Florenceville Elementary School is piloting an exciting e-library project. All students and staff at the school now have access to over 1,000 titles online, ranging from picture books to novels as well as many French titles. There are also several audiobooks available and some read-along picture books. Students can sign out two books at a time for a two-week period. They are able to access the materials from personal devices and computers even at home using the Sora overdrive app or the website www.soraapp.com
"We are still in the very beginning stages of introducing the e-library to teachers, parents and students as we gradually introduce it in individual classrooms and the parent community," said Sarah Mahar, vice-principal at Florenceville Elementary School. "It has already proven to be a great experience for our voracious readers as it is hard to keep some of them in books! Most of the titles listed include new books as well so it gives them the opportunity to read the newest releases that we do not have available at school."
Mahar said FES agreed to be part of the pilot at the end of the last school year and more information and training followed in the fall. Eventually all students from kindergarten to Grade 5 will be encouraged to take part. All students have access to the program with their NB student login information. Grade 4 and 5 students are the first to be introduced to using the e-library.
The pilot was launched under the direction of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) which purchased the titles for the e-library and the training for using the program.
"The e-library will mean that more students will have access to great books wherever they are such as on vacation, storm days, summertime or on weekends. Most of our students have access to technology at home. We have international students who have returned to their home country for an extended period and they were able to access great literature in French or English for free from thousands of miles way. Students have access to thousands of titles without physically being in the classroom or library."
Mahar said students have been "thrilled with this discovery." Many use technology on a regular basis are they are familiar with using this tool for learning. The school's Parent School Support Committee (PSSC) is also happy to see the e-library become available.
"We see this project as both an extension and a complement to our (traditional) school library," said Mahar. "Students still love to visit the library and search for books based on the librarian and teacher's recommendations, but the e-library is a great option if they cannot make it to the library. Presently, library times are scheduled weekly and sometimes students miss out because of sickness, storm days, professional learning days, etc. The e-library is another option for making sure students always have a book on the go."
Florenceville Middle School has also launched a similar e-library pilot for students through EECD. A parent information session is scheduled for Nov. 29th at FMS. Principal Deidra Rioux said the e-library is already popular as students are "certainly participating in this wonderful initiative." Grades 6,7, and 8 in both English and French Immersion clases are using the new e-library system. In fact, Grade 6 students at Florenceville Middle have checked out the most books from the e-library to date compared to any grade, at any school in the province.
An e-library, also known as a digital library, is a collection of documents or materials organized in electronic form and made available online. Depending on the specific library created, a user may be able to access books, magazines, newspapers, images, sound files or videos. These online libraries are known to increase accessibility to users, provide regular updated materials, heighten the amount of choice and allow for instant access to educational content.
Ridgeview Middle School in Oromocto is alos participating in the e-library pilot in ASD-W.