by Debra Lau Whelan October 13, 2011
Despite severe budget constraints, the number of school libraries offering ebooks is on the rise-and a majority of media specialists plan to add digital books to their collections over the next two years, says a new study by School Library Journal and Library Journal.
The 90-page report, "Ebooks the New Normal: Ebook Penetration & Use in U.S. School (K-12) Libraries" follows last year's findings that school libraries still lagged behind public and academic libraries in terms of ebook purchases-but that's slowly beginning to change.
A little less than half (44 percent) of our nation's school libraries offer ebooks, up from 33 percent last year. And the higher the grade, the more likely students found digital books in their libraries, with 71 percent of high school libraries, 55 percent of middle schools, and 35 percent of elementary schools currently offering them.
Of the 56 percent of libraries without ebooks, 22 percent say they plan to purchase them for their collections over the next two years. Still, in these tough economic times, a whopping 60 percent say adding ebooks isn't a priority, although they might consider buying them. Only 8 percent say they have no plans to add digital books to their libraries.
How much are librarians spending on ebooks? ...