Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reflection #2 - Graphic Novels and Transliteracy

When people think of libraries, they tend to only think of the books on the shelves. It's hard for people to remember that a library is so much more than that. It is a center for information. This information comes in so many diverse formats. Last week, I reflected on e-books. This week, it's all about graphic novels and transliteracy.

The first article we had to read this week, "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe," discussed many different formats for books, including ebooks, interactive storytelling, and interactive fiction. This is something that is incredibly interesting to me. I've always loved the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. They allow you, as a reader, to control the story. While I am a fan of linear storytelling in which you follow a clear beginning all the way to the clear ending of the book, there is something so refreshing in choosing your own path through a work of fiction.

Interactive storytelling is also of interest to me. The article describes it as a way for children to have "different ways to access the content of the story." I think this is something that is very useful for our children. Not all kids learn in the same way. For them to have the option to have a story read to them, turned into a game, or to read along with highlighted text is very useful. I think these diverse types of fiction would be very useful in the classroom as well. As a teacher, I could see the benefit of having multiple types of the same novel going on in the same classroom. It would help students!

The other article we had to read was "Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels." I loved the way that this article defined media literacy - a combination of "several languages or forms of communication" which include pictures, audio, and the written. This is another thing that we, as teachers and librarians, have to keep in mind. The combination of pictures, audio material, and written material helps our students learn. It puts together many of the different learning styles into one piece of text. This is why graphic novels can be so helpful for our students. It allows them to grapple with material that they may not have grappled with before. It opens their minds, as well.

The primary readings for the week - Skeleton Creek, The Arrival, and Tuesday - are examples of transliteracy and graphic novels that the articles discussed. Skeleton Creek is an interactive piece of fiction that gives readers a chance to get involved in the text. The Arrival and Tuesday are graphic novels with little to no text. They force readers to use images to create a story in their minds. The Arrival is very dark, whereas Tuesday is a lighter text. These two texts show how diverse graphic novels can really be.

Bibliographic Information for these texts:

Carman, P. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe. Learning & Leading with Technology. 39(3), 12-17.
Monnin, K. (2010). Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels. New Horizons in Education, 58(3), 78-84.
Tan, S. (2007). The Arrival. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Weisner, D. (2011). Tuesday. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reflection #1: The World of E-Books

This week, we were required to read any children's book in an electronic format and three articles about e-books.

I'll start with the e-book that I chose. I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I had read this book before, in print. My students love to read books from this series. However, I much preferred reading it in an electronic format. I was able to read the entire book in about thirty minutes. While I am a fast reader, the e-format made it a lot easier to complete the reading. Overall, it is a faster process of analyzing and gaining information, in my opinion. I love the features e-readers provide their readers: highlighting, making notes, accessing an online dictionary, etc. You can do these things with print, but an e-reader makes it so much simpler.

As far as the articles go, well, a few things stood out to me. First of all, it shocks me that e-books are more expensive than print books for a library. I think there were things mentioned in the articles that I hadn't thought about before. When consumers purchase e-books from places like Amazon, the Kindle edition is typically cheaper than a print version. When libraries purchase e-books, however, they have to pay for the content and license to share that content with their patrons. This raises the cost. Then, when the license runs out, they have to make the decision whether or not to repurchase. Just from that alone, I can see why libraries are very hesitant to purchase e-books. The article "Purchasing E-books in Libraries" mentioned that "...82 percent of public, and 44 percent of school libraries are already offering e-books,..." and after reading these articles, I can understand why the others haven't gotten on board yet.

The article "E-Book versus Print" showed that in a public library, print books circulate more than e-books (or at least in that particular library). While that is good news for the library as a building, as a center for information and BOOKS, it almost makes you wonder why public libraries offer the option at all, especially with the cost concerns. Other studies that this article mentioned are solely limited to academic libraries. I can understand why the trend in academic libraries is that e-books are used two to three times more than print books. It's all about ease of access to information. As a graduate student myself, I'd rather pull up a book on my MacBook or iPad, find the information I need quickly, and not have to worry about checking out a print book just to use for one paper. It makes the process much simpler.

One of the biggest "issues" that libraries face today is the growing demand for e-books. Some might even say that e-books and e-readers make libraries and librarians obsolete. This is absolutely not true. In fact, Steven Roxburgh, author of "The e-Future," states that he's not worried about librarians at all. He says that "we'll always need librarians to organize, track, and deliver content."

This is a brilliant time for authors and illustrators. Their content is being sold, shared, and read more and more now that e-books are as popular as they are. The issue is whether the library should be another outlet for patrons to get e-books. I say, yes. Offer the most popular titles and don't worry about the rest. The most popular titles will be circulated and you will get a return on your investment.