Digital Books: Don’t Knock ‘Em Until You Try ‘Em!
While you all know SMA as a laptop campus, did you know that our library offers fiction and non-fiction books students can read on their laptops, phones, and even Kindles? Well, they do! For several years, SMA Learning Resource Center (formerly and affectionately called the library) has partnered with Overdrive, one of the nation’s leading distributors of digital books. Overdrive is the only service that offers digital formats that can be read on any reader, including amazon kindles! I know what you may be thinking, “Nothing replaces the turn of a page or the smell of a new paperback”, and I get that. But I say, “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!” I have always loved a good book, but there is beauty in the digital book too. Here are the top 5 reason I love Overdrive digital books:
1) The books are accessible 24/7. I can read on my phone while I am waiting in line at the grocery or sitting in a room waiting for an appointment.
2) I can synch my phone with my laptop, so I can read on multiple devices without missing a beat.
3) There are never any late fees. When my two weeks are up, the book disappears from my device. If I didn’t’ get a chance to finish, it’s not a problem. I just go back and get it.
4) It saves space. As a librarian married to an English professor, you wouldn’t believe the stacks and stacks of books in my home, most of which were only read once. Reading digitally allows me to collect print books in a more meaningful way.
5) It saves time. While I love roaming through a bookstore and a library, I don’t have to do that very often. With Overdrive, a new book is always at my fingertips for free!
What kind of books does the SMA library offer through Overdrive? I am glad you asked! Currently, we have mostly fiction geared toward high school and middle school. We have some popular non-fiction too, such as “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell and “I am Malala”, the story of the girl who girls’ right to education in Afghanistan and was shot by the Taliban. This year, SMA will be adding lower level reading books to reflect the needs of our new lower school students.
Digital Books: How to Use the SMA Overdrive App
How do students access these books? It’s not difficult. Students simply download the app on the device(s) of their choosing or log into our host site at http://sma.lib.overdrive.com on their computers. Each student will sign in with his/her last name + first initial (ex: Anthony Davis signs in as davisa). Once logged in, the student searches and finds the San Marcos Academy library, adds it to his/her list of institutions, and the student is then ready to borrow a book! Public libraries all over the country use Overdrive, so American students may add any other library for which they hold a library card.
So if your student has never considered reading a digital book aside from his/her textbook, maybe this year will be the year he/she gives it a try!
If you are still skeptical, never fear. The Learning Resource center will be adding some newly released print books as well! Any way we can get our students to read is the right way!
Here’s to a great school year of reading!
–By Amy Nighbert, Director of Distance Education and Learning Resources