are some tips from the Programming Librarian blog. (Reposted with permission.)

By Rebecca Starr, Information Services Librarian
Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Md.

e-books are fun, convenient and … intimidating. Since publishers have become more accepting of making their e-books available to libraries, the number of delivery platforms available at each library system has exploded. Each distributor has their own apps and tricks for use, sometimes making them difficult for our patrons to navigate.

Questions people may have about e-books
My library system offers four different e-book and e-magazine platforms. Last month, I took on the challenge of developing and teaching a class about downloading and enjoying e-books from our library.

If you work on the public-facing side of the library, consider the questions you answer most frequently when it comes to e-books. For me, the most frequently asked questions are:

  • How do I download e-books through the library?
  • How can I return a book once I’m finished?
  • I downloaded the book from the catalog. How do I access it?

kindle-381242_640Planning the class
Considering these questions helped me determine the goals for my class. I hoped to introduce the class to the types of e-books we have available and practice downloading a book.

I chose not to focus on cramming a lot of information into a two-hour session. If the only thing patrons left with was knowing they could download an e-book, I felt the class was a success.

Benefits
One bonus to teaching this class was that it encouraged people to sign up for library cards. A library card wasn’t needed to take the class, but after they saw our different resources, three people opted to sign up. In case you need to make the case to your library’s stakeholders before holding this class, be sure to include this unexpected bonus. New library card accounts are always a great thing.

Another bonus was that this class gave patrons space to ask about our other digital resources. Many attendees weren’t aware that you could read magazines and research your family history. Embrace these topic changes. Now is your chance to show interested patrons about the resources your library has to offer.

Room for improvement
One area for improvement is surrounding the words we use to describe e- books. Patrons are understandably confused by e-book jargon. I still don’t know how to best explain “Adobe ePUB” to patrons. My goal for the next class is to touch upon some of these terms.

Have you taught a class about your library’s digital resources? Share your experiences in the comments!

Adapted and reposted with permission from the Programming Librarian blog.

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