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Librarian Christopher Harris Suggests Buying eBooks In Consortium

School librarian Christopher Harris has a new piece on The School Library Journal’s website, in which he argues that buying eBooks is too expensive for school libraries on their own. To address the issue, he advises that school libraries buy eBooks in consortium.

While eBooks in public libraries tend to be focused on new-release fiction, Harris points out that school libraries have to follow Common Core standards which dictates that “at least half of reading assignments be literary nonfiction for all grades.” Here is more from the piece: “…many of our publishers are offering unlimited, simultaneous access to ebooks. They recognize that ebook usage is governed by math and statistical probability.”

Harris gives an example of how this statistical model works: “For example, in a K-5 school of 600 students, a book about a social studies topic used in the fourth grade is probably only going to be read by about 100 students. If we consider that the fourth grade is likely divided into four classes of 25 students each, then unlimited, simultaneous access becomes nothing more than a marketing term-not a projection of actual usage. This is why a library consortia model is the way to go.”

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