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How ebooks and audiobooks are supporting inclusion

Ruth Maloney, Sabrina Cox and I run #LSLLTS Twitter Spaces Chat (Library Staff Love Learning Twitter Spaces) on Monday evenings during term time. We choose topics about school libraries, invite guests, think of some questions and then chat openly on Twitter. Twitter Spaces chats are very informal, it is a little like sitting around having a chat over coffee in your local tearoom apart from the fact we are all in our own homes and other can listen in.

Over the last year, some of our best conversations have gone down paths we didn't expect. Our guests not only give their time generously but also their experience and expertise for which we are very grateful. This does mean that we don't always know which way our conversations are going to go. We have to be always prepared to listen and engage in a conversation that we may not have planned for. For me, this is what makes these conversations, for me exciting, and hopefully interesting for our listeners.

We also invite listeners to join in the conversations after the speakers if they have a comment to make or if they have any questions. This side of it is still very new and we don't often get others to speak but when we do I love it. It means we have inspired someone else to speak up about school libraries.

ebook Twitter Chat

Our last conversation, on the 26th September 2022, was billed as 'ebook collections for school libraries' where we were joined by Haley Higgins and Alison Mercer-Cifola from Bolinda, an e-audio book platform. Haley is responsible for e-audio books in public libraries and Alison is new to their school's team. We were also joined by Raff Grasso a Teacher Librarian from Melbourne, Australia. She turned up at 4 am in the morning... We were extra grateful for her contribution to our session!

The questions we covered were:-

  • Have school librarians taken ebooks in-house and offered school collections?

  • Did Covid increase ebook collections in schools? Has the uptake remained high

  • How do schools promote ebook collections? It is not as easy as the physical collection.

  • What is the benefit of doing an in-house collection rather than directing them to the public library collection?

As I said before we are not always sure where these conversations will go. As you can see from the title of this blog now includes audiobooks. It seems that although ebooks in school libraries were on the rise during Covid they are still difficult to get into the hands of our students and teachers. Audiobooks, however, are on the rise.

How do ebooks and e-audiobooks support inclusion?

The conversation included how e-audiobooks are inclusive, enabling visually impaired students or dyslexic students to enjoy books alongside their peers. They are also great for health and wellbeing as they allow students to read something personal without everyone knowing.

We also covered the cost of ebook collections and how they are licenced... all in all a really interesting conversation.

If you want to listen to the full chat you can via the youtube link below or by podcast here

Our next chat is planned for the 17th October 2022 at 7 pm BST where we will be discussing Reading for Recreational Reading, Reading for Learning, and Reading for Life. Please follow me on Twitter for the link to this session which normally comes out the week before @Elizabethutch It will be focused on an article I wrote with Clare Brumpton called School libraries and reading development.

If you have any suggestions about other topics you would like us to cover please feel free to comment below.

I offer training memberships for schools, teachers and school librarians please check out what else I have available here or contact me if you would like to talk about your training needs.

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