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Why classroom library mirroring is important

favicon I’ve written before about my goal of classroom library mirroring.

What’s that, you ask?

Classroom library mirroring means that every book that you have in your physical classroom library is also ready for students to read on their Kindles.

So if a title is on the shelf, it’s also on the Kindle — and vice versa.

There are many benefits of mirroring. The three biggest ones are:

  1. More than one student can read the same book at the same time,
  2. Physical books don’t get lost or damaged because they stay on the shelf,
  3. Students get the benefits of browsing (the colorful covers! the blurbs on the back!) for a book without all the painful side effects of checking one out. (Yes, say goodbye to all library checkout systems!)

I can see why some students (and teachers, and parents) might rebel against classroom library mirroring. After all, it’s pretty aggressive (and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it).

“You mean that I can’t read real books?” a student may ask.

Right now, I’m not ready to say what I want to say, which is, “Nope. You can’t read real books. But you can look at them here on the shelf and read them on your Kindle. And if you can’t deal with that, then try your public library!”

But I’d like to become bold enough to follow through with what I know is the right answer.

In order to get there, I need to make sure that true mirroring occurs. It’s not easy. Here is a case study of what I’m talking about:

Can you tell the big difference between the two photos? Yep, one of the physical books has an ebook counterpart, whereas the other doesn’t.

This happens a lot. My physical classroom library contains more than 500 books, while my ebook library has 205 titles. There’s a big gap there. The reverse is true as well. There are some books that are on the Kindles but not on the shelves. A generous donor may buy a title in one format but not in the other.

It’s time for me to make the investment to mirror the two libraries. It’ll be a big project. Three hundred books, after all, will cost around $3,000. This project might take a couple years, but I’m willing to be patient. After all, ebooks aren’t going away anytime soon, even if ereaders change and get fancier.

I also need to make sure to buy both formats of a book when a student makes a request. In other words, if a student wants to read The Future of Us, and I’m pretty sure that the title will be popular, my policy should be to order both the physical and ebook versions. For $20, the title is now available to all students forever. Not too shabby.

One more thing: an organizational challenge. Each ebook needs to be available to all students, but each title, according to Amazon policy, can be shared by only six devices at once. This has never been a problem so far, but it’s possible that more than six students at the same time would want to read the same book.

What do you think about my mirroring idea? Is it a little too much, or does it makes sense? I’d love to hear your thoughts. favicon

Please share your brilliant insights!